Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit review
Hell No! Wrath of Sloppy Game Design
What drives me insane isn't a bad game, but one that squanders its potential with multitudes of poor decisions and a lack of a clear direction. Shadows Of The Damned is a fine example of such, but don't even think for five seconds that that's the only game that suffocates itself underneath the weight of what it could've been, because today's subject, Hell Yeah, is another game that does the same thing. It has all the bells and whistles of a classic in the making, but instead of going full blast, it's simply content with being mediocre and boring to play through. Too many simple mistakes drag this game down, and they really shouldn't, because past all of them does lie a good game. Sadly, I guess it wasn't meant to be.
The premise of this game is that Ash, the rabbit Prince of Hell, is in his bathtub with a rubber ducky. Somebody snaps a picture of this and it circulates all over the internet, which sends Ash in a frenzy of bloodlust. To quench his thirst, he sets out to kill the 100 monsters that have seen this picture so that he no longer looks weak. Okay, I can get into this, so long as the writers do something interesting with it. However, unless your idea of interesting is trying way WAY too hard to be funny, I doubt you'll find anything with any substance. Seriously, what the *bleep* is this shit? It's like I've taken a trip down le Reddit - my brain hurts so much from the failed attempts at being funny that I've found myself watching Dane Cook's standup routine to wash out the bad taste! Games like this are why I've come to hate ironic and self deprecating humor. There needs to be a good balance of irony, self deprecation and other styles of humor, because whenever somebody or something abuses irony and self deprecation, it stops being funny and sounds more like a cry for help, but it's delivered in such a way that it's like somebody who is obviously a hermit but denies it at every opportunity in a crazy, sarcastic manner. Yes, I've heard this joke before on 4chan before every blindly optimistic human being on Reddit started abusing the everloving crap out of it, and yes, I've heard this joke on Twitter a million times - DO SOMETHING WITH IT THAT HAS SOME SEMBLANCE OF CREATIVITY, WIT OR ANYTHING THAT CONTRIBUTES POSITIVELY TO THE GAME OR AXE IT FROM THE GAME! I'm amazed this game didn't go the Big Bang Theory route and have 6 hour long laugh tracks after every "joke", that's how ridiculously unfunny it all is!
Thankfully, Hell Yeah does have a nice look to it. I'd never think that hell was so colorful until playing this game - then again, Dante's Inferno did provide a fantastic image of it (too bad it wasn't a good game either), but Hell Yeah provides each location with vibrant colors, ranging from soft to harsh, depending on what's more forward in the background or wherever in hell you may be. The animations are smooth and actually quite wacky, looking very (for lack of a better term) animated. In fact, the best way to describe the graphics is that it's very over the top in design, not only in the animations but also the death sequences. There's just so much that it's just crazy with so much going on, like having lots and lots of blood splatter everywhere for instance. They do get creative every now and again but overall, it's ballistic, like a child on the ultimate sugar rush ingesting some LSD and cocaine - and I understand that drug analogies are uncreative, but I believe that that's a great way to describe how these visuals came to mind.
The sound design isn't quite as offbeat as the visuals, but it still has its place. If nothing else, it's got eclecticism going for it - ranging from rock to electronic and even sweeping epic symphonics, it at least provides some decent ambience for each situation. Nothing ultimately special beyond the variety of the music, however, as not a single song is memorable in any sense of the word, tending to stick more into the background than sticking out as its own thing. I'd say that it's a shame but having listened to the songs, they're nothing to write home about anyway as they evoke little to no emotion and, try as they might, there isn't a section where I'd go "ooh this sounds good". The sound effects fall into a similar category - while they may sound wacky, they don't do much if anything to actually enhance the experience and thus seem to relegate towards the background.
