LadiesGamers Skeletal Avenger

Skeletal Avenger Review

Game: Skeletal Avenger
Genre: Action, Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows), PS4 & Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: 10tons
Age Rating: EU 16+ | US Teen
Price:  US $16.99 | UK £15.29 | EU € 16,99
Release Date: November 4th, 2021

Review code provided with many thanks to 10tons

New Territory

10tons is a developer best known for their work on multiple entertaining twin-stick shooters with rogue-lite elements such as Neon Chrome, Jydge and Crimsonland. The later game was my first introduction to their work. They’re fun pick up and play titles that can be enjoyed alone but also in co-op with friends.

Skeleton Avenger now sees the developer tackle the dungeon crawler experience. But does this side step into a new genre makes for an enjoyable romp through the dungeons? Or should the developers stick to their twin stick guns? 

LadiesGamers Skeletal Avenger
Don’t lose your head

Vengeance is Yours

You play as a skeleton who wakes from a slumber on a quest for revenge. With the help of a mage, you need to hunt down various bosses to quench your vengeful lust. Then finally you can get some sleep. The game doesn’t dwell too much on its story, instead puts the player straight into the action. The goal of the game is to enter some randomly generated dungeons taking out enemies and do some good old fashioned looting.

Controls are quite straightforward and are smooth and responsive. You have a simple attack and a special attack. You can also dash to avoid enemy attacks. But the most notable move is that you can fling your head at an enemy causing damage. Just remember you need to pick it up after. If you lose it you can hold a button down to recall it after a few seconds.

Throughout the dungeons, you can find new weapons to use like fast daggers, long spears and slow but deadly hammers. You can also find other equipment to improve your armour and new hats which will give your skull some more perks like a cool move that hones your skull onto the nearest enemy. You can also find perks to increase your stats such as adding magic to your attacks or dash or buffing stats if your health is low. When you find these perks you are usually presented with two to three options so you can tailor your run to your desired gameplay style. 

LadiesGamers Skeletal Avenger
You can get an idea of what’s to come in the dungeon before you set off

Multiple Exits

You can actually leave a dungeon early if you find one of the multiple exits but the game rewards you more if you decide to hunt down every baddie in the level with a perk or item. You will also be presented with all of the dungeon exits as little warp holes. When you hover over an exit you can get a preview of the path you are taking through the run and see what items and perks are in the missions ahead.

In handheld mode, this little preview is very small and I found you really need to squint your eyes to see it. Once you get to the end of a run there is a boss you must defeat to finish. If you take out the boss it will automatically destroy all remaining enemies in the level so you can loot all their gold in peace. I really enjoyed how your skeleton warrior collects gold. It automatically gravitates to your character and jumps into you like it’s being placed in your pocket.

LadiesGamers Skeletal Avenger
Pick a perk to suit your style

A Niggle

But the game is not over yet. That is just one run. When you defeat a boss you receive some bloodstones. Gain enough of these and you can enter a dungeon to face a bigger, more deadly boss. Once vanquished you then unlock a new region on the overworld map with more dungeons and bosses to repeat the process again.

On the surface, the game feels like it is lacking in content. There are not a lot of perks to discover. Not a lot of enemy variety and the games general mission of just killing all the enemies in a dungeon seems just a touch too simple. But these niggles are overcome by the games solid controls and entertaining gameplay. It may seem straight forward but I had a lot of fun tackling dungeons whether I succeeded or not.

LadiesGamers Skeletal Avenger
Collect enough bloodstones and face the big big boss

Less of a Grind

You are able to tackle dungeons from easy to hard difficulty. Taking the risk to go hard will net you more bloodstones. Death for me didn’t come as quickly as you would expect in this genre. Something that may really appeal to people not fond of the rogue-lite grind. When a run ends whether through death or completion you lose all your perks but you get to keep all your gold and loot obtained in the dungeons.

What I liked about the loot is that even if you don’t equip it when you find it, any new loot is stored back at the main hub where you can equip it or sell it for gold later. Gold is the main currency used to increase your characters stats like health, armour, attack and elemental skills. Increasing your stats really doesn’t feel too much of a grind. Even if you brave a hard dungeon and things don’t go to plan you will usually have enough gold to increase some stats. 

LadiesGamers Skeletal Avenger
The co-op has an impressive draw distance

Skeletons Assemble

What brings the game to life further is the ability to play the entire game with up to four players locally. Now I wasn’t lucky enough to find another three players but playing in two players really proved to be an enjoyable experience. While each player has to obtain their own perks there is usually two at a time so one player is not left out. The game’s difficulty also seems appropriately raised with additional players. If your buddy does fall into a pile of bones on the floor you can revive them as many times as you want with a very small health boost. The game also includes perks specifically tailored to co-op play.

LadiesGamers Skeletal Avenger
Difficulty increases with more players

Bad Cosplay

The artwork for the title looks rather menacing which is regularly viewed on the game short loading screens. An intimidating skeleton brandishing a sword whilst holding a locket possibly of his beloved. The actual in-game graphics are a little more comical. The 3D models are softer and much less intimidating. In fact when I played this co-op with my wife she pointed out that some of the enemies in the first set of dungeons looked like bad dragon cosplayers.

Since then I can’t help but smile at the thought of playing this game. In its default setting there are comical blood spurts from the enemies. But you can turn this off in the options making for an experience suitable for all ages. The graphics may not be what was intended but the gameplay sure makes up for its shortcomings. 

LadiesGamers Skeletal Avenger
Choose your route through the run

Conclusion – Bone Voyage

Skeletal Avenger is a solid dungeon crawler with rogue-lite elements. The graphics are not the best and the game feels a little light on the perks when compared to other games in the genre. But what one can’t deny is the amount of fun I had playing this game. Randomly generated levels with satisfying gameplay and the ability to play locally made for a winning mixture. The game may feel a little bare-bones in places but it has the meat where it counts. Play alone or grab some friends and get avenging the skeleton way. 

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot
I like it a lot

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