Overall Score 84%
Skin & Bones
It's not been a good day for Skin, a name which I hope isn't on the poor lad's birth certificate. He's been captured by the Wizard and imprisoned, where he meets a skeleton - the eponymous Bones. Having swapped stories about their remarkably apt names they are then sent out retrieving all the Wizard's gems. If they successfully complete this task, the Wizard will grant them both their heart's desire. Easy for Skin - he just wants to go home. As for Bones... he hasn't decided yet.
And thus two unlikely friends join forces to work together. Your aim is simple - collect all the gems scattered about each level across a series of game worlds. You can control both Skin and Bones, switching between them as required, and both have their own abilities - only Skin can pick up gems and bonuses, but Bones is virtually indestructible and can destroy traps and monsters just by touching them. Skin, however, is faster than Bones and can jump higher - making him able to reach some areas that Bones cannot. The two characters can also stand on top of each other to reach more awkward places.
This is actually a very simple concept, but the dual-character system adds a surprising amount of variation. Often Skin and Bones will be separated and the first task is to reunite them - Skin may need an area cleared of monsters, for instance, while Bones may simply be unable to jump high enough and need Skin to give him a boost. Otherwise this is very simple platformer fare - lots of blocks, lots of jumping, and scrolling in both horizontal and vertical directions.
Controls are keyboard, but there is also joystick support. The left and right arrow keys move the selected character left and right, and there are controls to jump and switch characters. That's about it! The mouse is largely used in the menu screen and there are three slots that allow you to continue from your last position. These can be deleted again if you wish. I'm a little disappointed, however, that you continue with exactly the same score and lives - maybe only one life! - as one can fail the level repeatedly and enter your high score on the table again and again. I'd have preferred a "reset" here to three lives and zero score, perhaps limiting the number of continues.
As for graphics and sound... this is a game that would look very much at home on the NES. Everything is delightfully retro, from the bright and cartoony monsters to the clear blocks to the bleeps and bloops that accompany all the actions. Even the storyline (told as our characters begin new worlds) is delivered in 1980s style. Since this was the era when the platform game was king, the retro motif is particularly appropriate. The background music, which varies on each world, is suitably chirpy and has that feel of going back a few decades, but in this case I'm slightly less convinced - the quality is too high...!
Playability is clearly well thought out. The controls are very simple, though I do have a habit of hitting the wrong key and switching when I mean to jump. That's just me. There are some tricky jumps on occasion, but nothing requires pixel-perfect precision. The ability to continue where you left off allows you to see further in the game than you might otherwise reach and the different worlds vary in style, enemies and obstacles. While I'm not sure this one will last for hours at a time, it's certainly fun for an occasional blast.
Download the demo, give it a try and, if you lived through the eighties, feel at least ten years younger! Oh, and take a look at the documentation, people...
Keywords: skin & bones review, addictive 247 games reviews, addictive 247 games games, skin & bones scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.