Sunday, 9 June 2019

Asylum Reviews: Skelly Selest [Xbox One].

Caiysware's Skelly Selest has you play as a skeleton sent by the Selestial Order to prevent Daemonica Netherlords and their ilk from rising from the bowels of hell to take over Earth and Heaven. Levels are procedurally generated and arcade-y feeling with each level taking place over one large space - no moving from room to room like in The Binding of Isaac - so you'll need to clear all enemies before moving to the next level. Maps are varied and often have chests available for you to open and gain items to begin with, but sometimes a cheeky wee enemy will spawn from one to just totally surprise you and start the level on the wrong foot.

Combat is a little frustrating as aiming is stuck to fixed points, rather than the free-er flow of attack in other roguelites such as Isaac and Enter the Gungeon. Countless deaths were caused by me missing an enemy due to then being slightly outwith a fixed point and me not judging the angle well enough. Attacks are quite slow and while certain item drops can help with this, they can also make thingss worse by switching out attack speed for range with your axe, etc.

Enemies spawn from every direction, and tend to huddle together which has its good points and bad points. When close together and using your axe, sometimes you'll get lucky and take a few weaker enemies out in one swing but it's very easy to be overwhelmed by a mob of enemies coming towards you - particularly when you've got an item that randomly decreases your damage output - so this coupled with the frustrating combat makes for a very rage-inducing time.

Music is a little odd, as while it's enjoyable and sounds good it doesn't fit the hell-scape at all. And whilst I enjoy and appreciate the art style, at times it was just too dark to easily see what was going on. Sometimes you'll find way too many enemies swarming around you and adding in the darkness of the levels can easily cause you to get caught up in everything going on on screen and lose wee Skelly. I frequently took unintentional environmental damage from walking over flames or bumping into enemies which rapidly drained my health. I died so many times in completely avoidable situations, but it was just dark enough that I didn't see the damage coming until it was too late. And if feeling the shame of a pointless death isn't enough, the following screen shows you the points you've gained this run and where that places you in comparison to previous runs.

Different game modes add a little bit of variety to the gameplay. Clashful Cards, as the name would suggest, is a card based mode built up from cards you've picked up during your multiple runs. Playing this early on stacks the odds firmly against you as the AI will no doubt have a better hand, but as you progress and pick up more and more cards in the base game mode, this will increase the chances of you starting with good cards.

Dungeon Pilgrimage is more of a Binding of Isaac style mode, moving from room to room and collecting items along the way. Necrotic Colosseum is a boss-rush mode, where you keep going till you die. Within the main menu also is a screen called Character Vessels which you can go into to view Cranium Ornaments (yep... that's the hats you've collected on your journey) and you can view which characters you've unlocked.

In the end, we decided to give Skelly Selest the Collecting Asylum rating of 5.5/10. It's an alright game at a decent price (£8.39 on Xbox Store) and you'll probably like it if you love arena based rogue-lites but it just lacked a certain something to keep us interested and frustrating combat turned us off.

Have you played Skelly Selest? What are your thoughts on it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

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