Skul: The Hero Slayer Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Skul: The Hero Slayer RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Skul: The Hero Slayer Generating Console Ports This Summer https://www.gameskinny.com/sve7c/skul-the-hero-slayer-generating-console-ports-this-summer https://www.gameskinny.com/sve7c/skul-the-hero-slayer-generating-console-ports-this-summer Wed, 14 Apr 2021 16:42:44 -0400 David Carcasole

Announced during Nintendo's Indie World Showcase on April 14, Skul: The Hero Slayer from developer SouthPAWGames will release on Nintendo Switch in summer 2021, officially making it available on all major platforms. A press release following the reveal included the PS4 and Xbox One ports in the same launch window as well. 

Skul: The Hero Slayer has already gained quite the following on Steam, and the development team is excited to bring the game to other platforms, letting more players experience the action-packed 2-D platformer.

You can watch the announcement trailer for the Switch version below: 

Skul: The Hero Slayer originally released on PC early this year. We reviewed it on release and praised it for the challenge it presents both newcomers and seasoned rogeulike players alike — all while remaining "endearing." We said that "Skul takes the rogue-lite mechanics you know and adds some flair of its own, and a unique take on the fantasy narrative." You can check out the full review here.

We already knew that PS4, Xbox One, and Switch ports were in the works, but this is the first confirmation of a smaller release window outside of the larger 2021 provided around the game's PC launch. 

For more on Skul: The Hero Slayer, bookmark our tips and tricks guides ahead of the Switch release or check out our recommendations for the best traits in the game. If you can't wait for the console ports and have a Steam account, you can pick up Skul: The Hero Slayer on Valve's launcher for $19.99. 

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Skul: The Hero Slayer Legendary Skull Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/48grb/skul-the-hero-slayer-legendary-skull-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/48grb/skul-the-hero-slayer-legendary-skull-guide Mon, 15 Feb 2021 11:01:32 -0500 John Schutt

Making your way to the final boss in Skul: The Hero Slayer will see you trying the game’s many different skulls, giving you access to new abilities and upgrade paths. The best are of Legendary rarity, and all have the potential for immense damage and survivability. The problem is gathering the materials to improve lower rarity ones or being lucky enough for the pure Legendaries to appear.

This guide is all about getting your hands on every Legendary variant in the game and which ones you should focus on if you want the easiest time slaying every hero in your path.

How to Get Legendary Skulls

There are two types of Legendaries: the upgrade kind and the pure kind.

The upgrade version is exactly as it sounds: you have to spend bone fragments to improve your skull to the maximum rarity. You can only get pure Legendaries out of the random bone pile at the end of green-door rooms.

How long it takes to upgrade to Legendary depends on its rarity when you acquire it. After all, they don’t just come in Common and Legendary variants. There are Rare and Unique versions, as well.

Here's how many bone fragments it takes to upgrade these varieties: 

  • Common (140)
  • Rare (130)
  • Unique (100)

Whenever you come across one you don’t want, you have the option to destroy it for a set number of fragments:

  • Common (5)
  • Rare (11)
  • Unique (23)
  • Legendary (44)

You’ll know which will drop depending on the visuals of the bone pile.

Common ones drop from a small, unimpressive mound. Rare ones are larger and lack the Common pile’s helmeted skull. Unique ones come from a large bone pile with a single standing skeleton. Legendary heads are in a huge pile, with a skeleton crucifix on top.

If you’re set on improving a Common version all the way, you’ll forego certain options in favor of fragment farming. As we talked about in our Skul tips guide, you want to focus on a single damage type. You're better suited destroying magic skulls on a physical damage run even if they would otherwise be solid choices.

As hard as it might be to dismantle a Grim Reaper, it's better to have the fragments and assure the upgrade than waste your build to have a shiny new Legendary that does no damage.

