Italian iPhone development house KF Lab is soon to release their stylized run-and-jump title A Skeleton Story, that we first spotted back in October, for the iPhone. The developer long ago posted a lavish cinematic trailer , and has just posted a bit of gameplay footage to give readers a taste of what's to come from this title that's based on a "Burtonesque noir fairy tale" comic of the same name. We've also had a chance to spend a little time with a pre-release build they were kind enough to provide.

A great wind blows from the land of memory, bringing omens and old sensations. The Kingdom of the Dead, where everything seems bound to eternal rest, is troubled by some obscure presence, an intruder…something alive! A loving kitten’s going to make this world up-side-down!

Will Musil, the skeleton detective, is at his desk in his office…he’s deep in a restless sleep, hovering between his dream and the memories of his past life, still unaware of what lies ahead…

A Skeleton Story is a platformer of sorts, highly reminiscent of Canabalt -- but at closer range and with a bit more graphical character. A number of additional gameplay elements are present, as well.

Your overall goal in the game is to send skeleton detective Will Musil leaping from rooftop to rooftop in an effort to retrieve a fleeing, black kitten. Along the way there are coins, boxes to collect, as well as oncoming villains that can be shot or leapt over (if you're quick). Letters that spell out "W-I-L-L" can be collected, as well, granting temporary invisibility when the word is complete.

There are an infinite number of levels in the game, and each time you manage to retrieve the cat, you will be taken to Henry's Pub where various character attribute enhancements can be purchased with accumulated money: increased ammo capacity, more lethal attacks, higher jumps, run faster, and more. But, if you tarry and don't manage to catch the kitten before it flees offscreen, it's one life gone, for you.

Making it from rooftop to rooftop isn't necessarily a simple matter. As the game progresses, more and more roofs are of different heights, and some houses can't take Will's weight and begin to collapse upon contact, Canabalt-style.

The game features a lively spy-capers sort of soundtrack and utilizes an onscreen stick and buttons for negotiating the endless series of rooftops that lay in wait. OpenFeint integration tracks online scores and achievements along the way.

The final version of the game should be arriving in the next few weeks.

  • MrMuesli

    Coins to collect, enemies to shoot, cats to catch, roofs to traverse, bonus', a mysterious story line, fantastic artwork, simple controls and great mechanics....and A PUB! What more could you want...sold: )

  • MrMuesli

    Coins to collect, enemies to shoot, cats to catch, roofs to traverse, bonus', a mysterious story line, fantastic artwork, simple controls and great mechanics....and A PUB! What more could you want...sold: )

  • K Mellars

    Whoa there, this looks mind bendingly repetative,hope theres more to it than run,jump and shoot.

  • K Mellars

    Whoa there, this looks mind bendingly repetative,hope theres more to it than run,jump and shoot.

  • Mintey

    Sound just like oven break.
    How lame.

  • Mintey

    Sound just like oven break.
    How lame.

  • Coffinfeeder

    Wow... This new info is highly disappointing. So much development time and effort towards this?!? From the original trailer I was expecting a great story and solid platformer.. not this rubbish.

    • Cameron

      I agree. The trailer and title implied that it would be something unique, with a cool story. Or at the very least, a Metroidvania style game. Not this.

  • Coffinfeeder

    Wow... This new info is highly disappointing. So much development time and effort towards this?!? From the original trailer I was expecting a great story and solid platformer.. not this rubbish.

    • Cameron

      I agree. The trailer and title implied that it would be something unique, with a cool story. Or at the very least, a Metroidvania style game. Not this.

  • pappakenoo

    Sorry but this looks horrible.

  • pappakenoo

    Sorry but this looks horrible.

  • David

    wow the trailer was brilliant, but this just looks shitty. lame. they better sell the game trailer.

  • David

    wow the trailer was brilliant, but this just looks shitty. lame. they better sell the game trailer.

  • Alex.B

    It does not look horrible it just looks like Canabalt I believe that's the name with better graphics and a few changes. I agree that the trailer made it look like it would be very interesting.

  • Alex.B

    It does not look horrible it just looks like Canabalt I believe that's the name with better graphics and a few changes. I agree that the trailer made it look like it would be very interesting.

  • cranker

    Anyone tried this on the ipad ?

    • sammysin

      It's not out yet.

  • cranker

    Anyone tried this on the ipad ?

    • sammysin

      It's not out yet.

  • http://www.kflab.com Antonio (KF lab)

    Thank you for the compliments and for the bad critics i really appreciate them all. Just to clear your vision about this: the trailer is there to let you guys understand the story behind this game and not to show the gameplay itself. Look the difference between the Angry Birds video trailer and the gameplay: both different but brilliant at all!

