Hellmut: The Badass from Hell (PC) Review

By Wes Maulsby 20.04.2018

Review for Hellmut: The Badass from Hell on PC

Hellmut: The Badass from Hell is the first game from Volcanicc Studio out of Slovakia. It is bullet-hell, rogue-like in the vein of such games as Enter the Gungeon or Binding of Isaac, except that the main appeal this time around is not in the variety of weapons you will acquire, but the bodies occupied. Seeking a way to live forever, a mad scientist conjures some demons who swiftly betray him, destroying his lab and leaving him as nothing more than a skull with its brain and a bit of dangling spine. Fortunately, for the intrepid madman, another demon shows sympathy and gives him the means to both recover his work and eliminate those who wronged him.

In an environment rich with competitors, it is important for any rogue-like to be able to have that one key feature to hook the audience. For Hellmut: The Badass from Hell that hook is its body swapping feature. Like many rogue-likes, the journey begins in a randomly-generated level packed with enemies, secrets and, ultimately, a path forward. These levels are no different, except for a mysterious book. With enough resources, crystals in this case, the book will summon an octopus-like demon friend who will present a challenge: a side level with more enemies and a running clock - both of which must be overcome. Doing so will reward you with another body to control; the game's greatest asset.

Before beginning a run, the player is given the option to choose from one of two bodies. While in the game, they are able to switch between controlling just the floating skull, or this shiny new monster body. Upon completing a level challenge, that body roster increases, which is where things begin to shine. Counting boss engagements, there are 12 levels to beat before completing a successful run, and gathering as many bodies as possible is going to be your ticket to success. Accumulating as many bodies as possible is the first step in a successful run; finding ways to balance their use, maximise their various abilities, and keep each them alive, is the second. The most exciting points will involve storming into rooms and slaying demons, while rotating from body to body as the situation changes and as your need to survive increases. All of this culminates in a final showdown with the main demon who spurned your initial goal. Victory will permanently unlock a body to be selected from the outset of a run.

Screenshot for Hellmut: The Badass from Hell on PC

Alongside the motley crew of bodies, there are some guns scattered throughout the levels, which give another layer to the combat. These additions are fine, but they are nowhere near as interesting as the body swapping. While there are definitely weapons that are worth using, making use of the different creatures and monsters at your disposal is far more satisfying. Ploughing into a group of enemies with a Frankenstein's monster-esque beast, and then swapping to a king of rats - the Rat King, whose gun shoots out smaller rats - to thin the herd, before finishing the job with a flamethrower-wielding skeleton, is a lot more engaging than swapping between the various gun types included.

Speaking of guns, that is where most will find the first sign of a disappointing lack of polish in some aspects. The characters do not actually hold their weapons, which float in a little circle around instead. This may sound like a small detail, but it is one of several that hurt Hellmut's overall presentation. Compared to some other high end rogue-likes on the market right now, Hellmut has a visual style that is a little rough around the edges. Even when compared to other pixel-art titles, the animations and environmental designs fall slightly short of the mark.

Beyond being an aesthetic issue, this lack of polish or thorough design can result in some runs coming to a premature end, as well. The wide variety of enemies has differing attacks, which is good for challenge diversity. The problem comes when those attacks don't always look like attacks. Some projectiles are a pinkish-purple, while some are green, and some are a mixture of reds and yellows, and others still can blend into the environment itself. When those attacks are overlapping, it forces the player to identify what each projectile is and manage them accordingly. The worst case comes when a green enemy can shoot a green projectile, which can blend in with your green projectile if playing as the aforementioned Rat King. With the same colour being used for so much, quickly processing the information and identifying the dangerous parts can cause moments of hesitation. In a fast-paced, bullet-hell-style, twin-stick-shooter, moments of hesitation send you back to the main menu.

Screenshot for Hellmut: The Badass from Hell on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

When taking on an army of demons, it is a good idea to bring along some backup. That seems to be the general philosophy behind Hellmut: The Badass from Hell, and it isn't too shabby. Controlling a swath of monsters, machines, demons, and other oddities to dive headfirst into a frantic fight and deftly swapping bodies to overcome the challenge is a very solid and fun core mechanic. A few rough edges and unclear enemy attacks throw some bumps in the road, but it is still an enjoyable journey through the underworld nonetheless.

Developer

Volcanicc

Publisher

Grindstone

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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