Does this indie brawler reach towering heights, or does it just come crumbling down?
One of the greatest strengths of the Nintendo Switch is the fact that you will always have two controllers with you, so at any location you can satisfyingly snap off a joy con, hand one over to a chum and commence battle in a slew of local multiplayer titles. Sky Scrappers with its intense fighting system, easy to learn controls but hard to master progression system instantly plants itself as another competent one of those games to pick up and play with a few friends at a pub, park or even in front of the good old television at home. But does it do enough to keep you coming back?
Presented in a cartoon style not too dissimilar to Street Fighter HD, Sky Scrappers is a simplistic 2D brawler where you fight whilst attempting to scale demolished buildings crumbling down before your very eyes. You win by either reaching the top of the falling building before other players, or by defeating all your opponents. The controls are reduced to movement from the analog stick, with one button for jump and another for attacking. This simplistic approach makes it perfect for split joy-con local multiplayer, but doesn’t mean that no skill is involved.
The action can be finessed with a series of different moves involving timing your jumps and attacks. Ground pounds, bouncing off objects, ricocheting debris & special moves all come together to build a surprisingly deep and satisfying game. While initially feeling shallow, more time spent with the game will reveal further intricacies that only serve to add to the fun. Before you know it jumping between falling platforms becomes an art form, with each beam being effected by your weight on it, then the angle the platform is at will influence how high you jump off of it.
Whilst the action certainly has hidden depths, more can’t be said about the content on offer in the title however. Single player has a simple campaign to work through, but with only 4 characters to choose from and limited levels it all becomes very repetitive fast. There’s no different modes here or challenges, simply the same type of game on loop with slight changes in location and your enemies, who themselves don’t seem to have any difference beyond cosmetic. There’s some fun dialogue between the characters through this, and I appreciate the work that’s been put in to try and create a world with these characters, but when playing in solo this game quickly lost my interest.
Now if you pick up your switch and give a controller to a friend things change quite a bit, the game’s simple to learn controls and raucous game play make it a blast to demolish your mates, the ability to play in TATE mode also works perfectly with the title as you are ascending tall vertical buildings whilst you smash the life out of each other. But once again, the lack of variety quickly becomes an issue. There’s nothing to do beyond basic matches, and once these are played out there’s no massive reason to come back. Also when more than two characters are involved the ability to actually see or differentiate your characters goes out the window, whether playing in handheld or docked. The characters are not only tiny, but the colour pallet means they don’t stand out enough from the rest of the debris and falling platforms that you are also trying to pay attention to.
Altogether, Sky Scrappers is a fun little title that certainly scratches that brawler itch in a satisfying way for a few games down the pub with your friends, but just don’t expect to be coming back to it much beyond that. The title’s art and world are certainly charming, and I hope a sequel can expand upon this and make a much more deep and rewarding game, but this title, whilst a blast for a few rounds, will fairly quickly be a bit too repetitive to enjoy for some.