Skull Rogue – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Roguelike
Developer: Gnelf
Publisher: Drageus Games
Platform: Switch, PC (Steam)
Tested On: Switch

Skull Rogue – Review

Site Score
3.0
Good: It's functional
Bad: Barebones. Lacks gameplay depth.
User Score
1.5
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 1.5/10 (4 votes cast)

Since the release of the Nintendo Switch, many mobile games have been ported to it and sold as complete games, Skull Rogue is not a mobile game, its only other version is on Steam, but it definitely plays like one. It is also worth noting that there is a 300% price increase when compared to Steam, currently being 0,79€/$0,99 on Steam and $2,99/€ on Switch, without a reason to justify this increase.

Story

Skull Rogue has no story or narrative, at all. To be exact, all the text in the game is comprised in its menus and UI. This only adds to the feeling of incompletion surrounding this game.

Graphics

The graphics in Skull Rogue aren’t bad, they’re well made and smooth, but they’re definitely repetitive. As stated in its store description, there are 6 different biomes, each with a different style, but every single one of them has the same issue; re-used assets. This issue applies to the rest of the game as well.

All biomes have three different types of tiles (at most, some have only two) which are copy-pasted along the room with the sprites for spike traps, cobwebs or breakable items placed on top. To add to the injury, one of these biomes is a straight-up re-color of one of the others.

There is no enemy variation at all; you fight the same skeletons for the whole game, completely identical to each other and to your own character, only their equipment changing. Said equipment is the only part of Skull Rogue with real variation; every room brings new sets of swords and helmets, but even this falls flat, the same equipment always appearing in the same rooms and those two types are the only ones available.

Sound

Skull Rogue’s sound department is fine, but the same issue comes into play; repetition. The soundtrack is comprised of a single track you’ll be hearing over and over. There are sound effects for everything, but these stick out like a sore thumb, sounding way too sharp and loud.

Gameplay

Skull Rogue claiming to be a roguelike means it’s all about gameplay, thus being a shame how clunky it is. It consists of moving around rooms with a set of patterns (these changing between runs) while killing enemies.

Your main attack is a sword strike which also emits a projectile, this only being able to hit a single enemy. In the meantime, bombs are an AoE attack, using one takes some mana and kills enemies within its range after a moment.

Movement is quite stiff; you can only face one direction, which you can change using the right joystick. There are no other movement options, leading to an issue when stun-locking is a thing: You can keep enemies stunned by constantly attacking, but the same applies to you. This works in other games where you have ways to escape, but there being no such thing here means getting backed into anything usually leads to death.

As mentioned above, there are several swords and helmets to be found by killing enemies, these granting damage and health, respectively. The stats granted are based on RNG and can be any amount within the limits of the room. It is important to mention this is the only kind of difficulty scaling to be found, which instantly disappears the moment an enemy is defeated and their equipment taken, getting your stats on par with the room.

All your stats can be upgraded, from projectile range to health and mana regeneration.  To do so, you have to gain levels by killing enemies, each level granting you a stat point. Once a run is over you can dump these points into your stats. This can be done infinitely, there being no level or upgrade cap.

As a note, the enemy AI is frankly bad, its pathing being broken with ease, by positioning yourself in the middle of the tiles across a chasm the enemies are unable to find a way to reach you, instead moving right and left constantly until you change your own position.

Conclusion

Skull Rogue is not a good game by Switch parameters, it would be fine if it were a free mobile game or at least shared the price tag of its Steam release, but since it doesn’t, it can’t be considered as such.  This is a barebones game, lacking in features and reason to play or come back to, being little more than a time killer.

Personal opinion

As mentioned in the conclusion, this game cannot be considered alright by any standards higher than those of Steam shovelware or run-of-the-mill mobile game, meaning it doesn’t deserve at all its price tag on Switch. There is nothing to be expected out of this game besides a time killer for commutes and even then, there are other games which do it better and cheaper”

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 1.5/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)
Skull Rogue - Review, 1.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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