Skeletal Avenger
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 8

Skeletal Avenger is a roguelite dungeon crawling adventure featuring a skull-chucking undead warrior on a quest for vengeance. The game features a simple low-poly art style along with a mixture of procedural generated and hand-made levels. With over 50 perks and trinkets, there’s plenty of scope to explore different playstyles, and a NG+ mode keeps the action going. While not the best-looking game, it features plenty of great content, and fans of the genre should have a blast.

Gameplay: Very accessible and packed with enough content to keep players busy.

Graphics: Great lighting and particle effects, but the procedurally generated levels can look a little bland.

Sound: The soundtrack is suitably epic and is a great match for the fantasy setting

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Skeletal Avenger

Developer: 10tons Ltd  | Publisher: 10tons Ltd  | Release Date: 2021 | Genre: Action / RPG / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Machiavelli famously wrote that if you need to injure someone, do it in such a way that you do not have to fear their vengeance. Unfortunately for your enemies in Skeletal Avenger, even death is not a deterrent. Although slain by your foes, you return as a skeletal warrior thanks to the help of a necromancer. He offers to reveal the locations of all those who wronged you provided you can bring him enough Bloodstones to locate them. Thus begins your mission for revenge in this roguelite dungeon crawler by 10tons Ltd.

While 10tons are no strangers to roguelite titles filled with perks and mayhem, Skeletal Avenger is a dungeon crawler instead of their more traditional twin-stick shooters. Rats, kobolds, trolls, scorpions, slimes, and more stand in your way, but your primary targets are the bosses that guard each of the four biomes. To reach them, players must battle their way through the dungeons, sewers, caverns, and other locations while earning gold, loot, and bloodstones.

The levels in Skeletal Avenger are a combination of procedural generated and hand-made locations inhabited by over a dozen enemies. Players only need to reach the stairs in each area to move on to the next, but those who stick around and kill all the enemies will reap greater rewards. Special corpses dotted around the levels can be absorbed, which grants players new perks to help in the upcoming battles. These perks are random and lost after each level, which means players constantly need to adapt their playing styles to make the best use of the perks that they find.

In addition to the perks, the game also has equipment and trinkets to find. These also have their own bonuses, but due to the scarcity of healing in the game, the trinket that grants what amounts to an extra life is by far the most useful. Along with the armor, boots, and weapons, players can equip helmets, which play a more important role than what is typically found in a hack and slash RPG. This is thanks to your skeleton’s ability to detach its skull and hurl it at foes. The helmet it is wearing will determine the type of attack, so players can opt for something that does massive damage to a single target or softens up a group of foes with an area of effect attack. While your skull is not needed for survival, players will have to retrieve it from the floor before they can throw it again. There is an option to recall it remotely, but this takes much too long if there are enemies nearby as they will instantly move in for the kill. Since players cannot move or attack while recalling their skull, perks that decrease the skull retrieval time or causes it to return automatically are very useful.

Skeletal Avenger is quite forgiving for the genre, but your health does not regenerate between quests. Instead, players must find blood fountains or healing potions to replenish their precious lifeforce. Things like your maximum health, weapon and skull damage, and more can be upgraded with the gold dropped by enemies. This is done at the hub area, where players return after clearing each dungeon. The hub also features a monsterpedia to learn more about foes you have encountered, a stash for swapping equipment and trinkets, as well as a map for selecting your next quest. Everything is very straightforward and streamlined, which makes it easy to get into the action quickly.

Visually Skeletal Avenger features a low-poly art style for the levels and enemies. Although there are four different biomes, the procedural nature of the game, along with the simple art style, means that none of the locations are really very memorable. The game has plenty of lighting and particle effects, along with dynamic shadows to spice things up, but overall, the graphics are a bit bland compared to similar titles. The sound effects are decent overall, but the game does not feature any voice acting. On the other hand, the music is very good and elevates the atmosphere of the game without becoming obtrusive. Skeletal Avenger can be played using either a keyboard and mouse or controller with both options more than up to the task. Along with a primary and special attack as well as the aforementioned skull throwing, your character can also perform a short dash. After three uses, this move has to recharge, but it is handy for getting out of tight spots or dodge projectiles.

Even though Skeletal Avenger is not the best release by 10tons Ltd, it is still a great game, especially if you prefer fantasy and melee combat over their futuristic shooters like Neon Chrome. It doesn’t do anything new or radically different, but it is still a lot of fun. There’s obviously an element of luck involved due to the random nature of the perks and equipment, so sometimes you can feel very weak while other times you are almost overpowered. The game is pretty accessible, though, and the size and difficulty of each dungeon are displayed, so players know exactly what they are getting themselves into. Larger and more challenging dungeons usually reward players with more Bloodstones, which means getting to the bosses will be quicker. However, half of your Bloodstones are lost upon death, so keep that in mind before attempting anything risky. The game even features 2-4 player local co-op if you want to take some friends along, but if one dies, it is back to the hub for everyone. Finally, additional challenges such as arenas and an NG+ mode provide the game with even more replay value.

As with all games of this type, Skeletal Avenger does have a lot of repetition, but the amount of perks and random elements helps to keep it addictive. The focus is purely on the action and trying out different perk combinations, so don’t expect any depth to the story or interactions beyond killing things and flipping switches. Despite this, the game had us hooked from the start and coming back for more, even after helping our Skeletal Avenger get its revenge.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 / 10
  • Processor: 3 Ghz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: SM 3.0+
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 500 MB available space
  • OS: Windows 7 / 10
  • Processor: 3 Ghz
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: SM 3.0+
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 500 MB available space

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