Review – Skelattack

Konami is a big time publisher that has been around for decades. Mostly known for their more popular franchises like Metal Gear Solid, Pro Evolution Soccer, and Silent Hill. However, they haven’t focused their efforts on action platformers since the days of Castlevania. Until now, that is. In a surprise move, Konami just stealth published a new indie metroidvania by the name of Skelattack. The decision to quietly release a new title certainly gives one pause and begs the question, “is this new game a disaster?” After giving it a shot I quickly came to realize that this is a pretty decent game with a lot of potential.

In Skelattack, you play as Skelly, a newly deceased entity with no memory of your mortal life. Upon living in the joyful undead town of Aftervale for a while, the time has come for you to undergo your Remembrance, a ceremony that restores your memories of who you were before your demise. During the Remembrance, the elder skeleton, Elzedon, is kidnapped by the humans living in the world above. Now it’s up to you and your bat best friend, Imber, to save him and protect Aftervale from the encroaching threat of the living.


Oh just you wait.

The first thing you’ll be taken in by is the overall look and sound of Skelattack. Visually and musically, it’s very reminiscent of Cuphead. That’s not to say it’s a direct ripoff, as it does have enough of its own personal art style to make it feel unique. I’m simply referring to the fact that it has both a cartoonish look and score inspired from the 1930’s. Personally, I’m all for it. Especially since it’s something different from the oversaturated pixelated style that has been flooding the market for years as a means to generate interest through nostalgia. It also runs at a steady framerate of 35 fps, which may sound unsual, but was actually a specific choice made to make the cartoon animations move more smoothly.

The next aspect that grabbed me was its sense of humor. It reminds me of Guacamelee, with its dad jokes and abundance of puns. Skelattack is charming in just about every capacity. There is loads of quirky humor throughout the game and even though not all of the jokes land, many of them them will have you grinning from ear to ear.


I will forever refer to bats as goth baseballs.

While the overall look and tone of Skelattack is a delight, the gameplay is a bit of a mixed bag. This game is a metroidvania and plays very similarly to Super Meat Boy. Unfortunately, it’s not as polished. Though I will admit that the controls are very tight and responsive. One of the biggest sins a metroidvania, or any platformer for that matter, can commit is to have unreliable controls. Luckily, this is one area of gameplay that is solid.

However, wall jumping can be very annoying as you have to turn away from the wall you’re on and press the jump button every single time you leap. Plus, any time you’re near a wall and try to jump in any direction, you’ll automatically stick to the wall for a moment. Needless to say, this will result in a lot of deaths and missed attack opportunities.


Maybe I’ll find a giant up there…

Also, the hit detection boxes are very deceptive. If any part of Skully or Imber hits even the outline of an enemy, he’ll take damage. There’s no period of invulnerability after being hit either, which makes subsequent blows even more devastating. This applies to to environmental obstacles too. I can’t tell you how many times I was near the tip of a spiky tunnel, only to have it still damage me. This makes certain stretches of platforming infuriating to say the least, especially during the sections when you control Imber in a Flappy Bird style of gameplay.


At least Imber isn’t an annoying sidekick like Navi.

Although, the biggest issue in Skelattack is its uneven difficulty spikes. Surprisingly, this game is the most difficult in the very beginning. Most of the first level is covered in spikes that will kill you instantly if you hit them. Unless the goal of the developer was to weed out the players with good platforming skills from the more casual gamers, I don’t understand why they opted to start off the game so tough. If you can hang in there and push through that first area, just know that things get easier in the next few levels.

The combat in Skelattack is well balanced for the most part. It’s easy to learn enemy attack patterns and either avoid or defeat them without much of a fuss. Navigating through the levels with numerous enemies never feels unfair. That is until you reach a boss. This is the other area of Skelattack that features insane difficulty spikes. The normal enemies you’ll encounter will in no way prepare you for fighting the bosses. They are in a league all their own. Not only are they bigger and stronger than normal foes, but they usually have unique moves and ridiculous amounts of projectiles once you get their health down about halfway. Add in the aggravating hit detection and fact that you’ll accidentally stick to the walls when trying to run around and you’ve got a recipe for rage quitting. Which I might have done a few times…


At least the bosses will make you chuckle before they annihilate you.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with Skelattack. It’s far from perfect, but it’s still a lot more enjoyable than I would have thought for a game that wasn’t advertised at all before release. There are definitely problems with the hit detection areas and random increases in difficulty, but the charm and tight controls help to combat those issues. It’s exciting to see Konami entering into the metroidvania realm again, as well as publishing smaller Western games once again, and I hope that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Skelly and Imber.


Graphics: 9.0

It has a similar adorable cartoony art style as Cuphead, but that’s not a bad thing by any means. The framerate runs at a consistent 30 fps by design.

Gameplay: 6.5

A metroidvania styled game with tight controls, for the most part. Wall jumping can be aggravating at times and there are uneven difficulty spikes, especially when it comes to boss battles.

Sound: 8.0

The soundtrack is fun, upbeat, and reminiscent of something you’d hear from the 1930’s. It fits the overall design and tone of the game very well.

Fun Factor: 7.0

Skelattack is chocked full of charm and has many humorous interactions throughout. It suffers most from irregular difficulty spikes and frustrating platforming sections, but luckily the controls are very responsive.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Skelattack is available now on PC, Xbox One, and Switch.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Skelattack was provided by the publisher.