Itch.io hosts a plethora of games for the Summer of Shivers for PS1. There Swings A Skull is a poetic game among them. It looks like a haunted Legend of Zelda game from the days of 2D. It plays more like The Drowning Machine, Nearly Dead or Smalls Island Woes. All of these games are made for Windows and are free to play. Although, technically as an amateur entry, the game art is well done and the narrative is strong.
There Swings A Skull is a free game based on a PSA theme. Anatoli, the protagonist, travels across the city of Pareildas. The city and the people in it turn into ashes as he strolls across the hot world. You can follow the creator Quinn K on Twitter to stay up to date with his projects.
All is ash
This 2D adventure has a maze-like city that Anatoli has to traverse. Finally, he returns home to his husband Pyotr. The storyline is poetic and makes ample reference to the apocalypse tormenting everyone. Frequent references to ash, burning flesh and a growing sun harp on the underlying idea that something is wrong.
The ZIP file must be extracted before the game can be played. There are 827 files to extract, so some users may find it takes longer than other games. Once extracted, the application begins working immediately. If it doesn’t open right away, you can access it in the extracted folder. Scroll down to the application file with the character icon. It will be labelled as ‘RPG_RT’ rather than There Swings A Skull.
The game opens with a poetic recitation and a blackened skeleton swinging. Then, the screen cuts to Anatoli watching a woman smoke a cigarette outside his window. For an opening, it’s intriguing when the woman all of a sudden turns to ash.
Players will find the journey compelling and the learning curve to play through to be easy. The map is also simple to navigate and the keys are intuitive. Even so, it can be a bit difficult to progress the story.
The retro feel of There Swings A Skull combines with a modern theme and story. As a result, it deserves the praise it has received. For a free game made with RPG Maker, it has a lot to offer.
Players who like interactive stories will prefer this game to a complicated action-adventure game that requires players to jump or run. To follow the story, players need to read the prompts and look for clues.