It seems that the unpredictable and savage aftermath of a catastrophic military event can be the catalyst for some fairly remarkable games. The Fallout series, for example, has established itself as one of the gaming world’s biggest and best franchises, with an eagerly anticipated new instalment arriving later in 2015.
It’s not just the so-called “bigger” developers taking on the task of bringing the harsh and volatile landscape of a post-apocalyptic world to the gaming audience though, and with Skyhill, Russian developers Mandragora are working away to bring their own, platform-inspired version to life.
Skyhill is the name of a fictional hotel within the game, and the player’s misadventures within this hotel will form the basis of the game. But that’s putting things far too simply, and there’s more to Skyhill than a casual stroll around a hundred storey hotel.
The game will set its players up as a V.I.P. business guest, checking in to the exclusive top floor suite at the hotel after a working weekend. The introductory scenes quickly establish the turmoil of the surrounding nations, and it takes very little time before plunging the world into a disastrous state following an attack with biohazard weapons sweeps the city. The hi-tech hotel forces itself into a lockdown until the systems fail, at which point the player’s trapped and reluctant hero resolves it is time to make his way down through the hotel in search of an escape route.
The game has a goal that sounds simple enough: make your way down the hotels 100 floors to reach a (hopefully) safe exit at the bottom. Consider this in real terms, and only the painful realization that you have to traverse 100 flights of stairs proves much problem in a task like this. In Skyhill’s torrid world, however, the challenge is beset by far more than just overcoming your own laziness.
First off, players will have to get to grips with the fact that their nominated hero is actually just a regular guy. No superpowers, enhanced abilities or even advanced stamina. As a result, you will have to closely monitor the steady decline of two important factors; his health points and hunger levels. Health points will deplete in combat activities, which actually makes them slightly less of a worry than the hunger level. Since combat is random and occasionally fleeting, there are far less opportunities for HP to be affected than there is for hunger. Hunger dictates the energy that your character has, and its level dips accordingly dependent on the actions the player takes. Moving from one room to the next, for example, will see one of the one hundred available hunger points chipped away.
These levels aren’t just working on one way streets, of course, and both can be replenished through smart use of the various goods that can be found in cupboards, boxes and even scattered corpses throughout the hotel. Pills and bandages can help boost the player’s health points, as can sleeping in the relative safety of your top floor V.I.P. suite, although the latter does come at the cost of the available hunger level. Hunger, unsurprisingly, is refilled by consuming edible items that can also be found. These aren’t all perfect, however, and some spoiled or tainted items pose a significant risk with them, meaning players may find themselves taking calculated risks when left in dire straits with no other option.