Free the Harpy Warrior Prisoner

Also, be on the lookout for the Harpy Warrior prisoner. She has long silver hair with a red and black outfit and gives between 20 and 30 fragments if released from captivity. You don’t even need to clear the room to acquire the Harpy fragments. Just break her cell and talk to her for the easiest upgrade materials in the game.

The Best Legendary Skulls in Skul: The Hero Slayer

You know what you want your build to be. You’re ready to gather the fragments. Your only choice now is which Legendary do you want?

These are the best-in-class Legendaries for each rarity regardless of damage type. I’m basing these choices on two primary factors: room-clearing efficiency and boss damage output. You’ll need both to survive through all five worlds and make it to the final encounter with enough health to succeed.

Common: Werewolf

The Werewolf starts this list because it has a strong suite of abilities and, if you get the right combination at Legendary, you can clear entire rooms in seconds without taking a single hit. The real winner here is the dash attack with up to three uses when fully charged.

If you’ve taken your physical damage to its maximum, the entire first level, including the boss, is a cakewalk. Even if Werewolf comes with its close-range abilities, it’s still a force to be reckoned with because of its speed and raw damage output potential.

Rare: Rider

If there’s any ability that puts Rider above the rest, it’s Hell Bike. It deals physical damage, but when it comes to clearing entire rooms in seconds, it makes almost every other ability in the game look inefficient. Some of the Unique and Legendary powers aren’t as immediately effective, even if they are technically safer.

That's because Hell Bike lasts about 10 seconds, sends you across the screen at high speeds, pushes back and staggers smaller enemies, and deals damage to everything it hits. You can make it to and from both ends of the largest rooms and have time to spare.

If you can control the ability, Hell Bike can also deal massive damage to bosses, even if dodging attacks are a little awkward.

Hell Bike is good enough on its own, but if you want a good chunk of fire-and-forget DPS, pair the bike with Flame Boots, which leaves a trail of magic fire behind for about five seconds. One use of the two abilities can melt both phases of the first world’s boss. Later worlds take a little more effort, but taking Rider to Legendary only makes these two abilities more powerful.

Unique: Predator

Every Unique type has its benefits, and unless you’re going for a specific build, all of them can turn a run on its head. This choice came down to Predator and Great Warlock. Still, ultimately I settled on Predator because while Great Warlock is technically better at clearing rooms, activating any of its powers leaves you vulnerable.

Predator also puts you in danger, since it's physical damage focused. However, because you can control how your attacks function, you have more freedom to get out of danger. Predator also deals more damage in less time over more attacks, meaning your build can revolve around physical damage and attack-based upgrade items.

Lastly, Predator’s swap ability affects every enemy on screen, slowing them and giving you a chance to reposition as necessary. The utility there is unquestionably best-in-class.

Legendary: Grim Reaper

Surprising no one, Grim Reaper is the top choice of pure Legendary. There’s no bad ability combo, though if you can combo Harvest with Sentence, you’ll have a full screen-clear and a mop-up attack on the same character. Add in the seeking orbs spawned by dead enemies, and you’ve got damage to spare.

Grim Reaper’s attacks also have a long reach. As a Magic-user, damage output is one of the highest you’ll find, and several of its abilities, including its swap, leave it invulnerable for a time. You have both the ability to deal death while having some “Get out of jail free” cards up your sleeve.

Also, Grim Reaper looks cool. Which is always nice.

There are optimal options when it comes to Legendary shells, but don’t be fooled. Get your hands on any of them, and you’ll have a strong chance at making your way deep into a run. That's how to get legendary skulls and some of the best variants across types in the game. What are your favorite combos? Let us know in the comments below!

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Skul: The Hero Slayer Traits: Best in Common, Rare, Unique, Legendary https://www.gameskinny.com/0negx/skul-the-hero-slayer-traits-best-in-common-rare-unique-legendary https://www.gameskinny.com/0negx/skul-the-hero-slayer-traits-best-in-common-rare-unique-legendary Tue, 09 Feb 2021 12:00:29 -0500 John Schutt

Skul: The Hero Slayer traits are the game's rogue-lite element, allowing you to upgrade your character’s strength and resilience, decrease cooldowns, and add life-saving abilities. Each Trait upgrade costs Dark Quartz, a currency dropped by every enemy in the game. The further you go, the more quartz drops, and the more Traits you acquire. That also means they become more expensive.

