SKYHILL review
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SKYHILL review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on September 22nd, 2016
Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: SKY'S THE LIMIT
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Mobile roguelikes aren't always a good time, but this one removes bloated mechanics with expert precision, leaving a fast, fun, and endlessly repeatable zombie survival game.

Developer: Daedalic Entertainment

Price: $2.99
Version: 1.2
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

The idea of a mutant/zombie-themed roguelike sounds so tired these days, but SKYHILL is unfazed by the well-worn territory it treads upon. Instead, it serves up some no-nonsense gameplay that is equal parts punishing and satisfying.

100 flights of zombies

Much like any old roguelike, SKYHILL always starts out the same way. You take control of a business man who is staying in the VIP room on the 100th floor of the Skyhill hotel when a chemical attack is unleashed nearby, transforming people in to terrible creatures and knocking out infrastructure like elevators and communications.

Instead of just holing up in your room, you make it your mission to venture down to the bottom level of the hotel in order to survive and possibly get rescued. Along the way, you have to fight mutants, scrounge for supplies, manage your own well-being, and uncover the mystery surrounding the attack.

Fight to survive

In practice, SKYHILL plays a lot like a standard roguelike. The game is turn-based, with you deciding which rooms of the hotel you'd like to move to each turn. Upon encountering a mutant, your way is blocked unless you defeat them or they run away.

Combat is a relatively straightforward affair, where tapping on an enemy brings up a menu of three different aimed attacks, one of which is powerful with low likelihood of connecting, another being very accurate but weak, and a third which is somewhere in the middle. In any given fight, you can also retreat, though doing so may open you up to free attacks from the enemy. Defeating enemies grants you experience, which you can then use to level up and gain proficiency in four different stats: strength, speed, dexterity, and accuracy.

A crafted experience

The primary twist that SKYHILL puts on the standard roguelike conventions is through its crafting system. As you progress in the game, you'll collect lots of different items, all of which can be combined to craft new weapons, heal yourself, prevent starvation, and upgrade your ability to craft new things.

This system makes SKYHILL feel a lot more like This War of Mine or Don't Starve in a lot of ways, albeit turn-based and simplified.

Take it from the top

The simplified survival/crafting mechanics in SKYHILL really help make it feel endlessly replayable. Each time you start the game up again, you always find different combinations of items at different times that you must plan around wisely in order to survive.

On top of just procedurally generating 100 more floors for you to work through, SKYHILL provides a lot of small touches, like unlockable perks and a "game speed" option that make trying to go for "one more run" feel satisfying, fresh, and speedy.

The bottom line

SKYHILL may not be the most complicated roguelike out there, but it more than makes up for that with its neat crafting system and pick-up-and-play design sensibility.

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