    The top games in the app store are really "simple" games that has improved with the developers effort and thanks to the users suggestions. As we already tell we have some great plans for this project and this is only the first episode :)

    • MrMuesli

      Hi. Congrats. It looks great: ) Will the story unfold during the game with a series of short videos the likes of which we have seen already?

      • http://www.kflab.com Antonio (KF lab)

        Thank you for your compliment!

        There aren't other videos during the gameplay even because it is big to include them all. Anyway you can unlock the wallpapers in the extra section reaching the highscores. The images are from the original first episode of comic; of course there are OpenFeint achievements too ;)

  • http://www.kflab.com Antonio (KF lab)

    Thank you for the compliments and for the bad critics i really appreciate them all. Just to clear your vision about this: the trailer is there to let you guys understand the story behind this game and not to show the gameplay itself. Look the difference between the Angry Birds video trailer and the gameplay: both different but brilliant at all!

    The top games in the app store are really "simple" games that has improved with the developers effort and thanks to the users suggestions. As we already tell we have some great plans for this project and this is only the first episode :)

    • MrMuesli

      Hi. Congrats. It looks great: ) Will the story unfold during the game with a series of short videos the likes of which we have seen already?

      • http://www.kflab.com Antonio (KF lab)

        Thank you for your compliment!

        There aren't other videos during the gameplay even because it is big to include them all. Anyway you can unlock the wallpapers in the extra section reaching the highscores. The images are from the original first episode of comic; of course there are OpenFeint achievements too ;)

  • Wim Lauryssen

    Graphically it looks more than okay and I love the art style.
    The gameplay itself however looks pretty boring. Maybe I was expecting too much and a lite version might help me change my mind, but I don't think I'd buy this based on the gameplay shown in that video.

  • Wim Lauryssen

    Graphically it looks more than okay and I love the art style.
    The gameplay itself however looks pretty boring. Maybe I was expecting too much and a lite version might help me change my mind, but I don't think I'd buy this based on the gameplay shown in that video.

  • sammysin

    Bunch of miserable farts. The game is dripping with style and charm. I'm really looking forward to it.

  • sammysin

    Bunch of miserable farts. The game is dripping with style and charm. I'm really looking forward to it.

  • Advancedcaveman

    I hate to be so negative, but this is really disappointing. There are more than enough of these high score based games where you run past a bunch of repeating backgrounds and repeat a basic mechanic ad nauseum.

    The app store needs more games with discrete level designs where there's a great deal of variety and pacing. The art in Skeleton Story is great, and I am not one of these people who's always banging the "graphics don't matter drum," but the fact of the matter is that style isn't everything.

    Maybe this is just one level and there will be a great deal of variety in the actual game, but I don't know if I can maintain interest in yet another scrolling high score game. It just seems like these characters should be used in something more interesting and substantial.

  • Advancedcaveman

    I hate to be so negative, but this is really disappointing. There are more than enough of these high score based games where you run past a bunch of repeating backgrounds and repeat a basic mechanic ad nauseum.

    The app store needs more games with discrete level designs where there's a great deal of variety and pacing. The art in Skeleton Story is great, and I am not one of these people who's always banging the "graphics don't matter drum," but the fact of the matter is that style isn't everything.

    Maybe this is just one level and there will be a great deal of variety in the actual game, but I don't know if I can maintain interest in yet another scrolling high score game. It just seems like these characters should be used in something more interesting and substantial.

  • starmonkey101

    was looking forward to this. too bad it looks more than boring. whatevs.

  • starmonkey101

    was looking forward to this. too bad it looks more than boring. whatevs.

  • Mark

    I would pay 99 cents for this but nothing more.

    • JasonT

      Same here.

  • Mark

    I would pay 99 cents for this but nothing more.

    • JasonT

      Same here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/drawingdaily Steven Kraan

    Looking at the trailer some time back, I was actually hoping it would be a point-and-click adventure. Such a shame that such a beautiful clip leads to an mediocre, repetative shoot and jump platformer. With these characters I think a much better game could have been made. There is nothing wrong with a 'simple' game (like classics such as doodlejump and drop7), but there is simple and there is simpleness aka dullness.

    • MrMuesli

      And what about the classic, Canabalt? Seems to me that you can't go wrong with a game that employs the same game play as that and adds its own twist and extra bit and bobs. Or was Canabalt dull for you? If so, there are apparently a load of people out there who think otherwise. Point-and-click would have been nice, yes, but why totally pan a game because the genre of choice doesn't tickle your fancy. If it was a Doodle Jump inspired game would that make it all better? I wholeheartedly agree with Sammysin's comment above.

