A little bit of old school collectathon design from Banjo & Kazooie, some Kula World rolling and the ability to transform like Knack and you have Skully from developer Finish Line Games. It’s a weird mix of ingredients, but if my time with the first two chapters is telling of anything, this isn’t a game you need to scratch your scalp about, it’s one to keep your head on for.
On an island paradise that’s been untouched by mankind, a family conflict between several deities risks putting the paradise at risk of being destroyed. One of those deities, however, decides to enlist help to try and put a stop to the quarrelling and that’s where Skully comes in. The re-animated skull is brought ‘back to life’ and given some magical abilities. One of those is the ability to roll around as a skull in the first place, but another is the ability to dive into mud pools and mould it into a clay creature.
The first two chapters of Skully are rather tutorial-full but gave me a good example of what the moment-to-moment action will be in the full release.
As with all good mascot-platformers of ye-old-yesterday, Skully is equal parts platforming, collecting and combat. The platforming is a mix of simply third-person jumping, but also several tight sections where you’re surrounded by water and you need to roll Skully carefully through without falling into the water which is Skully’s kryptonite. These sections reminded me of the PS1 classic Kula World as you need to use momentum to make certain 90-degree rolls across elevated bridges and also take several sections slow and steady. None of it was as hard as Kula World, but I am hoping for some slightly more challenging sections in the full game.
Throughout the two chapters, there was an abundance of flowers to collect — Chapter Two had 450 of these things to find. The majority are found easily on your direct path as you make it around the mostly linear level, but others were hidden, or below you in sections that required some level of platforming and usually at the risk of falling into the water and your doom. Every 50 or so collected I was unlocking art from the game, which seems to be the main pull to find them all, other than just that 100%er mentality.