SkyScrappers is an arcade platform brawler title on PlayStation 4 and PC from Ground Shatter that borrows many elements from other games. You take on the role of one of four fighters and battle atop falling buildings to reach the top or knock out your opponents. However, the combination of gameplay elements feels like a half-hearted attempt at making a quality fighting game. Sometimes emulating the best games of the genre can only take you so far.
There isn’t a lot to explore in SkyScrappers, as the game only offers an Arcade Mode and Multiplayer mode. Arcade Mode takes you on a journey through seven matchups, each mixing up a different number of opponents. Matches can range between one-vs.-one matches to fatal four way brawls. This can be a bit annoying when arcade matches suddenly change in the number of rounds needed to win, rather than staying at a traditional 2 out of 3 falls.
The visual style is a direct nod to arcade fighters of the 90s. Fighting in matches has players ascending falling skyscrapers, with crazy amounts of debris falling down while players fight each other in the sky. This is a neat idea for environmental hazards, but quickly becomes troublesome when you are hit by small pieces of debris you can’t see too well on screen. This is because of the dull colored backgrounds that cause moving elements to blend together on screen, making it seem like you are getting hit by invisible attacks.
The controls for SkyScrappers are on the simple side for a fighting game. The game utilizes a two button layout that bares a lot of resemblance to games like Dive Kick. Fighters can jump and attack to build up a super meter and launch special attacks or high jumps. This is easy enough for anyone to get into fighting pretty quickly, but the depth of the system is shallow at best. Special attacks don’t feel unique to each character, making playing with anyone on the roster feel incredibly homogeneous.
SkyScrappers however suffers from a lot of bugs and poor programing. There are times when basic attacks will connect infrequently, even if you are up close to an opponent. The falling debris, such as flaming rocks or platforms, sometimes cancels out and nullifies damage for attacks and super moves that already connect to an opponent.
The camera itself jolts around way too much while trying to focus on the action, sometimes making it impossible to see what is coming towards you from the top of the screen. These issues are frequent enough even in single bout matches and can even make four player brawls unplayable.
SkyScrappers does it’s best to pay homage to 90s arcade fighters, but ends up being a shallow title compared to the games it gets inspiration from. The character designs are uninteresting and lack any fun or interesting personality to connect with. The Arcade Mode offers an ending cutscene for each fighter, but the payoff is meager and really not worth the trouble playing through seven matches.
You may get some enjoyment from playing SkyScrappers for a few minutes at best, but there isn’t enough here to keep playing for hours. The game just isn’t that good, nor does it offer any reason to do so.
This review was based on a digital copy of SkyScrappers for the PlayStation 4 provided by Ground Shatter.