Game Reviews


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| Skullduggery!
| Skullduggery!

Platformers don't always work on a touchscreen. Games like Mikey Shorts and League of Evil have made a valiant effort, but a slab of glass is never going to be a replacement for a controller bristling with buttons.

But you know what does work on a smartphone? Angry Birds. And by borrowing Rovio's bird-catapulting gameplay, Skullduggery! is a joy to play

Obviously, there are no agitated avians in this game. Instead, you control a skull. To get around the level you pull its elasticated pink brain out the back, then let go to ping forward.

Brain box

There are helpful hands that grab and anchor you, and you can also pull your brain back in mid-air, with the game entering slow motion so you can line up your shot.

It all works astoundingly well, allowing you to navigate the claustrophobic levels with surprising speed, fluidity, and precision.

So when you're being chased by a giant wall of gnashing gears, it's effortless - though still nail-bitingly tense - to ping from wall to wall, diving through gaps and rocketing into pipes in graceful mid-air jumps.

And if you need to clear a room of roving skeletons, who aim to smash your skull in with a jolly big ruler, you can bounce around the room and get the drop on them without fumbling about for the right fake button.

Head and no shoulders

It's a smart control scheme, and gives you all the tools you need to explore a handful of stages. These levels are well designed with multiple paths and different areas to explore

But while some stages are crazed speed-run thrill rides, others can be a bit drab and uninspiring, with some ideas repeated a few too many times for a relatively short game.

It's also a shame that the game's story - something about the IRS and mafia mob bosses - is mostly absent from the game itself. You'll have to read the built-in manual to know why a skull is bouncing around a school or pyramid.

Glasgow handshake

But that's all part of the decidedly retro edge, which extends to barmy screen-sized boss fights, secret areas, coins, colourful gems, and bonus items that encourage you to revisit old levels.

Skullduggery! is a terrific little game for iOS, with an ingenious control scheme that nicks a mechanic from a casual game and applies it to a tricky, exacting, hardcore platformer.


Skullduggery! has a clever control scheme, some brilliant ideas, and a lot of retro charm
Mark Brown
Mark Brown
Mark Brown spent several years slaving away at the Steel Media furnace, finally serving as editor at large of Pocket Gamer before moving on to doing some sort of youtube thing.