What if your skull was your most powerful weapon? Playing as the skeleton of a hero fallen in battle, you’re out to exact revenge on the monsters that killed you. The mechanics are traditional enough: choose a dungeon and once inside you can choose different routes. Great in single-player, it’s fantastic in endless mode and multiplayer. An effective rogue-lite/hack ’n’ slash to play right away.
Copyright © 2021 10tons Ltd.
What if you could rip your own skull off and throw it at enemies as a weapon?
This is the fun concept that the devs at 10tons came up with for Skeletal Avenger.
As fans of the studio already know, 10tons has produced some excellent rogue-lites, with titles including Neonchrome, Jydge, and Tesla vs Lovecraft. Skeletal Avenger is a bit different, though, with some RPG and hack'n'slash elements thrown in.
In Skeletal Avenger, you play as a skeleton brought back to life by a mysterious magician. Your aim is simple: to get powerful enough to hunt down your murderers and exact revenge. The game is a cute one, despite its dark theme, and there are no scares in store here.
You know nothing of your skeletal avenger's past life, and he is weak at the start of the game. Thankfully, though, he's a fast learner and will soon be a dab hand with a weapon. And that's where all the fun in the game lies, as you learn more and gradually become more powerful.
You have one main attack, accompanied by a secondary "special" attack. Combining them to keep enemies at a safe distance takes a bit of tactics and plenty of agility.
Swords, daggers, hammers... every class of weapon comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. Daggers, for example, don't inflict much damage, but they are very, very fast; hammers, meanwhile, are powerful but cumbersome. You'll have to work out what secrets your gear has in store for yourself. And then there's your old noggin, or rather your skull.
We loved throwing our skull at enemies like a boomerang. But remember, you'll need to wait for it to return to you before you can use it again, and you can't move or attack while it's on its way back.
Our advice? When you complete a level, you can choose different exits, each of which leads to a different level. There's a map showing you the advantages of each level: healing pools, cadavers (that you can absorb to get boosts), and armouries. You then pick the one that suits you best. Healing is hard to come by in the game, so it might be worth your while seeking it out, and the armouries are a place you would be ill-advised to skip.
Progress through the game is pretty straightforward. There are four regions, and to complete one you'll need to collect enough "blood stones" to reach the boss.
The good news is that you get to keep almost everything you collect on each quest, even if you die. Not the blood stones, though, which can really make life harder. To face the first boss, for example, you'll need to collect 50 blood stones, but if you die when you have 48 of them, you'll lose half and need to collect them again. The joy of rogue-lite games!
Our favourite part? Co-op mode. Playing with three friends makes the game even more chaotic and even more fun.
This is an unpretentious game that nevertheless demands some skill and a dash of strategy.