Skul: The Hero Slayer Review


As the last of the larger rogue-like games in the genre I’m going to review, Skul: The Hero Slayer also happens to be the newest one of the bunch. And again, for those who care to know the terminology and important factors for the rogue-like genre, I have other reviews within this genre that explain it all.

Skul is a lot simpler than the rest of the genre, both in gameplay and in story. Starting with the story, it gives a brief explanation of a war between humans and the Demon King, a generic character meant to serve as a rescuing point. It follows Skul, a small, ‘weak’ skeleton from the undead army. As the last recruit still standing, it’s up to him to save their King from humans.

In gameplay, this little skeleton can chuck his skull at high speeds as a projectile, then teleport to it. He carries a bone club with him, to swing at foes. Unfortunately, this set is fairly boring, bland, and weak. So, that’s where skullswapping comes in. This mechanic allows Skul to trade places with various other heads, becoming ultimately different people with the same goal. The player is allowed to hold two at a time and swap between them, to allow for a little more versatility. These skulls range in complexity and power, from a wolf or a genie to a dimensional rift-opening warlock or a war-torn predator with massive claymores.

Between runs, Skul will respawn at the King’s tower, where various NPC’s will show up after rescuing them. The Witch allows you to upgrade various things permanently, the Hunter grants you an extra skull from the beginning of the run, etc. There’s not much to do here, and any further NPC’s are fun to find for yourself.

In terms of how fun the gameplay is, it’s on the higher side of the ratings, while not quite perfect. The gameplay is very hard to adapt to when first booting up the game, as it’s very stiff in control and enemies are more than plentiful. After enough runs, though, the first section and the first boss become a predictable cake-walk. The rest of the game remains difficult regardless of how long you’ve played, in sometimes a frustrating degree. The second boss is particularly difficult to pass the first few times, while also imitating a boss from a much more popular game, Hollow Knight. Bosses are overall decent, but either bland or difficult. Minibosses, on the other hand, are terrible.

Minibosses in this game are random human adventurers or warriors, such as a mace-wielding man that shouts “Leeroy Jenkins,” every time he jumps after the player or a nun that mostly focuses on healing. Upon finding the first miniboss, the player may think the fight is pretty easy and predictable. This is because the way minibosses work are hard to stomach. Instead of creating unique fights for each area that can swap around and provide a proper challenge, the game instead adds more of the same pool of bosses into the fight. So, the second floor miniboss will have two of the human adventurers to deal with at the same time, which is hard but manageable with enough practice. The third floor, however, is near impossible without insane luck on the three you’ll fight and the skulls you carry. Luckily, from fourth one, it repeats, but does give them more moves, instead of adding a fourth and fifth to the chaos.

Overall, the game is fun, charming, and unique, but it isn’t a flawless experience. If you can keep a level head under unfair circumstances, and just want a new game to play casually, Skul: The Hero Slayer is a perfect choice. For long-term rogue-like fans, only pick it up if you’re running out of other games to play.