The idea of Hell Yeah is to go through big levels to dispatch of a set of monsters that have seen the photos. You'll go through them by running, jumping and sometimes drilling through them with a saw you'll find in the first level, and when facing off against the denizens of hell, you'll either buzzsaw your way through them, or shoot them with various weapons (ranging from missile launchers to machine guns, flamethrowers and even a holy water pistol). Certain monsters require certain methods, as some will be immune to certain guns while others may hurt you if you attempt to cut them up, and that's just for the easier ones as later ones may require brain power via cryptic puzzles and using subtle hints found via pulling the camera back in order to even get to them, let alone killing them. Then once you've done enough damage to them, you can initiate a mini game where you must quickly do what it says on screen, like mashing a button or pressing a button at the right time(s).
I'm willing to assume you're wondering where everything goes wrong? Good, let's start with all of the simple mistakes that it makes, like not being able to inflict damage if your target is off screen! Seriously, we're going by the "if I can't see it, it's not illegal" rule hoon drivers use to justify running red lights in a video game released in 20-*bleep*ing-12? Hold on there, Copernicus - soon enough, we'll be adding in a debug mode and sound testing options within the year 2016! This wouldn't be such a problem if the game didn't require you to pull back the camera in order to get a better view of monsters that require such better views! Oh, and you got to love how some of them will abuse this - "hey guys, I'm going to chuck a bunch of projectiles through walls and the player can't do anything about it because I'm off screen and they can't shoot through walls, haw haw!" You want to know the worst part? Beneath the surface lay easy bosses. There's a term reserved for this - I believe it's called artificial difficulty!
It extends onto the levels. Yes, they are big and have a few branching paths to justify their size. Yes, there are a few things in them that aren't monsters like shops (where you can buy weapons, weapon and health upgrades and a lot of aesthetic upgrades) where you can spend whatever money you find from killing enemies. But beyond that, there's nary a segment where I found myself going "gee this was cool". Part of that would go towards the designs as they started to feel more generic despite the later ones having more pits and spike traps that kill you instantly, but most of it comes down to the controls. Good god, what bad controls these are! Moving along the ground isn't so bad, although your saw does tend to roll a bit like you're on ice (oh... did I mention your saw is like a tyre you ride, only it's a buzzsaw in appearance? I didn't? Now you know), but then comes verticality. When it's just Ash himself, movement is floaty, but inside his saw, good luck getting the hang of how floaty that is. If floatiness is an easy challenge to overcome, then try to overcome the fact that the saw obeys its own laws of physics as it will stick on walls and propel itself everywhere except up that platform you really want up on! Intricate platforming becomes a nightmare as you'll find yourself really needing to get used to these ass backwards controls in order to jump across one instakill spike trap, and while I'm normally for the idea of infrequent checkpoints, when death is a result of the game being unfair, you'd be praying that the checkpoints were closer to one another. That, my friends, is a sure sign of artificial difficulty - the want for there to be more frequent checkpoints when in theory, they're finely paced.
Story: Whilst inoffensive on its own terms, its attempts at humor make me want to go on a shooting frenzy. 1/5
Graphics: There are plenty of out there designs and lots of things going on. It actually looks pretty good. 5/5
Sound: It's... almost like listening to nothing. 2/5
Gameplay: While it has some creative ideas and a solid foundation, the execution is far, far too sloppy, resulting in frustration. 2/10
You may have enjoyed the demo - so did I, and the want for more is why I bought the game in the first place! Sadly, the demo offers up the most fun bits, as the game grows to become more and more tiresome as it progresses, offering only more artificial challenge in the later levels, all of which are a complete bore to explore. Above all else, it fails to be funny, and it fails to be fun. It becomes a frustrating mess of having to overcome sloppy controls and cheap difficulty. That is, if you haven't switched off the game due to its poor sense of humor and its abundantly worse sense of timing. The major con with digital distribution, or with most digital distributers really... is that you can't get a refund.
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- Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit launch trailer is side-scrolling insanity 1
- E3 2012 hands-on: Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is insane in the best possible way 1