Hades (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Eric Ace 19.10.2020

Review for Hades on Nintendo Switch

From the creators of Bastion, Transistor and Pyre comes what is a modified Diablo clone that is far better than Diablo 3 ever was. An unapologetic "Rogue-like", Hades has players controlling Zagreus, the wayward son of Hades, who is driven to escape from the underworld - naturally by fighting and killing everything in his way. Along the way Zagreus slowly gains permanent powers, and the main draw is acquiring various Greek god powers (such as the lightning abilities of Zeus) in their race to the surface.

Long story short, this is masterfully crafted with an intriguing story and a gameplay system that is borderline addictive in all its elements. It is not a mistake how well received it has been thus far. The way Hades slowly introduces new elements is something other developers should seriously consider studying for how well done it is here.

Hades is deceptively simple in its goal: to have the player-controlled Zagreus fight his way through around 40 rooms to escape the titular underworld of Hades. Along the way he will gain various power ups, make choices as to which way to go, and have intense boss fights. More than likely Zagreus will die, be thrown back to the beginning with only a handful of permanent increases and be forced to try again. Often times Rogue-likes can rub gamers the wrong way with overly punishing losses and although Hades is severe, its fun is hard to deny.

Screenshot for Hades on Nintendo Switch

The primary gameplay loop works as follows: you slowly fight your way through a room and at the end has a choice of what reward the next room will contain. These range from money for the current run, god powers (which will be covered shortly), resources to make later runs easier, healing items, and so on. This alone is interesting as it keeps you fighting on, knowing that the next room will contain what you really need.

Combat is fast and evolves quickly. Starting with just a sword, there are three major ways to attack. There is the fast main attack, a strong "special" attack (in the sword's case it's an AoE move), and a ranged move called a "cast", which is essentially a magic attack. The only other thing in Zagreus's arsenal is a short dash to move and dodge with. It sounds deceptively simple and even base combat works well enough, but with god power things get crazy and is the reason it's so enjoyable.

Screenshot for Hades on Nintendo Switch

Each run, Zagreus will run into a handful of random Greek gods. For example, when they run into Zeus they are given the choice of three different power ups. These are varied but usually boost one of your four moves - either attack, special, cast or dash. For Zeus this could be now casting chain lightning, or leaving a lightning bolt behind when you dash. To add to this, each move may have a different "rarity" to it, meaning it could be stronger than it usually is. So, if you really wanted chain lightning but there is also a super rare move to choose from, you are forced to decide between them.

Things get even crazier because each god you encounter has between 15 and 20 moves, many requiring previous "tiers" of spells. Choose Zeus's powers often enough and suddenly each attack will send forth lightning storms that arc between enemies. Now, this does not apply to just Zeus, but every god you encounter, with a similar setup but vastly different move styles such as Poseidon's watery knockback moves and the defensive arsenal of Athena. Even swapping two moves can result in a radically different playthrough, such as trading the extremely good defensive dodge from Athena which allows more reckless attacks for Zeus's dodge which can be used as a weapon itself. Hades would be a good case study in video game addiction; It gently trickles new concepts to the player just when they might get bored. As psychologically damaging as it potentially could be, it is masterfully done strictly from the viewpoint of a fun video game.

Screenshot for Hades on Nintendo Switch

Just about the only major issues here are a few occasional crashes, an intense difficulty curve, and a dated graphics system. First, the portraits of the characters are very stylish, but the graphics look pretty rough in places. It looks not unlike a PS2 or PC entry from ten years ago. Luckily it is not a huge issue but it is present. The difficulty curve is a little annoying - this reviewer hit certain difficulty walls that scaled up far too fast, namely Elysium and the final boss. Though Hades has many reasons to stay invested, dying over and over in the same areas can start to wear thin, especially after it takes an hour to get there. Though they give a "god mode" to make things easier if so desired, it doesn't feel right. Really, if the sense of progression was just a touch faster it would be very hard to find any serious flaws with the experience.

Screenshot for Hades on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Hades is just all around good. From its tremendous voice acting and intriguing story to its fun combat and insanely addicting gameplay loop, there is little wrong here. Graphically it's a little dated and its difficulty wall will be off-putting to many, but these are about the only major issues. Otherwise, the fun of trying "just one more time" mixed with trying to get all the right power ups in a run is a rare entertaining time. Fans of Rogue-likes owe it to themselves to check this out, especially since it is less than half the price of AAA titles.




Supergiant Games


Real Time RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

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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