Down to Hell – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, RPG
Developer: Red Dev Studio S.A.
Publisher: Red Dev Studio S.A., Ultimate Games
Platform: PC, Switch, Mac
Tested on: PC

Down to Hell – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Very nice graphics, Fun gameplay, Different than other Souls-likes
Bad: Steep difficulty curve can scare lesser experienced players
User Score
10.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

In this day and age you probably have noticed rising popularity in difficult games that are inspired by the Dark Souls franchise. Thanks to its popularity, it can sometimes be hard to separate other kinds of genres from just casually calling something hard, a ‘Souls-like’ game. Some completely change the combat aspects like in Immortal Unchained by focusing on gunplay. Others will switch the style from 3D to 2D just like in 3000th Duel. However, while Down to Hell seems to have a lot in common with a Souls game, it does have a nice twist to its gameplay elements.

Story

It all starts in a dark forest, your character, a knight with a large sharp blade is making his way through. Yet, every few moments he is attacked by strange creatures, at first you can handle the amounts, but slowly and surely they overwhelm you. Fatigued from battle, it seems that you will be holding your last breath, until a girl steps in and saves you. She repels the enemies but is captured by a demon. By doing so, you get a second chance to live. After regaining your composure you move deeper into the forest, meeting with an old man that halts you, saying that the girl gave her life for yours and it is your quest to go and save her. You agree that something must be done, but are not happy with the change of events.

Through the game, your backstory is told by a voiced narrator. This ensures that the story is very nicely brought and talks about the whole past of your character. The story flow is near perfect as you get filled in during the calmer moments, and each interaction seems to bring back memories. Sadly due to the hard nature of the game, it could become difficult to finish the story. The story is a proper motivation to keep pressing on, but overcoming the game’s difficulty is not that easy.

Graphics

Describing the graphics of Down to Hell can be best done with the sentence ‘simple but complex’. Essentially you only have a few layers on the screen portraying the characters, the background, the map, and the HUD. Those are the basic parts. Yet, each layer haves so much depth to it that the whole experience leaves a magnificent impression on the player. The forest where you start is dark and gloomy, yet light enough to easily navigate through it. In the dense mist, it is hard to spot traps but if you are careful enough you can easily dodge them. There are a bunch of different enemies, and while most of them look identical, it doesn’t come off as cheap. Blood flies around, giving the player a slight grin when mowing down enemies. Also in more dangerous spots, the game creates this perfect ominous atmosphere that enlarges the discomfort of having to fight a large and powerful boss. Cutscenes are beautifully hand-drawn pieces of artwork that tug all the right strings, making them suitable as a desktop wallpaper when you take a screenshot.

Sound

The first thing that you notice about Down to Hell is the fully narrated story and the voice acting of the narrator is at a very good. Characters themselves are not voiced, however, it would have been really cool to hear each character interact. The absence isn’t something that really influences the gameplay. The soundtrack is just amazing as it is a very intense Hard Rock soundtrack that blasts through your headphones when going into combat with a boss. On calmer occasions there is just an ambient background track playing, indicating safety. The sudden change from calm to hectic amplifies the adrenaline kick once facing a boss.

Gameplay

Down to Hell is an adventure game that borrows inspiration from the Dark Souls series, while not being a straight copy of the original game. It all starts with the main character wandering through the woods, where you are guided by a tutorial that teaches you all the basics. Even though the game itself recommends a controller for the ideal experience, the controls are pretty easy. Nonetheless, when playing with a keyboard, things might be a bit harder or more hectic at first.

Getting to your objective can be quite tedious as there are many obstacles along the way, from large holes, deadly traps that will instantly kill you and a wide range of different hostile monsters. Some of these enemies only fight close-ranged, while others have devastating ranged attacks and there are also those that have a mix of both. Fortunately, our hero has a few tricks up his sleeve as his strong sword will make minced meat out enemies. Fighting up close and personal isn’t always the best plan, luckily our hero can dodge with his diagonal dashes and use magic ranged attacks.

You will need all these moves to overcome the many difficult enemies. Each chapter seems separated by a portal and when entering this portal you are transported to a new place. The end of each chapter has a boss battle. These battles are rather difficult, but not impossible, especially if you’re quick to learn the patterns of your foe. Nonetheless, sometimes they do change up the order of their attacks, making them more than just a pre-programmed grunt.

While Down to Hell has surely been inspired by the Souls-franchise, you don’t have to collect souls or essence to level up. You slay monsters and gain experience to level up your health, magic or stamina. When you die you get reset at the last chapel (checkpoint) or the beginning of the level. Visiting a chapel will not respawn enemies, or heal you, but it will refill your potions so you will have to remember to heal yourself at these spots.

Conclusion

Down to Hell is a nice adventure game that seems to take some inspiration from the Dark Souls series. With its smooth combat, difficult but rewarding gameplay and interesting story, it will keep the player wanting to progress and slay bosses. The soundtrack lets the adrenaline flow and the lovely graphics bring you in the right mood to slay some demons.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Down to Hell – Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
MC_JP
MC_JP


Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

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