This Skul: The Hero Slayer guide will go over all the game's best Traits — the ones you’ll want as soon as you can get your hands on them. Some are straightforward and will unlock in short order. Others will cost you a king’s ransom. All of them are worth every piece of quartz.

Common Traits

There are three Traits you can access as soon as you can talk to the Witch in Human form. These are your base damage abilities:

  • Marrow Transplant, which increases Magic damage
  • Thick Bone, which increases Physical damage
  • Fatal Mind, which increases critical damage chance

You’ll want to put at least a few points into each of these quickly, as their initial costs are very, very low: 30-40 quartz for the first upgrade, 60-80 for the next, 120 or so for the third. Even the last few upgrades are only a few hundred quartz each.

All told, you’ll spend a little more than 1,500 Quartz, bringing the three damage Traits to Level 10, their maximum.

However, don’t take them to maximum immediately. Decide which damage type you prefer on your skulls, then pump that to Level 6 or Level 7. Bring the other two up to Level 3 or Level 4 if you must have as much damage as possible while still leaving room for the second tier of Traits.

Rare Traits

The second Traits column is all about increasing your health and the usability of the two main ability types: Swap and Quintessence. Fracture Prevention, the middle option, is a flat and permanent increase to your health, giving you more wiggle room to make mistakes.

Quick Dislocation and Ancestral Fortitude improve your Swap and Quintessence cooldown by up to 40%, respectively. Which you upgrade first depends on how you want to play.

Swap mechanics are quicker but have a shorter cooldown compared to Quintessence. On the flip side, the best Swap abilities don’t deal nearly the damage of a good Quintessence, and switching skulls could put you in an awkward position if you’ve focused on improving one over the other.

Additionally, Quintessence is a “fire and forget” power. Click the button once, and the ability works. Some of them can carry even late-game builds. Their cooldown is heavily dependent on the potential damage output, so while you can get an incredibly powerful Quintessence, if you use it at the wrong time, you’ll be without a potential safety net.

The best choice to improve first is therefore up to you. Upgrading Swap will get you more incremental damage and more frequent add clear, while upgrading Quintessence will get you bigger damage less often. 

Fracture Prevention offers extra health, and is definitely nice, as well.

Unique Traits

Unlike the last two columns, the choice here is clear. Nutrition Supply decreases the cooldown of balance-type skulls. This is valuable for two reasons.

Legendary Balance skulls are probably the best in the game. Rocker, Grim Reaper, Dark Paladin, Great Warlock — all of them are powerful balance skulls. The Legendary-versions of balance common skulls, such as Skeleton-Sword and Carleon Recruit, are also quite powerful.

Beyond that, balance skulls rely a little more on their abilities than other skull types, so you want these ready as quickly as possible.

The other two Traits are good, Heavy Frame for damage reduction on Power skulls or Spirit Acceleration for attack and movement speed on Speed skulls. They are not, however, as consistently useful.

Power skulls are all quite slow and put you in constant danger by virtue of their physical attacks, so while damage reduction is good, you want to be learning, not taking hits and dying, early on.

Speed Skulls suffer a similar fate, but without the damage reduction. Even if you can kill bosses faster, spending more time dying to the masses of mobs before getting to said bosses is just wasting time.

Legendary Traits

As with the third column, the final set of Traits has a single clear winner: Reassemble. It grants a single resurrection per run with up to 60% of our maximum health. It's essentially a get out of jail free card. Make a mistake and get killed? You're still in the fight. 

