What with Halloween upon us, and Pirates Week bringing up the rear, it seems only apt this week to cover an app that revolves around skulls. The “Skullduggery!” app has been getting lots of great reviews, awards and kudos since it hit the App Store, probably because there’s nothing that gamers like better than being able to shoot some flying skulls across the landscape, gathering gold coins as they go.
Ever since Angry Birds came upon the scene, the thrill of sending projectiles at just the right angle to knock other objects about has become a very popular modus operandi, and Skullduggery! fills that desire in spades.
From the first moment that you whizz that fleshless noggin on its journey, you’ll find yourself as hooked as I was. Let the skullduggery begin!
How it works
The premise is quite simple, but the many twists, turns, objects and powers you can collect are extremely varied, and get more complicated as you go along. It all starts off with your skull. All you have to do is grab the back of it and pull, which reveals a stretchy brain that acts like an elastic band. Once you release it, the skull flies forward, picking up everything in its path. You will almost immediately see gold coins that you’ll want to gather as you go. You are also set tasks to complete, including the “Primary Objectives” of collecting a particular number of coins and some “assets,” as well as a group of “Secondary Objectives,” that can include everything from bouncing off a certain number of springs, to devouring so many brains. The Secondary Objectives will change as you make your way through the levels, only because more items and enemies will be thrown into your path for you to conquer.
From time to time a blackboard will appear, explaining what new and interesting objects can do for you, and how you can adjust your moves to get your skull into awkward angles. There are brick walls, wooden block walls, and pipes all over the place. Throw your skull into a pipe, and it will go careening through the bends and elbows until it comes out the other side.
You’ll also come across springs that will bounce you around, and skeletal hands that will grab you and hold you fast until you stretch the brain out and are on the move once again. The latter doesn’t sound very pleasant, but those hands become a godsend when you’re having to move along a ceiling or similar. They stop you from frantically swiping at your skull while it’s in mid-air to keep it on its present trajectory.
Speaking of trajectories, one very nice feature of this app is that it allows you to see where your angle will take you. It marks out precisely where your skull will go, depending on when you launch it. This is invaluable when trying to get to tricky shelves, or avoiding skeletons with baseball bats that would do you harm.
In the top right-hand corner of your screen you’ll see the running count of the coins you’ve collected thus far, what assets you’ve managed to accumulate, how many brains (lives) you’ve got, and a clock that just keeps ticking away. As some of your Secondary Objectives revolve around accomplishing a certain amount in a time frame, if you need to go and grab a snack, run to the toilet, or just scratch your nose, tap on the double-bone box in the top left-hand corner to pause the game. Don’t hit “Restart” by mistake, or you’ll be back where you started, which could be brutal or a blessing, depending on how you’ve fared thus far.
Something that all of you will appreciate when you download this app is that there are no in-app purchases; you get what you pay for. There are no gold coins or extra brains to buy; you just pay for the app and that’s it. No skullduggery as far as being forced to spend more money is concerned.
When I played it
It didn’t take me too long to get into the swing of things with this app. I did very well picking up my initial coins, but was sending my skull flying into walls for a while. I also found myself stuck in what appeared to be dead end situations, but always managed to eventually find a way out.
By the time I’d got to the end of the first level, I’d acquired all the assets it had requested, and more than enough gold coins. I didn’t complete my Secondary Objectives, but hey-ho, nobody’s perfect.
As I entered the second level, it warned me that things would be getting more difficult, and immediately thrust me into a world of extra pipes, trickier areas to navigate, and skeletons with bats, determined to permanently halt my progress.
I got completely nogginized once, but the app just took me back to my previous position with a full set of brains available once again. Ahhhh…how nice to not have to pay for extra lives, or wait an hour for them to reset.
I’m still playing the game.
The accolades this app is receiving are well deserved. It’s colorful and fun, with lots of features and ever-increasing difficulty to keep you interested. Even if you find yourself bashing your skull against the wall from time to time (ha-ha), you’ll definitely enjoy Skullduggery!
Great design. No in-app purchases. Challenges aplenty.
You’ll become addicted.
- Cost: $4.99
- Seller: ClutchPlay Games
- Devices: iOS and Android
- Rating: E10+ (everyone 10 and older)