Developed by 7 Raven Studios and published by Totalconsole, The Skylia Prophecy is a side-scrolling action game with some RPG elements to it. With a title soundtrack that sounds similar to the original Tomb Raider tune and graphics that remind me of the Castlevania series, this game will make older gamers feel a bit nostalgic.
The story for Skylia Prophecy seems quite serious and confusing at the same time. It is set in a medieval fantasy world where a teenager Mirenia accidentally unleashed an evil power onto the world. But now she is back for redemption to seal away the evil she let loose, so you need to use your trusty sword and barrier shield to fight through the evil. The game has some puzzling elements like a maze and certain barriers that have conditions to break them down.
The gameplay is a bit of a mixed bag for me and that is down to a few choices which should no longer happen in the modern day of gaming. The movement is fine and crisp and you can use either the control stick or the d-pad. The combat is mostly fine except you cannot do a low attack. That would be fine except there are enemies that are lower down and the only way to defeat them is to block with your barrier shield and have them walk into it which I find a bit strange.
The enemies are quite generic with snakes, spiders, crows and skeletons but they do have a few surprising ones at points. There is an evil spirit that grows out of a tree to fire projectiles at you and a random ghost spirit that fires fireballs but cackles every time you hit it. The skeletons are my favourite enemy in this game though as they are so slow and harmless it looks more like they are dancing than being aggressive. You have three meters which show your health, mana and either your stamina/strength but it’s never really cleared up. You increase these meters by killing enemies and sometimes finding hidden pickups. The mana is used for your special moves which are very important to progressing the game and you unlock more special moves as you beat certain boss enemies.
The boss enemies are probably the best part of this game and are the truest reflection of the great games of the past. You have one life and if you die you go back to the last checkpoint. Each boss has an attack pattern and you will die a few times before you work out the best plan of attack which excited me as well as frustrated me and that’s what gave me the best sense of nostalgia. Bizarrely at some of the main checkpoints, a black demon with long claws offers you assistance in exchange for an unknown deal they will collect on later. Usually, it offers you all your health and mana back but I am usually OK at that point, plus the deal seemed super shady so I never took them up on the offer. I like the idea that you might need to take the deal if you are struggling to bring down a boss, and you’re likely to regret it later.
Through the many villages/town you pass as you progress there are usually people to talk to and shops to visit, but they always seem to be similar people and the same shops. There is also a tavern in each area where you can pick up a side quest but I have to be honest, these tend to not make any sense. You need to complete them to earn money to buy potions to help you with the boss fights or to get past certain areas. But each quest kind of requires you to go back to the tavern you got your quest from and there isn’t really a way to backtrack unless I am really missing something.
Now I have to mention the sins the game has which shouldn’t occur anymore in current games. A single save file is something I hate. If you did miss a chunk of the game you cannot revert to an earlier save without starting a new game. The next is you can use potions even though your meter is full. Considering this game is stingy on coins and the enemies don’t drop any health or mana pickups, accidentally using a potion is very annoying.
The next are game-breaking scenarios and these happened to me twice. There is one area where you need to shoot a certain thing with your special move to blow up the wall to allow you to progress. I only had one mana bar left and I missed the target. I had no money to buy a mana potion and no enemy drops mana pickups so I couldn’t progress any further. I had to quit the game to the main menu and reload my save to have another attempt at it. Then later in the game, it happened again but it was mainly my fault. I unlocked the double jump move and I didn’t realise it was a mana costing move. So I kept double jumping to get back to where I was and there was a platform I needed to double jump to and I couldn’t do it any more. That’s when I realised it cost mana to double jump and once again I had no mana potions, so I was trapped in an area I couldn’t progress from without quitting and restarting. The last thing is something many games are guilty of and that is not putting the controller layout in the pause menu in-game. Sometimes in-game you just want to check what the controls are again but not here. The controls can only be seen on the main menu screen.
The Skylia Prophecy is a mixed bag for me. A couple more tweaks and this game would have been much more enjoyable. The graphics, controls and the boss fights here capture the nostalgic feels of past classics very well. But some other decisions that were made keep pulling the loose threads and unravelling the game into a bit of a confusing mess. Action-platformer fans will still get some joy from this but they may end up being frustrated at more than they can bear at the small quality of life choices made.Become a Patron!
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.