Exoskeleton Reinforcement does something similar, granting a health barrier up to 20 HP every time you swap and reducing the swap cooldown if the barrier doesn’t break (reduced to zero HP). It's powerful, but again, if you’re prioritizing a single skull to conserve resources, being stuck in a moveset you haven’t upgraded can be tricky.

You’re likely to have all Skul: The Hero Slayer Traits fully upgraded if you put in enough time. At that point, even without any upgrades, you’ll be incredibly powerful. However, the above Traits and considerations will make the early and mid-game far more bearable. If you're looking for more tips and tricks on this wonderful rogue-lite, consider heading over to our guides hub here!

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Skul: The Hero Slayer Tips and Tricks Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/fz1ae/skul-the-hero-slayer-tips-and-tricks-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/fz1ae/skul-the-hero-slayer-tips-and-tricks-guide Fri, 05 Feb 2021 10:44:46 -0500 John Schutt

Skul: The Hero Slayer might have a lot of charm, but its friendly veneer hides a game that will kill you without a second thought. And then laugh about it. Thankfully, runs are exciting enough, and the game is fun enough that failure only hurts so much. Even so, we’ve got a tips and tricks guide to make your experience as enjoyable as possible.

Some tips are psychological, some mechanical, but all of them will help you get all the way through to the final boss, though actually beating them is another matter.

One point of order first: Skul doesn’t save your progress if you leave mid-run. If you’ve made it beyond the third world, it’s better to pause the game and come back later. If you quit in any way, be prepared to start from the beginning with nothing.

Tip 1: Don’t Be Afraid of Failure

It sounds obvious for a rogue-lite, but failure is essential to success in Skul. More importantly, because of the randomness inherent in the genre, sometimes the game doesn’t play nice and a run’s dead almost before it even begins.

There is an option to restart if you’re getting shafted on drops, but don’t give in to that temptation. Unless you’ve mastered every level in the game, there’s always something to learn. It needn’t be an impromptu “challenge run,” either. A run that’s destined to fail can turn on a dime, and you might surprise yourself by getting past the boss or room that’s been giving you trouble.

As a corollary to accepting failure, don’t be afraid to experiment on a dead or dying run. If you change your tactics because you don’t have anything to lose, you might improvise a brand new, better strategy you can use going forward.

Tip 2: Try Different Skulls

You’re liable to find a few skulls that mesh with you, but try not to rest on your laurels. The one skull you pass up, if fully upgraded, could rewrite your entire gameplan. As with not fearing failure, even if the Legendary version of a skull doesn’t knock your socks off, now you know which to scrap immediately and which to hold onto.

You won’t even run into some of the random drop skulls — Grim Reaper, Rocker, Predator, and others — if you don’t look into new options. These rare skulls offer some of the most powerful abilities in the game, and you can get your hands on them as early as the first world. The non-Legendary ones are even upgradable to a higher form. 

Tip 3: Focus on One Door Type at a Time

Even if you don’t see a skull or item door in every room, you should still focus on only one door type at a time. That way, you can craft the perfect build as early as possible and hone it to a razor’s edge. Ideally, skull doors are your best bet, as the more you open, the higher the likelihood you’ll get something you like.

Focusing on money doors is another good strategy, especially if you get a good skull from the get-go. Doing so ensures you’ll always have access to large heals at shops and, if you’re exceedingly wealthy, plenty of items you don’t need to fight for.

Going all-in on item doors has its own benefits, of course. Even the base skull can be incredibly powerful with the right setup and enough understanding of enemies and areas. With a certain trait, you can even dismantle items you don’t want for a small pile of gold. That gold can then go back into the shop for items, healing, and other upgrades.

Tip 4: Stick to a Single Damage Type When Possible

Make it magic damage, if you can. The most powerful skulls in the game primarily do magic damage, and traits allow you to upgrade your magic to be 60% more effective rather than physical’s 40%. Be aware that most common and rare skulls mix and match damage types, so you’ll be split along that line.

