Skyhill Preview: Hotel Apocalypse
Greg Johnson / Aug 14th, 2015 No Comments
The apocalypse has come and now you’re trying to escape a 100 story hotel. Welcome to Skyhill, which is more than likely many gamer’s final resting place. A pseudo point-and-click adventure, Skyhill challenges players to manage health and hunger to escape a post-apocalyptic hotel. Story will be slowly revealed by clues found throughout the hotel and its many rooms. As it is not intended to be beaten on the first try, players will be exploring Skyhill numerous times.
The Sum Of All Fears
It is the future and mankind has still found a reason to wage war. Luckily, society appears to be nearing the end of a violent and bloody third World War. But a final offensive has left cities ruined and people infected with a horrifying mutation. The player controlled protagonist finds themselves on the hundredth floor of a hotel named Skyhill. Their room is bio-shielded, preventing them from being affected by a massive blast and left to a terrible fate. Those on the lower floors are not so lucky. Many are killed, some are mutated, and others are left to fend for their lives as they try to escape the hotel.
Throughout their descent players will find newspaper clippings, notes, and other messages to fill in the blanks about the war and the mutation. Often the text is a bit garbled or littered with broken English. Whether this was intentional or not is hard to say, but it won’t serve as a major hindrance for players trying to piece together the story. Skyhill’s narrative isn’t anything new to the post-apocalyptic genre, but the way it’s told is both gripping and well-done. Many notes will tell tales of a survivor’s last days, the moral choices they had to deal with, and their inner turmoil of what to do next. Bringing the world to life around players is something Skyhill does with ease and keeps the story in the forefront.
Slow And Steady
Every single move will cost players in Skyhill. Resource management is the name of the game as players attempt to balance health and hunger while escaping the hotel. Health is drained during combat as enemies get in hits, while hunger is drained whenever movement is made. Hunger can be sacrificed in the bed upstairs to recover health or both can be recovered via items. A mad dash to the bottom may seem the logical option, but players start the game half-starved and enemies found in the stairs must be fought in order to continue down.
Skyhill does an amazing job of forcing hard choices on players as exploration can be costly to both health and hunger, but an overlooked room may hold key items needed for survival. Each time a new game is started the entire hotel is randomized, keeping players from memorizing key rooms. Players will need to quickly accept that death is part of the game. Further progression in-game will unlock new passive and active abilities that can be chosen at the start of a new game, thus making each run better than the last. To top it all off, there are three difficulty settings just in case players find themselves struggling.
Lurking In The Shadows
The graphics in Skyhill are nothing that will catch anyone’s eye on first glance. They are suitable to the story and help drive the gritty tone of the game. Item differentiation can be a bit confusing at times as many items in the inventory and crafting menus look alike. Enemies on the other hand are all very distinctive and players will be able to easily recognize specific monsters. All of this in mind, the graphics are never a detriment to gameplay and serve the tone of Skyhill well as players explore the hotel’s many floors.
Ambiance is key in a survival horror game and Skyhill delivers. Eerie music accompanies sharp and quick combat noises making for a more immersive experience. The music can become stale after constant playthroughs but strategic breaks will keep players from getting too used to Skyhill’s macabre tunes. The sounds of shuffling feet and rain pouring outside remind players that the world is alive and dangerous, fitting in with the intended mood of Skyhill.
Please Exit The Building
Survival horror junkies and point-and-click fans will both find a lot to love in Skyhill. Difficult gameplay mixed with well thought-out atmosphere and story makes the game worth seeing through. While some of the written text seems wonky, the plot is delivered well and worth an emotional investment. The simple gameplay mechanics are undoubtedly the best part of Skyhill as the point-and-click style allows players to jump right into the game rather than learning a set of controls. Skyhill is currently set for release on Oct. 6, and via Steam for PC, Mac & Linux.
Skyhill was previewed on PC using a code for the game provided by the publisher.
tags: Daedalic Entertainment , pc , preview , Skyhill , steam , Survival-Horror