The story in SKYHILL is about a man who decides to treat himself to a more luxurious apartment to stay in while he’s on his business trip, away from home. He stays in the best suite available at the luxurious complex called SKYHILL, in the top floor penthouse.
SKYHILL overlooks the latest biological defence system in the whole world. When all of a sudden, an alert sounds out from the hotel speakers, warning of an incoming attack!
A rocket hits the centre of the city causing a massive green explosion within the city limits…
After the explosion, something went wrong in SKYHILL; most of the residents became ill, infected from the fallout. The hotel becomes overrun with mutants, and you’re trapped in it. You could try to escape… but what horrors await within floors of SKYHILL? And will you survive them?
Gameplay in SKYHILL is focused on light RPG/turn-based combat and point & click exploring as you try to escape the hotel’s 100 floors with multiple rooms to explore and monsters to fight. Your end goal is to reach the exit on the ground floor.
This won’t be an easy task as not only will you have to face the horrors that await within hotel floors, but your hunger and health need to be monitored constantly and replenished when necessary. Run out of food or lose too much health and you’ll die.
So, what can you do?
Each room can be investigated for supplies; food, drinks, and other materials which can help craft new items. Some rooms will be empty though, but exploring each one is important as missing out on a health pack or a precious resource may cost you later on!
The top floor is your safe house; you can sleep to regain health or craft different items, like weapons, food, med kits, and other useful items that can help you repair lifts on each floor and secure your penthouse from unexpected intruders.
Each item requires multiple other items to craft, like blade which requires 3 metal sheets. All crafting can only be done in your penthouse on the 100th floor.
So, if you’re exploring and there’s a chance to fix the lift, then you should totally do it as it will help you move between floors more easily. This will help stop you from losing precious hunger points which will deplete every time you move. It also helps you get back to the safety of your VIP suite.
There is a strategy to this madness, and it will help you craft better items, letting you acquire better materials and freedom to move without needing to worry too much about your food reserves.
When you begin the game, you will see 20 perks that are locked. When you successfully go through some floors and level up, you will unlock new perks. And if you happen to die, you can select one passive perk and one active perk at the beginning of your next run. Each has its pros and cons and picking these will greatly increase your chance of survival.
Point & Click!
The unique thing in this game is that you don’t have direct control over your character. You simply need to point on a room you’re interested in looking at (shown with a magnifying glass), and your character will move to that location. Each room is dark, and until you enter it, so you won’t know what’s inside. If you see an eye icon in a room, it means there’s something to look at or collect, and all need to do is press the A button to take the item.
You can cycle through the rooms with the analogue stick, but sadly, you can’t use the directional pad which is a little annoying as it can be fiddly sometimes and on occasion, I’ve selected rooms by accident which will cause your character to lose precious food points.
Also, as you move through the hotel, you will come across mutants of various sizes that will want you dead!
In some of the rooms, you’ll encounter mutants. These range from standard humans that are infected, to towering abominations. This is where combat will take place, and a red reticle will appear over the infected. In certain areas, you can run away from encounters, but doing that may leave materials or food items that you won’t be able to collect until the mutant is dead in that room. It’s all about choice here! Some fights are mandatory, especially in stairwells.
You will get the chance to attack using a similar approach to Fallout. You pick 3 body parts of the monster, each one has different damage, and percentage chance to hit. It’s your choice which part you want to attack. Like all turn-based combat, there’s a chance that you may cause a critical hit or miss completely.
The closer you get to the bottom floor, the bigger the monsters are and the more health they will have. Picking and crafting the best weapons will be on top of your list here if you want to survive the encounters.
In your inventory, you’ll find a few different things you can use to help you overcome this nightmare.
Fighting will give you experience which can help you level up your character. You can level up a few different stats, such as strength and speed as you acquire points. You can also see what’s in your bag and use items, like equipping weapons, eating food items, and restoring health. You can view your crafting abilities and see what materials are needed to craft different items.
You can also view notes as well as listen to Dictaphone messages that you find across the different areas in the hotel.
I really like the little notes and Dictaphone messages as they give you a little insight into the madness that is happening around you.
Don’t Trust ‘em!
Not only will you find monsters lurking around SKYHILL, but there are some people as well. Some of the human characters may request your help or may ask for a certain item, and it’s up to you if you want to help or not.
I’ll be honest, I stayed clear of other humans as they would always ask for something precious like a medkit or my last food item, and sometimes the reward wouldn’t be worth the effort.
SKYHILL or SKYHELL?
I like SKYHILL. It has an interesting concept, and I like the constant worry of running out of food or not having the right materials I needed to craft better weapons. Fighting wasn’t bad either, and I like the mutants waiting in the dark rooms, ready to strike.
Mandatory fights were difficult, especially if you aren’t prepared. And the constant worry of death made by every move had me always planning ahead.
It’s not all good though, medkits are in short supply and sometimes I could find it easier to fill my hunger meter than my health meter which resulted in few deaths. These deaths were due to not being able to find enough of them, especially when nearing the end as monsters would have a lot more health and take a while to kill. This may be overcome with a variety of perks.
The fiddly analogue controls annoyed me, and it would have been far more precise to use the direction pad to cycle through the rooms and inventory, but sadly you’re not able to. Also, moving from room to room is slow as your character never runs. The main character never seems to look like he wants to leave in a hurry, walking around quite casually.
Other than that, I’ve enjoyed playing SKYHILL. There is strategy involved to get to the end and experienced gamers should able to reach it. But even when you think the end is in sight, an unexpected enemy or shortage of supplies may result in a quick game over.
I like the audio in SKYHILL. The moans and growls of the mutants are quite haunting, while the music is a rather low key in the background, keeping you on your toes. Sound effects for footsteps and doors opening are decent too. The sound for picking up items and materials are pretty standard for games like these.
Also, I really like the Dictaphone messages that can be located around the hotel. These flesh out the story of our main hero and what he’s currently going through.
Visuals & Performance
Visuals in SKYHILL are decent. It has a rather simple yet stylish look to it as if they were cut from paper. I like the overall presentation – it’s not an outstanding one but it does the job.
The performance has been smooth and nothing that I’ve experienced would suggest otherwise.
The game supports screenshots and video capture.
Switch’s icon is a little disappointing. It depicts the main character’s face looking upwards with a red sky in the background.
I think there is value here as the game currently priced at £13.49. There are 100 floors to explore in SKYHILL, multiple items to craft, various enemies to fight, and strategy here is needed to be successful.
There are also 4 difficulty settings to change things up. However, I am aware that the game is cheaper on Steam than on Switch.
50 plus items to craft
100 floors to explore
Survival/point & click adventure
Notes and Dictaphone messages expand the story
20 perks to unlock
Analogue controls can be fiddly
Medkits are hard to come by
The character doesn’t seem to be in a rush to escape
Cheaper on other systems