ReviewsReview: Hellbreachers

Review: Hellbreachers

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There is nothing worse than your kingdom being attacked by unruly creatures. They steal all your gold, worry your people, and ruin your day. The only way to repel these hellish beasts is to call upon your friends. They are 3 heroes who can send these loathsome beasts packing. Hellbreachers captures all this emotion, drama and more in its story.

Developed by OMEGACORE and Ratalaika Games and published by Eastasiasoft Limited. This single-player adventure title is a platformer at heart, but contains elements of action and adventure and some RPG-lite moments. An old-school game at its core, it has taken a modern aesthetic to make it accessible to a younger audience while retaining its retro charm.

Do you fancy taking on a purple Demon?

Hellbreachers has some depth.

Hellbreachers oozes character from its classic storyline, hero selection and variety of landscapes. You will be expected to slay 10 hardcore bosses while travelling through each of their worlds. En route you must collect the stolen loot, open chests and decimate any monsters you find.

Each of the 10 worlds is a short-lived experience, especially if you ignore your foes and loot and run to the exit. If, however, you wish to play the game as intended, you will receive a score based on how much gold you have collected. It kindly advises you if you missed any, so you can return to improve your tally if you so wish.

There is no complexity in how it plays, and the difficulty is pretty low as well. It’s simply a 2D side-scrolling platform title which uses established mechanics. Jumping and double jumping must be used to leap chasms and make it to the end goal.

With 2 difficulty settings to choose between, you’d think that perhaps the developers were being kind, enabling you to learn the fundamentals before increasing the challenge. I tried both, and both played in a similar fashion. It was odd, but I shrugged it off and continued collecting treasure and killing monsters.

Fight fire with…. well, a sword!

The gameplay is so, so. But the RPG-lite element brings it to life.

The 3 heroes comprise: a knight, mage and assassin. Each has strengths and weaknesses, and none is better than the other. You will choose the one that best suits your play style and then you may alter them further. 10 speciality modifiers are available per hero. These allow you to improve; ranged attacks, melee, speed, jumping and so forth. Choosing the right option for you will change a hero from being good to a superhuman fighting machine.

These minor changes help to pep up what is otherwise a very safe affair. It looks very nice, has cheery music, some interesting level designs and challenging bosses. But it never feels like it takes off. That is until you adjust the character’s style to match your approach. Each time you do this, it alters how the game plays and helps to keep the action fresh.

Hellbreachers went mad with the colour.

When I look back at early console gaming, I’m always amazed by the use of bright and bold colours. Hellbreachers takes a leaf out of this book as it uses every colour under the sun. With 10 unique landscapes to create, the developers did a wonderful job of treating us to some interesting level designs. Vibrant tones and a cartoon style ensure that each looks interesting and different. It won’t amaze you with how it appears, but it lives up to its promise of a modern take on an old-school genre.

I never understand why developers think it’s a good idea to play music on a loop. Using the same song repeatedly until you get sick of hearing it. Sadly, this is exactly what happens in every world you visit. Each has its own song, but you are forced to hear it until you defeat the stage boss. It’s a shame as it taints what is otherwise a well thought out presentation that modernises a classic genre. To break up this monotony you are treated to some wonderful early era sound effects. These will bring back fond memories for older gamers, and younger players will appreciate them for how they sound in this setting.

One in the eye!

Classic mechanics are easy to handle.

Whenever a game relies on much-loved mechanics, you know that it’ll be easy to play. Yet, to ensure you know what you are doing, a tutorial is given to explain the basics. You won’t struggle with picking this up, you’ll be held back by the slightly clunky nature of the controls. Odd hit boxes mean you miss monsters stood beside you. It’s a little weird, but you get used to it pretty quickly.

Boasting about having 50 levels to try and many character mods leaves a game open for ridicule. But Hellbreachers is right to be cocky about their content. The mods add plenty of depth, and each of the worlds appears unique. If you love platform games, then this will have enough about it to draw you back in. If achievements are your thing, then this will be up your street as the 100% status is earned in under an hour.

Is Hellbreachers the modern platformer that everyone wants?

Hellbreachers won’t be the first title on everyone’s list, but it should make it to your library. On the surface, it feels repetitive and lacking content. Yet when you look deeper, you’ll find elements that add meat to the bone and this was a pleasant surprise. Because of its straightforward approach, it’s a game you can enjoy casually, and I recommend you buy it here! Banish your foes, collect the loot and travel to hell and back.

SUMMARY

Hellbreachers is a modern take on a classic genre. Control 3 heroes on a journey to hell and back. Leap chasms, collect gold, defeat monsters and bosses and modify your character. It's a small game packed with surprises.

+ Vibrant graphics.
+ Easy to control.
+ An achievement hunters dream.
- Repetitive audio.
- Odd hit boxes.
- Levels can be rushed through.

(Reviewed on Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I've now found a new home to write my reviews, and get my opinion out to the masses. Still the lead admin for Xboxseriesfans on Facebook and Instagram. I love the gaming world, and writing about it. I can be contacted at [email protected] for gaming reviews.

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