Reviewed by: Senpavo
Developed by: Anthony Case
Published by: Digerati
Category: Arcade, Roguelite, Action
Release Date: May 24 2019
Once upon a time, there was a skeleton sent from the Heavens to hell in order to massacre demons since hell had become overcrowded, and they were escaping back to Earth. Armed with an axe and a gun, the Keeper shall exterminate hordes of such unholy creatures in order to bring peace back.
Skelly Selest is an arcade roguelike game set in small arenas. You play as the Seeker, a skeleton from heaven whose job is to exterminate the demons from hell. You shall explore it and kill the Deamonica Netherlords, their leaders.
The game features tons of different modes, with many unlockables. But let’s start from the basic. After you are done with the short tutorial that explains how to dash and kill, you are able to pick what mode you want to play next.
The tutorial suggests you play the Lichmancer Hunt. In Lichmancer Hunt, you will fight against hordes of enemies that will try to take your soul. After each horde, you are able to pick up a new power-up, such as the ability to regenerate your hearts with axe kills or spawn fire protectors that will circle around you. Random events, like exploring a dungeon, may pop up from time to time, with the possibility to gain even more power-up. The goal of this mode is to reach the end and kill the final boss. The same can be said for the Deamonica Hunt, though it’s harder and with a different final boss.
In Dungeon Pilgrimage, you must fight your way across a dungeon to find a damned soul and redeem them. You are able to move across various rooms, where you’ll find enemies, chests and even rooms.
The last mode you can find from the start is Necrotic Colosseum, where you’ll fight endlessly against the demonic hordes. There are no random events here and it’s the hardest of those three modes.
The basics of the game are just…plain fun. Surely, dashing, shooting and axing may not be the most original concepts, but the various power-ups and events give the game a fun twist. The enemies and the levels designs, while not many, feel like the right amount needed. The demons play rather differently: some fly, some explode, some will just try to hit you with their own axe, but as long as you axe them down, it doesn’t matter.
Right when I was starting to think that the game didn’t feature much content, the unlockables hit me right in the face, and it was more than a welcomed surprise. There are A LOT of unlockables, ranging from decorative hats to new characters, to cards to collect to even new modes!
I was so happy to discover that, and the surprises don’t end here: I was even more surprised to find that the characters played differently from one another (my favourite is Accursed Haunt!) and that the different modes are many and distinct. I suggest to try out the Penitence Trials, a collection of challenges that will make sure your completionist senses are stimulated.
The music is also done exactly right. As you’d expect from an 8-bit game, this game features excellent chiptune music, that can be enjoyed at any time and gives the player the right stimulation. It’s not repetitive, it fits the overall theme and it sometimes sounds like a throwback to the older Zelda games.
Unfortunately, there are some issues, but they are rather minor. The game does a very bad job at explaining what you need or can do. The fact that each sentence is written like (bad) Bible verses doesn’t help at all. I found myself struggling to understand what I needed to do or how to use a character. The graphics sometimes may look a bit rough and dated (and, for a better experience, I HIGHLY suggest to turn the “dither border” option off in the settings. Made my experience MUCH better), and the controls were sometimes slippery and made me die unnecessarily one too many times.
In conclusion, despite its flaws, the game is fun, accessible and even surprising. It even comes for the low low price of $9.99 (but the Steam version is $4.99…) and requires a very small download (it was just 94 MB! I wonder how they fit all of that in there…). I can definitely say that I had a great time and that I give this game a big thumbs up.
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