Hell Warders (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 13.04.2020

Review for Hell Warders on PlayStation 4

When the underworld sends their hordes, they are not sending their best. For too long, the demons that raze the land have been invading kingdoms. They're sending monsters with a lot of problems, and they are bringing their problems to the people. The border has to be closed, and it is up to the Hell Warders to secure the line that divides the good people of the kingdom, from the insatiable, satanic forces. This is Hell Warders, reviewed on the PlayStation 4.

Hell Warders has the novel concept of combining tower-defence with third-person action. For a moment this would seem like an innovative idea, and for the first few hours it does feel fresh and exciting to play. Being a cool-looking knight, adorned with pointy armour, is always appealing, and the ability to place units in real time adds a great sense of power. It all seems like things are going according to the designer's wishes… until it all begins to unravel, and the reality of this genre mixing takes shape.

First impressions suggest that Hell Warders is a low budget indie product that may, or may not be using Dark Souls assets. In some angles, some heavies appear to be using Havel's shield. Looking past this, the playability is functional and is extremely limited - seemingly by design. A lot of actions have a substantial cool-down, making the combat not have the kind of flow one might expect from a third-person hack 'n' slash. Even basic quick attacks come with long wind-ups, and have no cancelling.

Screenshot for Hell Warders on PlayStation 4

Special abilities are unfortunately designed MMO style. Large and useful attacks that sweep large areas, and do the most damage are agonizingly tied to a cool-down timer. This is a mistake since a stamina meter makes so much more sense for something like this. This would mean players would have to make a conscious choice to go all out with the best moves but use up all stamina. Having no stamina would leave them vulnerable, and would require a strategic retreat as the stamina gradually returns. Having a system like this would be so much more useful, especially in the later missions where the difficulty spike is outrageous.

Despite the hang-ups of the combat mechanics in Hell Warders, it is not a straight forward melee kind of game. This is a tower-defence experience first and foremost. Trying to maintain the border at the gates of hell as one guy in armour is not going to prevent devils from migrating in. This is where the real meat of the deal is: the building phase.

Screenshot for Hell Warders on PlayStation 4

Running around the battlefield and having to physically get to a location to lie down a wall of snipers is novel idea. Instead of just being a cursor, the user is also a participant in the battle. Advancing unlocks a greater variety of units to use and stat boosting artefacts for the hero characters. Using blue orbs as expenditure from downed foes is how the game limits how many units can be placed on the field. This would have been a graceful solution to maintaining balance if it weren't for the fact the enemy's stats and volume will outclass anything most users will have.

Much like the overall presentation of Hell Warders, the balancing is haphazard. This is seemingly designed around having the absolute best gear possible to make hold the line, and even then, people are expected to play perfectly. It is easy to hit a wall as no matter how effective soldiers and other assorted medieval weapons are placed - it is inevitable to very slowly run out of resources to keep fighting the waves of demons. So much time will be wasted and the entire skirmish would have to be redone because of outdated equipment.

Screenshot for Hell Warders on PlayStation 4

If it weren't for its utterly unfair scaling, Hell Warders would have been a highly amusing and compelling experiment. It is ugly, and has some animations that are questionable, but it does capture the imagination. This is a game of possibilities, if only the developers had a bigger budget, and more rigorous play testing. As it stands now, it is a very rough proof of concept that could be salvaged as a guilty pleasure with several balance patches and refinements.

Hell Warders also has an online multiplayer component, which is unsurprisingly dead, as road kill on a the side of the road in the summer. There is nobody playing, which is a shame because it is clear the developers put a lot of effort into the online play features and options. The biggest missed opportunity is the regretful lack of local co-op or 1-vs-1 of any kind. This could have been a really interesting split-screen experience. Once again, a feature that used to be the bread and butter of video games has become a relic of the past.

Screenshot for Hell Warders on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Hell Warders won't even be remembered as the sloppy low-budget experiment that it is. It won't be remembered at all. It is much too rough to meet the standards of average gamers, and not weird enough to be interesting. It certainly is a huge hassle to play for more than four hours, but those first few moments before the balancing gets out of hand are actually enjoyable.

Developer

Antigravity

Publisher

PQube

Genre

Strategy

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

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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