by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
A ROGUELIKE FROM HELL
Not that long ago, making video games was about creating a linear experience for your player to follow and enjoy, perhaps with a few branching paths here and there. These days, the terms “Roguelike” and “randomly generated” are thrown about all the time, as we have moved into a more freeform and fluid era of games. Skyhill is another part of this movement, and just like all the rest, is trying to make itself heard. To do so, it’s going to have to shout from the highest rooftops. Thankfully, it takes place in a hotel which has 100 floors, and you start right at the top.
It all starts out great. You’ve got a lovely suite in a fancy hotel, and you turn in for the night. When you wake up, it turns out the apocalypse has happened. That puts a real downer on your weekend as you have to explore, scavenge and fight your way through 100 floors of dangers to escape Skyhill hotel. On each playthrough, you’ll have a randomly generated set of floors to explore. How much you explore to the left and right of these from the stairwell is up to you. It's highly encouraged that you search everywhere, as you’ll always need to stay stocked up on supplies. Be cautious however, as dangers may await inside the darkened rooms, and monsters can and will attack you.
A FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL
When they attack, you’ll have to defend yourself, or run. However if you do flee, the monster will get a free attack on you, and health is a precious resource. Of course, you have just as much risk of getting hurt if you try and fight, but there may be rewards on the creature’s body or hidden somewhere in the room. Combat is a basic system whereby you click to attack, or enter a sort of Fallout V.A.T.S. mode. Here you can aim for specific parts of the creature, with weak parts, such as the head, having a lower percentage to hit.
Your health isn’t the only thing you need to worry about, because exploring a huge hotel and running up and down stairs is hunger inducing work. You can refill your hunger meter by eating, but beware: not all food will be nutritious, some might have gone bad. If you go to sleep, you will regain your health, but at the cost of hunger points. You’ll also have to go back up to your room to sleep, and random events may happen while you catch some Zs.
A SHORT WAIT, BUT A LONG WAY DOWN
There is an elevator, but it only works for the top ten floors, initially. Lower down it’s broken, but it is possible to fix it with the right items and tools. While you’re scavenging, you’ll also find things to use as weapons, increasing your chances in combat. You have four different attributes: Strength, Speed, Dexterity, and Accuracy, and different types of weapons use different stats to be effective. Over time you’ll gain experience and level up, and you can put new points into your attributes. You’ll also be unlocking new perks for use on your next run through, because at some point, you will most certainly die.
The main goal is of course to escape the hotel, but there are alternate stories which are told through notes you find in your explorations. Some give you a bit of background, and some are more mysterious. They might tell you to go to a specific location in the hotel, for example. Skyhill has a simple premise, but one that might intrigue a lot of people. If you’re one of those, you’ll be able to check it out when it releases on October 6.