However, based on the first few upgrades you come across in a run, you should quickly prioritize whether to focus on magic or physical attacks. The worst thing you can do is build up one damage type, then equip a Legendary skull that uses the other, making all the work you did to that point essentially worthless.

Tip 5: Embrace the Hard Carry

It doesn’t matter if you’re new or a veteran. You’re bound to come across a skull or upgrade that’s so powerful it does most of the work for you. Maybe it takes a while to recharge, or maybe it asks for a completely different playstyle, but it can and does clear entire screens with minimal effort.

Embrace the power. Half the difficulty of Skul lies in its bosses, as one unfamiliar attack can chunk your health, again and again, setting back your progress or ending a run altogether.

Your goal, then, is to make it to the boss as quickly as you can, and if that means leaning on a single ability or item, then who cares? Play safe, play slow, and let the game play itself. You’ll eventually come across something that will test you, and you’ll need all the help you can get to overcome it.

Hopefully, these few Skul: The Hero Slayer tips and tricks will help you get far into this fantastic rogue-lite. We’ve got more guides on the way about more mechanical strategies, so stay tuned for those.

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Skul: The Hero Slayer Review — End the Tyranny of Heroes https://www.gameskinny.com/ngm2a/skul-the-hero-slayer-review-end-the-tyranny-of-heroes https://www.gameskinny.com/ngm2a/skul-the-hero-slayer-review-end-the-tyranny-of-heroes Thu, 04 Feb 2021 12:52:36 -0500 John Schutt

Skul: The Hero Slayer is well aware of its genre: pixel art rogue-lite with mild narrative elements. It sits somewhere between Dead Cells and Hades in almost every way, borrowing elements from one and something else from the other. Thankfully, it has its own identity as well, built primarily around its premise: you are the villain in the story. At least by traditional standards.

In this game, the heroes are the generic fantasy mooks you’d kill by the dozens in any other fantasy setting. Orcs, witches, werecreatures — all of them are beset by the heroes of the world until all that remains to save the Demon King is you, a lowly skeleton.

The viewpoint swap creates an opportunity to see the emotional and psychological cost of the reprehensible things humans do when the victims are painted as wholly irredeemable. Make no mistake, some of what you learn throughout Skul would be fodder for any traditional adventure. The difference is it’s built on the backs of monsters who seem much more human than the actual humans you meet.

None of these heavy topics stop Skul from having some truly endearing moments and plenty of charm. Its mechanics are familiar but well-executed, and the enemies you face are as varied as the environments you face them in. I’ll be honest at the start: I can’t find a lot of fault with the game. I have my complaints, but most are minor.

Skul: The Hero Slayer Review — End the Tyranny of Heroes

Many of Skul’s gameplay and design ideas are familiar to anyone who knows the rogue-lite genre. You start with nothing. Do runs. Die. Come back with upgrade materials to increase your power and do more runs. You learn enemies and craft strategies, find out what works for you and what doesn’t, and experiment with new builds even as certain powerful abilities carry you farther than you’re ready for.

You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re getting a Dead Cells-style experience through and through. It won’t take you long to learn that Skul takes a hybrid approach, adding in some of the decision-making Hades demands.

After every room you clear, you’re greeted with two doors offering either gold, an item, or a random skull. The first two are simple. Gold lets you buy stuff, obviously. Items grant passive buffs and automatic abilities. Skulls are where the game comes alive. There are more than a dozen different options that replace the generic character you start with.

Skulls start at Common rarity, and you can upgrade all of them through play, ultimately reaching the borderline-overpowered Legendary version. There are also randomly dropped skulls you can only acquire through skull rooms, and these can do a lot of the heavy lifting even late in a run.

Much of the charm and enjoyment of Skul: The Hero Slayer comes from the various skulls you can upgrade or uncover. You need only look at the Rocker skull. It’s a heavy-metal skeleton that can summon a full band with a light show and pyrotechnics. Why? Who cares? It’s funny and will melt bosses.

