By Michael Fontanini / August 13th, 2015
Skyhill is a randomly-generated rogue-like that puts you in the shoes of a survivor told to stay in his hotel room, who now has no choice but to leave it in search of food and other supplies. A disaster occurred and people were told to stay indoors. There is no response from room service, and the cold reality of your situation starts to set in. You’ll have to fend for yourself while being careful not to get killed by the many monsters that used to be people before they were transformed. Survival is now your top priority, but there are 100 floors between you and the exit on the ground floor. Can you reach the ground floor and escape with your life? Welcome to Skyhill.
Your room serves as your “base,” and can be upgraded by crafting better things for it. Of course, you first need to find the materials necessary to craft those upgrades. Your room happens to be the VIP room on the top floor of the tower. The game includes four difficulty levels, and your character has a handful of stats with HP and Hunger being displayed on your HUD. There are some other stats that are displayed on your inventory screen, including Skill Points, Strength, Speed, Dexterity, and Accuracy.
The game is presented in a 2D, side-scrolling view. You can’t move around freely, but you can click on various objects in the environment. Some can be interacted with. For example, you can rest in your bed or search shelves, boxes, and other containers. In the screenshot above, there is a large black area below your room and it says “You can go down…” That black area is the floor below you. You can click in the center to head down. Similarly, you simply click to enter rooms. Beware, though, as some rooms may have monsters in them. There may also be monsters in stairwells. Yes, that’s an elevator in the image above, but it is broken on some floors (forcing you to use the stairs). You can fix them if you have the items needed to do so, but materials are in short supply, so use them wisely.
On each Skyhill playthrough, you can choose up to two perks. The perks are divided into two groups of 10, and you may choose one from each group. Initially, no perks are available, but some will unlock quickly. As you can see below, I have 10 perks unlocked so far. They have a range of different effects. For example, the one with the keyhole icon allows you to pick locks. This could be useful since you will encounter more locked doors as you get to lower and lower floors (as well as more monsters waiting to kill you). The icons of your chosen perks will be displayed on your HUD once the game starts.
There are also a number of documents to find as you explore the tower. Once found, you can always view it again by clicking on the table on the left side of your room. Skyhill‘s gameplay boils down to scavenging around the tower’s many floors and rooms to find anything useful (especially food). If your hunger runs out, you’ll start taking damage. Items you find can be used as-is, or crafted into other items if you have all of the necessary crafting ingredients. There are many items to find, from weapons, to food, to keys, to raw materials.
Weapons have their own stats, too (for example Damage). Obviously, some weapons are better than others. You will encounter a number of different kinds of monsters in your attempt to survive, from small crouched ones, to fat and much more menacing ones. They are all grotesque and terrible. Some are more powerful than others. If you enter a room and it contains a monster, you can move back out of the room without fighting, if you want. If you want to get any loot that is in that room, you will have to first kill the monster. The combat in Skyhill is turn-based. You can heal using med kits or your bed (healing by sleeping costs you hunger, though).
Skyhill‘s graphics are a touch cartoony, but there’s nothing wrong with that. The art is drawn well and is pleasant to look at. It is accompanied by a dark soundtrack that helps set the tone of helplessness and hopelessness. The sound effects are pretty nice, too. The dark sky and rain in the background on the left and right edges of the screen (see above image) is also a nice touch.
Depending on how you play, a single playthrough may take as little has a half-hour or much longer. It depends on how long you survive and how thorough you are as you explore the tower. Skyhill is poised to launch on October 6 and will be coming to PC (Steam), Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Keep in mind that this preview is based on a preview copy that we received from the developer, so the final game may differ from its current state. Skyhill is shaping up to be a great little game!