      • http://www.facebook.com/drawingdaily Steven Kraan

        Canabalt wasn't dull at all (really liked it) and A Skeleton Story would not be a better game if it was more like Doodlejump.

        But you have to agree that after seeing the trailer and the great characterdesign, it is a letdown that not more is done with its potential. Maybe my expectations were to big. So, I'm not attacking an genre, just the fact that 'this is merely it'.

        It is kinda like Da Vinci showing you his almost finished Mona Lisa. And then to find out that instead of a painting, he changed it into a tacky t-shirt saying: what are you smiling about.

        To me, this game feels like a missed opportunity, that's all.

      • MrMuesli

        Yes, the video did definitely give us all hope for something with more depth, I'll give you that. The idea of people traveling to the Louvre to stare at a framed Mona Lisa t-shirt did make me chuckle; ) I guess my reaction was a general one to all the people commenting here with some fairly point blank 'it's crap' comments, which clearly is not the case. Maybe the hopeful success of this project will ensure something more along the lines of what people were expecting in the future. In the meantime, I'm really looking forward to this little gem: )

    • http://www.kflab.com Antonio (KF lab)

      MrMuesli caught it! You can't tell that is a bad game only because the gameplay is not what you expected. Probably you will play it and you will love it, trying to reach the top of the leaderboards, unlock the achievements and have fun with it. Play it and then you can tell us ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/drawingdaily Steven Kraan

    Looking at the trailer some time back, I was actually hoping it would be a point-and-click adventure. Such a shame that such a beautiful clip leads to an mediocre, repetative shoot and jump platformer. With these characters I think a much better game could have been made. There is nothing wrong with a 'simple' game (like classics such as doodlejump and drop7), but there is simple and there is simpleness aka dullness.

    • MrMuesli

      And what about the classic, Canabalt? Seems to me that you can't go wrong with a game that employs the same game play as that and adds its own twist and extra bit and bobs. Or was Canabalt dull for you? If so, there are apparently a load of people out there who think otherwise. Point-and-click would have been nice, yes, but why totally pan a game because the genre of choice doesn't tickle your fancy. If it was a Doodle Jump inspired game would that make it all better? I wholeheartedly agree with Sammysin's comment above.

      • http://www.facebook.com/drawingdaily Steven Kraan

        Canabalt wasn't dull at all (really liked it) and A Skeleton Story would not be a better game if it was more like Doodlejump.

        But you have to agree that after seeing the trailer and the great characterdesign, it is a letdown that not more is done with its potential. Maybe my expectations were to big. So, I'm not attacking an genre, just the fact that 'this is merely it'.

        It is kinda like Da Vinci showing you his almost finished Mona Lisa. And then to find out that instead of a painting, he changed it into a tacky t-shirt saying: what are you smiling about.

        To me, this game feels like a missed opportunity, that's all.

      • MrMuesli

        Yes, the video did definitely give us all hope for something with more depth, I'll give you that. The idea of people traveling to the Louvre to stare at a framed Mona Lisa t-shirt did make me chuckle; ) I guess my reaction was a general one to all the people commenting here with some fairly point blank 'it's crap' comments, which clearly is not the case. Maybe the hopeful success of this project will ensure something more along the lines of what people were expecting in the future. In the meantime, I'm really looking forward to this little gem: )

    • http://www.kflab.com Antonio (KF lab)

      MrMuesli caught it! You can't tell that is a bad game only because the gameplay is not what you expected. Probably you will play it and you will love it, trying to reach the top of the leaderboards, unlock the achievements and have fun with it. Play it and then you can tell us ;)

  • Josh

    I agree with sammysin. This game is brilliant as it is and it has everything you want from a 99cent game. Looking forward to buy it!

  • Josh

    I agree with sammysin. This game is brilliant as it is and it has everything you want from a 99cent game. Looking forward to buy it!

  • Ino

    Reading things like "the top games in the app store are simple games" and "look at angry birds and canabalt (and how much they are selling") makes me hope this game will flop hard :) but not because I don't like it: just because I hope that this way we'll convince KF Lab that sometimes it's better to risk and create something more unique, than just follow the trail of the winners :)

    Obviously I know that KF Lab are right, and this is probably a good idea to sell more. Maybe it's just that I don't think a game should be created just to sell more.

    Skeleton Story is the story of Will, of the Lady, and one of the best Italian comics I read in the last years.

    This COULD have been much more just following the story of the comic. It is not. We'll see if it will be good, but the feeling of "game created with a focus group in mind" remains.

