Nowadays it’s very common to see a lot of Dark Souls similar games coming out. This practically has created a new subgenre of so-called soulslike. Hellpoint is an indie one that hasn’t any worries in hiding that fits in the Dark Souls wannabe category. Fortunately, the game from Cradle Games and tinyBuild took a lot of the stuff that people didn’t like in Dark Souls and improved, leading Hellpoint to anything apart from a mere copy of From Software’s masterpiece. Trust me.
The last soulslike game I can remember that I’ve played was Animus: Harbinger and aw man, that game was really disappointing and frustrating. The trailers got me at the moment I watched them, but instead of giving us an interesting and subjective story that leads players to guess what’s really happening in that world and create a lot of crazy theories around the internet, Animus wrongly chose a too basic mobile arcade approach, where each stage has its own start and ending point. So the player only needs to go after the three star score system while beating some generic guys.
Good thing that Hellpoint’s creators understood perfectly what made Dark Souls so famous and successful: the continuity and world’s entire connection. You start in a place named Irid Novo that looks like a space station and take the role of a human with a robot looking character known as “the creation”.
Differently from Dark Souls, here you aren’t able to customize your character or change any of its appearance and style. After that, Hellpoint tells you some basic tutorials through brilliant hand markers on the walls and intuitive level design, leading the player to the first enemy encounter and fighting moment. Everything is given in small portions to make you advance without being afraid, as well Hellpoint initially feels really easy in terms of battle and movement. However, don’t get it wrong: the game is really challenging even though your moves are really smooth or you’re familiar to soulslike.
Fights feel strategic and fast-paced, with evading moves followed by a light or heavy attack using the right bumper and the shoulder button, avoiding to take damage through the use of rolling mapped on the B button. Also, it’s so good to know that developers decided to put the running command on the LT button, so we need not hold B and accidentally end up laying on the ground. Although, if you get killed, things won’t be so easy. Indeed, you’re going to recover your gear from the dying spot, but there’s a high chance of your exactly ghostly NPC copy being waiting to punch you in the face.
And look at that, you actually can jump here! Finally, we got one of the main lacking points in the From Software’s game. The jump move can be a great friend at critical moments, as you can slay an enemy after a successful combination of jump plus heavy attack, or just give them a lighter hit using the RB.
Instead of a bonfire, we got a dimensional Crack that needs to be activated by touching it and, “surprisingly”, this is where it’s possible to level up the character attributes, as well to warp among portals, and buff or nerf enemies. As you advance in the world, the game offers you a sort of some worktables, where you can craft equipment, disassemble unused items and improve your weapons using custom chips. By the way, do you remember Estus Flasks to replenish the life that can be restored through bonfires? Here you got a kind of high-tech potion to heal your injuries that could be refilled by defeating enemies.
You’re also encouraged to explore the scenario at maximum, because there are a few good items, upgrade points and equipable one’s laying on the ground in some areas. The boss fights are awesome and really rough, so I need to advise you to play along at least with one more person to avoid sequential deaths, just as I did for almost 2 hours before going online. When it comes to online multiplayer, Hellpoint does a pretty decent job by allowing an invitation by typing a 6 digit number, except for the fact it doesn’t enable achievements – on Xbox One – for the client players, restricting it to the host. Well, at least you can store your progress and stats gained by playing someone’s campaign.
Another weak point is when you’re hosting and dies, so everyone that is playing with you is sent to the last Crack even if they have enough health to proceed. Also, I’ve faced some very unpleasant glitches and bad game design decisions. First of all, when your party dies, you can’t revive them just by touching the Cracks, it is mandatory to do it through a partial health self-sacrifice, which can kill you if you don’t get enough amount to do this. The online connection also seems to be very unstable, because a friend got disconnected a lot of times during our game because of this issue.
Finally, there are some points that look untested by the debug team, such as the elevator scene, where you can get killed just by jumping when it’s moving down. Also, I felt very uncomfortable due to the overall unstable performance, constant slowdowns and low fps playing split screen multiplayer. In short, the game urgently needs a corrective patch.
And beware, if your partner gets killed in the elevator, it’ll be stuck in the air until you reach his revival soul. Hellpoint ends up being a very fun game with stunning graphics and above average gameplay mechanics besides world exploration. It stands out from Dark Souls in many aspects, especially when we talk about being something more accessible and less punitive to the general players. It only needs some tweaks, as frame rate improvements and better design decisions in multiplayer online that are pretty annoying, but Hellpoint is already worth it even in the current version.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - 9/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 10/10
Replay Value - 9/10
Hellpoint ends up being a very fun game with stunning graphics and above average gameplay mechanics besides world exploration.
- Awesome and fast-paced gameplay.
- Split screen is a selling point.
- Online multiplayer easily joinable.
- Stunning graphics.
- Less punitive than other competitors.
- Bad frame rate.
- Constant disconnections.
- A lot of glitches.
- Bad design decisions on multiplayer.