The environments and enemy designs are also quite endearing or are as disturbing as they are deadly. The second world is probably my favorite because Skul starts to have fun with its enemies and environments. The third world showcases the depths of human depravity and the last acts in severe contrast to everything that came before.

Moment to Moment Gameplay

As with the mechanics, the arenas sit in a middle ground between Dead Cells and Hades. They are technically randomized as far as their order, but the rooms themselves are static. This lends a level of consistency to each run, provided you’ve seen a room enough times to know what enemies spawn where and when.

You’ll build a definite sense of mastery in a way you might not in other rogue-lites because at the highest level, you'll know exactly how to play every encounter. No guesswork, no random chance, just knowledge of your skulls and the enemies in front of you.

There’s also a surprising amount of depth to how you can optimize each run. Do you focus on getting the best skull you can find, discarding the rest of the bone pieces for upgrading, or do you max out your gold for heals and easy items? Then, once you have the build you want, do you prioritize additional survivability or straight damage?

Familiar choices, certainly, but far easier to get wrong than execute as effectively as it’s done here in Skul. The reason here is simple: you can be a literal demigod and still watch the bosses or unfamiliar enemies wipe the floor with you. Knowledge and skill are as important as good RNG because you will fail again and again without one.

The bosses themselves are as varied as their levels, and each asks something different of you. Your first go with each of them is likely to result in a quick death, meaning anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour just vanished in a few moments. The later levels also are particularly mean, adding traps and other environmental damage sources that are as likely to end you as any of the enemies themselves.

A Crowded Screen and Other Issues

If I had to name one issue that holds Skul back, it would be how crowded the screen becomes almost as soon as you start playing. The issue only gets worse the farther you get in a run, with your own abilities and those of your enemies mixing into a mishmash of bright color, flashing lights, and other visual noise.

The enemy crowding problem can be especially heinous because there are rooms designed for dozens and dozens of them at a time. There are plenty of abilities that clear rooms quickly, but if you’re on a run without any good clearing moves, one false step can see a random group of ten knights hit you ten times in quick succession.

There are a couple of other annoyances, as well. Some of the rooms are themselves part of the challenge but in an annoying rather than difficult way. Asking for precise platforming in a game where the platforming isn’t stellar isn’t the greatest design choice.

Then there’s the game messing with you. If you’re unlucky, all you’ll see on a run is money and common skulls, with no way to properly increase your power. Some enemies are frustrating rather than difficult, either because of their attacks or because of how hard they can be to hit.

Skul: The Hero Slayer Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Addicting gameplay built on solid mechanical foundations
  • A welcome twist to traditional fantasy narratives that invites sometimes difficult questions
  • High-quality music, art, and overall aesthetic

Cons

  • Can fall prey to visual noise that makes gameplay hard to parse
  • Some design choices are more frustrating than they are fun
  • Less-than stellar platforming controls

Like the core elements of the game, Skul’s music and art direction are high quality, though they aren’t necessarily award-winning. The writing and world-building are good, too, and there are plenty of humorous moments, and little (or not so little) nods to other games. Skeleton puns are always appreciated, as well.

As far as the narrative is concerned, the best part is the way Skul plays with expectations. Combine how it switches good and bad guys, the surprising shifts in some of the later bosses, and its quiet commentary on how we justify atrocity, and Skul elevates itself above some of its peers.

Skul: The Hero Slayer falls into a similar category as something like Ghost of Tsushima. There aren’t many new ideas on display, but everything here’s been polished to a mirror sheen.

The new mechanics add significant flavor and charm to an already solid package. Good music and art combined with satisfying combat and a dash of good humor make the difficulty spikes bearable and the few frustrations bearable.

If you’re looking for a game to scratch your rogue-lite itch with a few fun twists, Skul is a fantastic choice.

[Note: Neowiz games provided the copy of Skul: The Hero Slayer used for this review.]

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