By: Jeff Cater
SkyScrappers is a unique take on the brawl genre from brand new studio, Ground Shatter. In it you’ll select a warrior and commence to brawl with your opponent while trying to scale a crumbling tower. Sounds pretty damn intense, right? Well, unfortunately, the slippery mechanics serve to undermine the entire experience.
For starters, the graphics are pretty ho-hum. Characters are drawn well — and they all kind of look like characters from any retro SNK or Capcom fighter — but they have severely limited animation sets, which largely take away from any visual engagement that they may have attempted.
You’ll dodge falling debris across a few stages, though that debris you’ll be avoiding throughout also isn’t animated very well — like flaming chunks of rocks (???) and flipping boards. Attack animations, though, are where things really go off the rails and actually serve more as an obstacle than a potential benefit.
Your goal is a simple one: drain your opponent’s life bar. There are two ways to go about it. The first path you can take is to try your damndest to clamber as quickly up the tower as you can, as making them fall off screen will cause damage.
If that’s not floating your boat, the second way to inflict damage is with physical attacks, but as mentioned above, it feels simply too clumsy due to the animation frames — in fact, they actually serve more as an obstacle than a benefit as none of the attacks carry any momentum and you will freeze in the air while performing one. That, and the combat system is barely explained, so you might as well just jump straight up the tower and avoid the falling debris.
Games can be contested with up to three friends locally (there’s no online component) or against the A.I., which can be brutal. Matches generally last about two minutes, sometimes a tad more if everyone is a survival-parkour expert, so it’s easy to get on to the next match. Sometimes matches only last about 15 seconds as the AI maps out an insane path to the tippy-top and leaves you just wrecked.
Even if you’re looking for a unique and fun brawler to play with your buddies, SkyScrappers just can’t get out of its own way. There’s definitely a cool concept at the genesis of the game, but the execution is so sloppy that it almost hurts to play.