    Also, the gameplay in the trailer looks stiff, and not fluid like the classics it's modeled after.
    As I said before, it looks like a 16 bit movie tie in, so there's much more you could improve even following the route of the simple casual game.

  • Ino

    Reading things like "the top games in the app store are simple games" and "look at angry birds and canabalt (and how much they are selling") makes me hope this game will flop hard :) but not because I don't like it: just because I hope that this way we'll convince KF Lab that sometimes it's better to risk and create something more unique, than just follow the trail of the winners :)

    Obviously I know that KF Lab are right, and this is probably a good idea to sell more. Maybe it's just that I don't think a game should be created just to sell more.

    Skeleton Story is the story of Will, of the Lady, and one of the best Italian comics I read in the last years.

    This COULD have been much more just following the story of the comic. It is not. We'll see if it will be good, but the feeling of "game created with a focus group in mind" remains.

    Also, the gameplay in the trailer looks stiff, and not fluid like the classics it's modeled after.
    As I said before, it looks like a 16 bit movie tie in, so there's much more you could improve even following the route of the simple casual game.

  • http://www.kflab.com Antonio (KF lab)

    @Ino We are not trying to create a game to sell more. We're trying to create a game that likes to a lot of people. It is completely different because its not about money but it's about reaching the most part of the people. This explain the gameplay.

    Another thing: hoping that this game will flop it's like not giving us the chance to do more or to do "your adventure-game". In this way you're not helping us.
    Thanks for commenting.

    A Skeleton Story... is the story of Will who try to catch the cat before the villains and you can see this in the first episode of the comic.

    • Ino

      @ KF Lab: the flop part was obviously a joke, and I put two smiles in it to make it clearer. Sorry if I didn't convey it in the right way.

      BTW I don't want an "adventure game" for me. I'm not the target audience for this game and I came to understand that.

      Now I just hope the game will be good and enough to make the Skeleton Story franchise more popular - what I see from the trailer is a platformer with stiff jumping and questionable collisions against enemies, but I'm waiting for the final game to judge.

  • http://www.kflab.com Antonio (KF lab)

    @Ino We are not trying to create a game to sell more. We're trying to create a game that likes to a lot of people. It is completely different because its not about money but it's about reaching the most part of the people. This explain the gameplay.

    Another thing: hoping that this game will flop it's like not giving us the chance to do more or to do "your adventure-game". In this way you're not helping us.
    Thanks for commenting.

    A Skeleton Story... is the story of Will who try to catch the cat before the villains and you can see this in the first episode of the comic.

    • Ino

      @ KF Lab: the flop part was obviously a joke, and I put two smiles in it to make it clearer. Sorry if I didn't convey it in the right way.

      BTW I don't want an "adventure game" for me. I'm not the target audience for this game and I came to understand that.

      Now I just hope the game will be good and enough to make the Skeleton Story franchise more popular - what I see from the trailer is a platformer with stiff jumping and questionable collisions against enemies, but I'm waiting for the final game to judge.

  • P0tent1al

    I personally hope it is a big success so the team will consider expanding the franchise into other genres ;)

    I am one of the people who was very excited by the teaser trailer and was disappointed to see the game was a side scroller.

    Whilst Canbalt was a big success, I find side scrollers to be of limited appeal as they can get quite repetitive due to limited mechanics.

    But in any case... Good luck with the release. :)

  • P0tent1al

    I personally hope it is a big success so the team will consider expanding the franchise into other genres ;)

    I am one of the people who was very excited by the teaser trailer and was disappointed to see the game was a side scroller.

    Whilst Canbalt was a big success, I find side scrollers to be of limited appeal as they can get quite repetitive due to limited mechanics.

    But in any case... Good luck with the release. :)

  • Wim Lauryssen

    In Canabalt's defense, the game was all about minimalism. There was nothing about Canabalt that didn't scream minimalism. That wasn't the case with this game.

  • Wim Lauryssen

    In Canabalt's defense, the game was all about minimalism. There was nothing about Canabalt that didn't scream minimalism. That wasn't the case with this game.

  • mr_touch

    Good game, looks great!

  • mr_touch

    Good game, looks great!

  • Sorenson

    It seems that there are opposite opinions about it.
    It looks like promising to me and I am one of the person who will surely buy it!
    GJ!

  • Sorenson

    It seems that there are opposite opinions about it.
    It looks like promising to me and I am one of the person who will surely buy it!
    GJ!

  • ToysR

    Love the art! I would love to see it in action on my iPhone 4.

  • ToysR

    Love the art! I would love to see it in action on my iPhone 4.