Skully Evaluate (Change) | Nintendo Life

Skully Review - Screenshot 1 of 4

Captured on Nintendo Change (Docked)

When it was initially introduced, it was clear that Skully had the potential to be one of many high 5 best ‘reanimated rolling cranium puzzle platformer’ video games ever made. Certain sufficient, it manages to perform that (purely by present, to be truthful), however that’s to not say it isn’t with out extreme points that can drastically have an effect on your enjoyment of it.

You play as a cranium known as Skully. That isn’t his precise title, thoughts you: it’s the moniker bestowed on him by Terry, an excitable green-bearded chap who it shortly emerges is a few form of island god. Terry’s been having issues along with his three equally god-like siblings, so he decides to create Skully – by reanimating a cranium that washed up on the shore – within the hope that he’ll assist intervene within the argument and cease the island being destroyed.

In his preliminary kind, Skully can roll round and leap, and never far more than that. Being a ball, he does have a level of momentum as he strikes round, though fortunately not an excessive amount of as a result of there’s lots of platforming right here. This sport isn’t with out its irritating moments, but when Skully acted precisely like a ball and rolled much more freely than he does it might have been much more infuriating.

Skully Review - Screenshot 2 of 4

Captured on Nintendo Change (Handheld/Undocked)

Since you’ll be able to’t do so much with rolling and leaping, you ultimately uncover three totally different varieties that Skully can morph into, every offering him with totally different skills. Robust Type turns him right into a hefty large lad with a hell of a proper hook on him: he can break down partitions and create shockwaves that injury enemies. Swift Type, in the meantime, enables you to maintain down ‘ZL’ and cost up a speedy run that allows you to clear massive gaps. This way additionally enables you to use magic to select up and transfer sure blocks throughout the bottom. Lastly, there’s Vault Type, which provides you a double-jump and the power to carry blocks into the air.

These varieties are spawned by leaping into mud swimming pools (which additionally act as checkpoints) and selecting which kind you need. At any level you may also pull Skully out of a kind, go away it standing there and head again to a pool to spawn one other one, as much as three in complete. This makes for some first rate puzzles at instances: utilizing a Vault Type to carry a platform into the air, for instance, then spawning a second Vault Type, double-jumping onto the platform and double-jumping from that. It takes some time for the sport to begin getting ingenious with its puzzles, although, and for the primary half of your journey most conditions might be pretty apparent “okay, right here’s the place I punch a wall” moments.

Skully Review - Screenshot 3 of 4

Captured on Nintendo Change (Handheld/Undocked)

On paper Skully seems to be like a winner, and when all the things works prefer it ought to there’s a real sense of satisfaction available in transferring on from every space to the subsequent. Sadly, it’s plagued with issues that most of the time make the sport extra annoying than interesting. The obvious of those is that it could actually look completely terrible at instances, which is obvious once you take a look at the screenshots on this web page (particularly the hand-held ones).

It’s clear that on different platforms this has the potential to be a lovely sport, however this seems to be one other state of affairs the place a developer has determined to port to Change, realised they’ve bitten off extra they will chew and needed to considerably downgrade the visible element simply to get the factor working at greater than a single-digit body charge. There’s some critical dynamic decision scaling at work right here, which implies the sport is continually altering the decision it renders at to try to preserve issues working easily (not that it does: the body charge is everywhere).

Loads of Change video games use dynamic decision to try to preserve efficiency easy: even Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild do it. However the ones that do it finest do it subtly and nonetheless handle to maintain the decision pretty excessive, whereas Skully fails to do that and far of the time you’re looking at a particularly blurry display. It’s even worse on handheld, the place you’ll be able to stand nonetheless and see that it’s fairly blurry, then begin working and immediately see all the things get even blurrier to a level that we hardly ever see on the Change. Skully could look good on different techniques, however it’s extraordinarily ugly on the Nintendo’s console.

Skully Review - Screenshot 4 of 4

Captured on Nintendo Change (Docked)

The digicam additionally leaves a bit to be desired. For essentially the most half you’re virtually in full management of it, which can sound nice however it means you’re always adjusting it, particularly in some later phases the place you’re swooping round large curved ramps and the like. Typically the sport would require you to roll right into a tiny hole as Skully and the digicam will invariably have a match when it realises it’s going to need to observe you thru it, however these moments apart, it simply doesn’t really feel very fluid to maneuver round.

It’s even worse in the course of the uncommon moments once you don’t have management of the digicam. A few of the sport’s set piece moments have a hard and fast viewpoint however these invariably had been designed with a high-resolution presentation in thoughts and undergo drastically right here. The ‘chase’ phases particularly – the place you’re being pursued by an enormous wall of water or hearth – are extraordinarily annoying as a result of the digicam zooms up to now out that, mixed with the blur, you’ll be able to barely see what’s occurring (particularly in handheld mode as a result of Skully is completely tiny).

The opposite concern we had is extra a matter of style, however value noting nonetheless: Terry (the god chap who’s accompanying you) might be very annoying at instances. To be truthful, the voice appearing is of a usually top quality all through: the three siblings you encounter have their very own distinct personalities and are efficient in their very own method. Terry, nonetheless, is the irritating know-it-all kind and whereas that’s intentionally a part of his character it’s not the form of particular person you need accompanying you for the whole sport. He’s the kind of man you typically meet who thinks that shouting sarcastic punchlines makes them funnier: “Oh, YA THINK” and the like. Our knuckles are getting whiter with rage as we kind this.


Skully isn’t a wholly misplaced trigger. There’s an entertaining sufficient puzzle platformer hidden beneath its myriad visible flaws. It might be uglier than sin and you might be accompanied by an irritating voiceover all through, however you’ll nonetheless have some enjoyable taking part in by means of it and the plot does resolve itself in a pleasant method by the tip. You will simply want to have the ability to roll with lots of annoyances to get there.

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