Skorecery: A Unique Yet Uninspired Indy Title

Developed by Grapplehook Games, Skorecery has the dubious moniker of being considered a hybrid genre title. Not fully a fantasy arcade piece, and yet not truly a direct combat experience, Grapplehook Games pieced together an interesting work multiplayer mayhem that at times is fun but mostly awkward gaming experience. Everything about this title, from its awkward controls to its lack of story is puzzling when one considers the lengths its developer goes to in presenting the fantasy-inspired backdrops present in every level. This is not necessarily a bad game, by far it has a lot going for it. But its banal and run of the mill player versus player mayhem becomes immediately boring after a few playthroughs.

With just two main characters to choose from, a male necromancer and a female mystic, players realize the shortcomings of this indy game right from the outset. Odd considering that four players can engage in magical duels at the same time and yet the only thing that separates the two gender-based classes are an array of color patterns. Such is lack of imagination inherent in this title that two players can choose the mystic character class with only differentiating colors proving the difference in their choice. Both classes play and move almost exactly the same, with the vanity of their appearance being their only determining factor. Such structural design choices made by Grapplehook Games are puzzling and in the end greatly affected the enjoyability of this title.

The Gameplay

Essentially, Skorecery is a p v p on-screen fighter with fantasy puzzle elements. Players must use magical projectile orbs to destroy each other’s runes in a timed match with the one scoring the most points winning the match. During battles, players can utilize the mystic or the necromancer’s spellcasting abilities to increase the velocity of their orb’s projectile and thus scoring multipliers that increase the points you can accumulate to win the match. For example, when playing in exhibition mode, the mystic can erect a charge blast that speeds up the velocity of his magical orb which in turn can stun his opponent and strike against multitude targets. Such multiplicity of points achieved is one of the most enticing gameplay mechanics of Skorecery and is the highlight of the game. Projectiles move in a Pong-like manner, meaning that the orbs bounce all over the screen like a racket ball which can become quite difficult to control during local coop mode. Each level is ensconced in a fantasy setting, ranging from a lush green forest to a mountain Castle. Once the battle ends, players can utilize the multi-directional verticality of their character class meaning that with the simple touch of the triangle button your Necromancer or Mystic can flip upside down on ceilings. This is definitely an innovative choice by the game’s designers and something that raised the bar slightly on this mediocre work. 

Features

Although the premise is simple, destroy each other’s runes using a multidirectional magical orb, the execution by far is not. The extreme shifts in projectiles, the different planes your character can shift to, and the overall mania of the multiplayer local coop are great touches by far. But where the game lacks the most is in its core gameplay mechanics. There are only a handful of gameplay types to choose from, ranging from an annoyingly rudimentary tutorial to an uninspired one-off exhibition mode. The twin stick aiming system is also frustratingly difficult to control in 2D, as aiming at opposing player’s orbs can be made even more frustrating when trying to latch onto one sphere with the left thumbstick while aiming it with the right. Twin stick design works perfectly in vertical shooters, but in a p v p battle mania style of a game such as Skorecery, it comes across as clumsy and unnecessary. 

The Cons Greatly Outway the Pros

As a game that relies so heavily on targetting combatants runes, its execution is frustratingly subpar. It would have been much easier to utilize a simple single analog thumbstick to aim and one of the action buttons to commit character combat rather than implementing a nonsensical twin-stick action design. This is by far the biggest let down of Skorecery and is by far much worse than just the banal gameplay. Nothing about this product is exceptional nor is the doggest controls anything to rave about. Even the character choices are painstakingly mediocre. The Mystic and the Necromancer are very similar in their abilities. Either choice will not affect the replayability of this game since their appearance is really the only differentiating factor. Their magic and skill sets are identical which renders their selection inconsequential in the end. This a big let down for anyone who enjoys the fantasy setting and all that it pertains in grandiosity. Here, the characters are anything but grandiose nor are they particularly well animated. For the player, the joy that comes from this work is in its background and unabashed simplicity. A lack of imagination in a setting that should be full of vivacious tropes is truly the problem at heart with Skorecery, and anyone is looking for an intricate multiplayer battle royale would do well to look elsewhere. 

The Verdict

Regardless of where your tastes lay, Skorecery is not worth your time nor your hard earned cash to download. Not that this an abysmal gaming experience, in fact, it has its moments. But the key essential ingredients that make up the simplistic game design and replayability inherent to most Indy titles is absent here. Unfortunately, this absence is greatly felt throughout the entirety of the gameplay. The only factor that makes this work somewhat salvable is the spell casting and score leveling that forces you to delve headfirst into the carnage of the multidirectional mayhem. The music is merely background noise while trying to compete with the explosive carnage of charge spells, and is greatly overrun by the special effects of the combat. It seems as if its designers misstook mindless mayhem for intridcate game design with this title. In the end, Skorecery is nothing short of mediocrity, with a lack of innovation and variation its greatest offense. 

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About Anthony Frisina 58 Articles
Anthony Frisina is a graduate of the City University of New York-Brooklyn College with a BA in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. After finishing his undergraduate degree, Anthony went on to attend Brooklyn College's Film Academy and Writer's workshop program, achieving an interdisciplinary degree in Screenwriting and Film theory in the Fine Arts. Transforming his love for classic American cinema, Anthony went on to adapt a number of his own works into different mediums, including his well-received Western novel The Regulator. Anthony likes to spend his free time writing articles for magazines and periodicals that cover a wide range of topics, from science fiction to popular culture. As a screenwriter, Anthony has had his screenplays featured at numerous spec script writing competitions across the country where he one day hopes to write the next great American film.

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