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SkyScrappers – Nintendo Switch

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Title:  SkyScrappers
Developer:  GroundShatter
Publisher:  Ant Workshop
Website: http://skyscrappers.groundshatter.com
Genre:  Arcade, Fighting, Action
Platform:  Nintendo Switch
Audience:  Teen – Violence
Release Date:  29/10/2018
Price:  £7.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.

What the Developers say

Classic arcade feel and style
Breath-taking hand drawn artwork
Skill-based gameplay
Exclusive Vertical “Tate” Mode.
1-4 player local multiplayer
Single player story mode

Introduction

The aptly named SkyScrappers, designed and developed by GroundShatter, is a classic arcade-style fighting game which comes jumping, punching and round-house kicking its way on the Nintendo eShop. Easily mistaken as yet another Smash Bros. clone looking to capitalise on the hype and furore surrounding the impending December release, SkyScrappers is a real gem in its own right.

Read on for a Rapid Review of this addictive and downright fun fighter.

Looks and Sounds

From the open and engaging trailer to the colourful, vibrant screenshots on the eShop, it is clear that great care and attention has been given to the visual elements of this game. Created by Tom Waterhouse, a freelance illustrator, the artwork on offer here is nothing short of outstanding. With so many moving parts in a game of this kind, it could be overwhelming and distracting. This is not the case here though, with Waterhouse managing to provide the perfect backdrop to the arcade fighting while also making sure the scenery is enjoyed in its own right. The subtle differences in animation between the backdrop, falling obstacles, and the fighters themselves allow for this to happen..

The audio of SkyScrappers is just as inviting and engaging, offering a classic arcade-style feel while ensuring it stays current in this ever-changing and competitive market of indie titles. With the experience of sound design for both games and film, Chris Randle has provided sound effects, voiceover and a soundtrack which not only compliments but enhances the gameplay on offer. Every time I played the game, I had to have the volume up to ensure I got the full experience of this excellent platform-fighting game. To find a team of individuals who share such clarity of vision in what the game should be about and how they wish to achieve it is rare and has most definitely had an impact on the successfulness of this project.

Gameplay and Replayability

Evidently inspired by classic arcade fighters of old, SkyScrappers has a feel about it of SNK games and the aforementioned Smash Bros. The goal of the game is simple: defeat your opponents either by fighting to the death or being the first to reach the top of the skyscraper. How this is achieved is the not-so-simple part. As you battle to be crowned the top fighter, the objects seen in the screenshots included in this review are falling and they then take on a number of roles.

Firstly, they can act as a support as you use these objects to your advantage by climbing on them to scale new heights and race to the top. You can also use them to hit others with by carefully timing a melee attack on the obstacle, pointed in the direction of an opponent. The alternative, however, is that these obstacles become a hindrance as they fall on to you,  causing damage and delaying your ascent up the skyscraper.

The frantic and furious gameplay is provided by four main protagonists, Phileas, Solene, Jessica and Kichirou. Each has their own backstory, weapons and fighting style. Learning more about each character as you progress through the arcade/story was informative and engaging, told mainly through on-screen text. This provided just enough to build more of a character profile for each one, without becoming too dull or tiresome. The four characters differ just enough to warrant making careful selections and altering your fighting style to defeat them. However, for me personally, I would have liked to have seen greater variety in the four fighting styles and a wider selection of characters to choose from.

SkyScrappers offers two main ways to experience its fine fighting formula in all its glory: Arcade Mode and Local Multiplayer. Once you have used your credits to complete each of the four characters stories, the local multiplayer takes centre stage. Offering up to four player local multiplayer on one Switch device, the fun that can be had with friends is a sheer joy to behold. Equally as impressive, and another example of the creativity on display from this development team is the ‘Vertical Mode.’

This feature allows the switch to be turned sideways and the action becomes a much more authentic, arcade experience. It is, however, a logistical nightmare and requires careful placement of the Nintendo console in a way that ensures it does not get damaged.

The fighting itself is well-balanced between fighting, using preset moves assigned to ‘B’ and jumping, assigned to ‘A’.  As the special meter begins to rise, the game then offers the opportunity to use special moves to defeat your opponents. Although fairly simplistic on paper, it was a challenge to ensure that the correct strategy was chosen from the outset, the special moves used to good effect and the age-old ‘fight or flight’ thought was always in the back of my mind: whilst the other three are fighting, should I make a run for it up the skyscraper or catch a fighter unawares?

Conclusion

It could be said that the game modes on offer in SkyScrappers are lacking and that the game would have benefitted from online multiplayer. I would have to agree with both. However, for £7.99, the purchase of this game is an absolute must. It represents excellent value for money, has enough character and personality to make it endearing and entertaining, and I found that even when I had other games to review, I had to have just one more fight!

Rapid Reviews UK Rating

4 and a half out of 5

You can purchase SkyScrappers on the Nintendo eShop on October 29th at the following address, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/SkyScrappers-1455060.html#Overview

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