High Hell (PC) Review

By Tomas Barry 26.10.2017

Review for High Hell on PC

With Doseone, known for the rather brilliant Enter the Gungeon and Gang Beasts, and Terri Vellmann, responsible for Heavy Bullets, collaborating on this project, indie gamers in the know will have high expectations of High Hell. This indie first-person-shooter, published by Devolver Digital, is exactly the type of quick-burst experience that streamers and speedrunners will flock towards as well. While its art style may be quite bare, with lots of harsh reds and a fair amount of grey in the aesthetic mixer, it still seems fit for purpose. That's because after a few of its ridiculous missions of saving chimps and goats, kicking down Pitchcorp doors and mindlessly picking off the evil companies' henchmen, the player realises it suits the game's sense of attitude and style well enough. There's no real story to extrapolate from High Hell beyond some implied themes of corporate greed and cartels, so it's all about high intensity shooting precision!

That won't stop players from wondering about the plot just a little once they get a glance of the menacing protagonist in a mirror. At least her terrifying looks imply she stands against the presumably seedy underbelly that the baddies prop up with suits, wads of cash, guns and resistance. Of course, it's just a passing thought players might have, as they pause before throwing themselves back into the game's rapid absurdity.

High Hell is abstract by nature, with a very harsh art design that is matched by a similarly hard-edged approach to gameplay. There are twenty missions to push through, and while they start off on a digestible level of difficulty, things quickly escalate to the point where players will be regularly overwhelmed by foes.

Such is their shot accuracy that one will be tempted to kick a door down then cower back around the corner. Whether choosing to inch their way out a safe angle to cope with multiple strategically placed in-waiting enemies, or trying to tempt some of them into seeking you out, it will probably lead to a quick demise.

Screenshot for High Hell on PC

In other words, High Hell doesn't put the emphasis on super intelligent enemies, but rather on the sheer volume of them. Making it through a level is not a question of checking every corner on your way, so the sense of exhilaration is mostly derived from its amped-up sense of risk versus reward - when you finally take the decision to kick a door down, with no other game plan than to not stop blasting.

One imagines that a week or two from now, there'll be some good compilations made out of streamers psyching themselves up, as they stand before a door, getting ready to hit E to smash it down, and hoping to make it this time round. Each level lasts no more than a few minutes, and there are no difficulty modifiers to be found to make any of it any easier. This decision does indicate that High Hell is designed with speedrunners in mind, as well as those inclined towards simple, but technically demanding arcade indie experiences.

This is also illustrated by the lack of pad support, promoting only tactile mouse precision, which looks heaps better in stream compilations! The game's default controls are on the flinch-provoking side, though lowering the high sensitivity inhibits the ability to spin on a whim and to react in time to enemies who have snuck up behind the player. Most foes only take a hit or two, except for some boss fights, and the player, likewise, can only withstand a few shots before hitting the deck. It's testament to the successful blend of FPS and older arcade elements that this makes a compelling challenge that keeps fans coming back for quick thrills.

Screenshot for High Hell on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


It's not going to hold the attention for the average gamer for longer than an evening or a weekend, but considering its budget price, it's a compelling creation. Players with a more specialist interest in speedrunning, and those interested in intense and quite hardcore arcade experiences, will certainly appreciate it. Its rapid pace and intense gameplay gets the adrenaline going, though enemies aren't all that smart, and in terms of level design and objective variance, there's not too much to marvel at. While its aesthetic and style feels distinct and is helped by the pleasingly crunchy blend of music, which further ups the intensity factor, the gameplay itself is a little needlessly repetitive; for example, it's a shame that the end of a level is only ever triggered by killing every enemy. In addition, considering the titles that the developers have made prior to this one, it would be fair to say that High Hell is somewhat disappointingly bare.


Terri Vellmann


Devolver Digital


First Person Shooter



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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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