Skyhill on PC
There have been a lot of interesting takes on the survival horror genre in recent years. Skyhill, from indie developers Mandragora, is a point-and-click style survival title. Set in the wake of a devastating biological attack at the end of a bitter world war, players will face hunger, resource scarcity, and twisted monsters in their attempts to stay alive. While the design lacks some of the breadth that comes from more open-world style games, something about Skyhill’s easy interface and stylish design still makes it an intriguing title.
Skyhill takes its name from the hotel in which the entirety of the game is set. Starting in the hotel’s topmost VIP penthouse, players will have to work their way downward. Movement is a bit limited, as the construction includes a central stairwell and two rooms on either side for each floor. Within any given room, players may face combat against the frightening creatures created by the bio-weapon, scrounge for equipment and supplies, and pick up notes or other scraps that piece together the story of the world that was. Though the limited space seems confining, there’s still plenty to do — and plenty of ways to end up dead.
The main focus of Skyhill is, of course, survival. To this end, players have two meters to keep an eye on: health and hunger. Hunger is drained at the rate of one point per room, dropping quickly as you make your way through the darkened rooms. Players will have to scour for food to keep this up, and the going isn’t always easy. Rotten food may cause a hit to your health, but in the end can still be worth it; moving about when your hunger bar is drained costs you two health per move, so keeping an eye on that stomach is key to your travels.
Food isn’t the only thing you’ll find rummaging around in Skyhill’s world, either. Weapons, health restoring items, and plenty of component pieces such as scrap metal, wires, and electrical tape can also be found. The game features a crafting system that allows players to combine ingredients and objects to create more filling meals, powerful weapons, and other useful trinkets. The hotel’s partially-functional elevator system provides fast travel between any powered-on working elevators on floors you’ve visited, and much of the crafting system requires that you return to your base at the hotel’s peak.
In addition to the survival and crafting systems, Skyhill features an RPG-style level system for improving your character’s strength, dexterity, speed, and accuracy. These stats are used for increasing the effectiveness of different weapons, with each relying on one or more stats for use. Boosting up your stats and armory will increase your combat abilities, and therefore increase your chances of staying alive. Perks chosen at the beginning of each new game have a number of uses, as well, including reducing your hunger decrease rate, granting lockpick abilities, and various combat advantages.
All in all, Skyhill is a very simple, straightforward game that doesn’t spend a lot of time with unnecessary dressings. While the limited space may seem like a downside, there’s more than enough to explore and plenty of ways to go about each game. It may not have the depth of some of its genre, it makes up for it with the approachable gameplay and plentiful replay value. For a solid $14.99 on Steam, players can expect to get their money’s worth simply from this replayability, and it’s a solid addition to the library of anyone interested in easily picked-up yet still difficult survival-horror titles, though those who aren’t fans of the genre likely won’t find anything too compelling here.