Skyhill Preview: Hotel of Horrors

There are few scenarios in which being in the nicest penthouse suite at the top of a 100-storey hotel would be considered a bad thing, but an apocalypse is definitely one to make that rare list. Once everything hits the fan and you realize you’re trapped at the top of this tower as a wealthy businessman with little in the way of real-world survival skills, it’s time to descend this hotel of horrors and make your escape.Once everything hits the fan and you realize you’re trapped at the top of this tower as a wealthy businessman with little in the way of real-world survival skills, it’s time to descend this hotel of horrors and make your escape.
skyhillinsert2When described like that, it sounds much simpler than it actually is in practice. Once WWIII begins and a flurry of biological missiles are launched around the world, there are few places left that are truly safe. Each floor of the hotel may serve as home to monsters and deformed beasts that want nothing more than to snack on a nice, clean, non-irradiated human like yourself.

Since Skyhill is a roguelike, there is a short list of features that pretty much go without saying. Each time you load up a new game, you’ll have a new hotel to explore - it is never the same. Items, rooms, monster placement, etc. are different every time. There’s also permadeath, because obviously. As you play, you’ll find items, level up, get stronger, distribute ability points, and slowly start to make your way down to street level.
skyhillinsert3Skyhill also features a nifty hunger system in addition to your standard health. Every action you take drains some of your hunger (in this regard, it functions more like an energy meter than just hunger) and once that hits zero, your health will start to drain. Exploring rooms can yield items like weapons and equipment, but you can also find the ever-so-valuable food. The team described one situation to me in which a bird crashed through the window randomly on one floor, resulting in some free food, however; he’s never seen that happen again, which really speaks to the random nature of the experience.

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One of Skyhill’s most unique features is the combat. At first glance it seems a standard turn-based system, but once you peel back the layers a bit, there’s a lot more to it. It’s all based on the type of weapon you have of course, but you can also target specific body parts as well. It functions similar to V.A.T.S. from Fallout 3 in that some areas may do more damage, but have lower probability of landing a hit. For example, if you were to swing at the head of an enemy, you’d have a lower chance of landing the hit, but you could also cause a massive amount of damage.
skyhillinsert4Once you’re locked in combat though, it’s very hard to escape. If you’re at the top of a staircase and decide to travel down, you can’t change your mind halfway down - you’re committed. This ramps up the entire “risk vs. reward” aspect. Once in combat, you can try to escape, but there’s no guarantee of success. The developers explained that a lot of their inspiration comes from This War of Mine, which is a great game to draw inspiration from. There are also multiple different characters to choose from, adding even more variables to help ensure that each attempt to descend through the floors is varied and unique.

Skyhill is headed to PC via Steam Greenlight this October so get your survival gear ready!