Released in June of 2020, Skellatack was one tricky little platformer. I quite enjoyed it, to be sure, but I can safely say it’s the hardest platformer I’ve ever played.
The story is what drew me into the game, though. The idea of playing for good monsters and fighting invading humans was a unique twist that is rarely explored in video games. While it’s common enough to find games where you play a savage monster or evil alien laying waste to humanity (Maneater and Destroy All Humans for example) it’s rare for a game to have humans be the evil ones and monsters the victims. I will explain why this one felt ultimately lacking to me, and how I think the problem can be fixed.
In Skelattack, you play as a young skeleton living in the underworld with all sorts of monsters: zombies, skeletons, rat people (my favorites), and even devils who live in peace here. This peace is ruined when humans from above ground invade and steal the Blue Flame – a magic fire that powers the Underworld. Humans need it so they can become immortal. Our plucky skeleton and his talking bat sidekick set off to bring back the Blue Flame to save the Underworld. In the end, you must fight Serenity, the human warrior princess who happens to be your character’s sister from when your skeleton was alive. After defeating her but sparing her life, our hero retrieves the Blue Flame and “peace” is brokered between the humans and the monsters.
Only one problem. This peace is not actually a good deal for both sides. While the monster’s victory is complete and they are allowed to live forever, the humans get nothing and are still dying off of old age. The monsters don’t offer to share the Blue Flame with the humans so everyone can live forever. This makes me emphasize the humans much more than the monsters. To those who say that immortality is unnatural, I’ll point you to the fact that this is a world with sentient mice and kind undead wizards.
It’s disappointing that the ending is so one-sided, but the developers could fix this in a sequel. Imagine a sequel where you could play for Serenity, who is still searching for a way to save her people from death. Perhaps she can team up with her skeleton brother as they go on a quest to find a different way for humans to be immortal. Maybe this time the villain could be a fanatic devil or some other monster who believes humans shouldn’t have eternal life because it would be unnatural. I know I’m probably just daydreaming, but I would definitely buy that game. I’d even be willing to back it on Kickstarter if the devs announced that they were making that game.
Until then, though, I’m disappointed with the ending of Skelattack and that is why I side with the humans in this one despite everything.
UPDATE: David Stanley, the creator of Skelattack, has responded!