Skautfold: Usurper [Switch] Review – Engaging and Eerily Eldritch

Our Skautfold: Usurper review covers what we thought about the combat, character-building system, and overall Lovecraftian themes.

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Skautfold: Usurper is yet another entry in the Skautfold series created by Steve Gal. Usurper was initially released on Steam in February 2018, but now it’s out on console.

Skautfold: Usurper is the direct sequel to Shrouded in Sanity, and it’s your job to defeat the horrifying monsters that threaten the peace of London. You play as Saragat, a resurrected knight who has been tasked to enter the Citadel, making an unlikely alliance between himself and the mysterious being named Waltham.

The Eldritch-laced Skautfold: Usurper might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I certainly think it might surprise a few who aren’t fans of the genre with its detailed upgrade system and very unique aesthetics.

The Combat – Hit or Miss?

image of a screenshot of combat from skautfold: usurper, the main character saragat is engaging in battle against a giant monster while striking them with his sword, they are stood on a wooden platform, as the stone structure around them is covered in vines and leaves, there is a long staircase leading downward to the side, there is also a large rock wall with blue crystals embedded in the background

Lovecraftian monsters await you as you fight to save London, one year after the events of Skautfold: Shrouded in Sanity. In terms of combat, it’s pretty fluid and satisfying. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it initially, until I started to unlock better weapons.

Once I obtained the Black Scythe though I started to feel very differently about the combat. I was impressed with the 4 weapon slots that are available, as they allowed me to weave different types of attacks during a battle. With a simple tap of the D-pad, you can swap weapons depending on the enemy and situation you’re facing.

Additionally, the battle system focuses heavily on the “Guard” skill. You’ll notice that the bar for “Guard” will decrease pretty quickly when rolling or using a weapon. The Guard skill grants you the ability to charge, but it relies on timing your moves as accurately as possible. Some enemies are stronger than others, with many utilising melee or ranged attacks.

Character Growth – A Detailed Investment

image of a screenshot from skautfold: usurper, of the main character, saragat the knight sitting upon a throne while resting his head on his hand with his legs crossed, he is situated inside of a large stone structure, with a giant blue crystal to the side and candles lit on the walls

Metroidvania ARPGs require a fairly decent upgrade system for the player. There are 8 stats in total to level, and with an abundance of skills and weapons to unlock, the world is your oyster when it comes to personalised character builds.

The Map – Massively Overwhelming… in a Good Way

image of a screenshot from skautfold: usurper, the main character saragat is crouching and sliding under a large stone staircase that is being propped up by wooden poles, there is dust behind him that has been blown into the air because of his sliding motion

My love for indie games grows with each new release, and I was blown away by how expansive the map is in Skautfold: Usurper. You’re greeted with a ton of areas to explore when zooming out on the map screen. Another neat feature is the key at the bottom of the map, explaining what the icons mean.

Red diamonds reveal the location of a leader/relic. Relics provide you with special abilities, such as the “Waltham’s Elder Knowledge” – this relic translates enemy names into English. The yellow squares represent where you can find a Throne, which is where you can relax a little and upgrade your build.

For someone who is new to the Skautfold series I found the tutorial stones to be a nice touch. Especially since the game can seem quite overwhelming when you first load it up. It took me a while to get used to the default controls so I admittedly quickly searched in-game to see if there was an option for keybinding.

To my delight, there was. I’m a big fan of games that offer the versatility of rebinding the controls. Not only is this useful for those of us with severe muscle memory of controls from other video games on consoles, but it’s also a brilliant accessibility feature.

Final Thoughts

In short, I recommend Skautfold: Usurper to those who enjoy Metroidvanias. While the game is 2D the environments really come to life with moody lighting and terrifying creatures that lurk in the shadows – it puts many 3D titles to shame in terms of worldbuilding.

Ultimately if you’re a fan of Lovecraftian and Eldritch horror this game is definitely worth a try. While there are a lot of games that take inspiration from Lovecraft, Skautfold: Usurper does it right and manages to provide a challenging yet enjoyable experience.

The good

  • Lovecraftian themes with Eldritch horros
  • Immersive character growth
  • Wide potential for character builds
  • Fun combat that improves as you progress through the game

The bad

  • Can be overwhelming for new players
  • Slow start
70 out of 100

Staff Writer
With experience writing for GameRant and in SEO copywriting, Adele loves to combine her adoration for gaming and writing. She'll talk your ear off about Final Fantasy, and if she's not typing away at her desk, she's probably playing a JRPG somewhere.