Hellpoint – Review
Follow Genre: RPG, ARPG, Soulslike
Developer: Cradle Games
Publisher: Tiny Build Studios
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Tested on: PS4

Hellpoint – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: The game takes all the best parts of Dark Souls, and adds fresh twists to make it feel like its own great game
Bad: The game can get really buggy at points
User Score
10.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Since the arrival of Dark Souls, game developers have been itching to implement the mechanics that players have latched on to. A lot of games seem to miss the point, or only really understand the surface details when it comes to these titles, but Hellpoint isn’t that game. Hellpoint is the next in a long line of what players refer to as ‘soulsborne’ games. These games resemble Dark Souls or Bloodborne in gameplay, from how the combat is handled, to how the player engages in that combat and the exploration of the world. Like a true souls-like experience, you’ll be trying your best to navigate yourself through this somewhat dark setting.

Story

There’s no grand single-player cinematic experience for you to find in Hellpoint. There is, however, a general direction for you to follow and a world to uncover with its own problems and highlights. You play as Spawn, a newborn who’s immune to the affliction that harmed the Irid Novo, a space station near a black hole where, everything that could go wrong, is going wrong because of “the Merge”. As you progress you will find so-called mind cubes, which you can listen to, to learn more about the story. Some of these can get awfully involved with the lore surrounding black holes and cosmic gods. Sadly, the larger strokes of the story are pretty predictable, but that didn’t take any satisfaction away from the game. The game also has multiple endings, but also a “true ending” that’s worth taking the time to unlock.

Graphics

The graphics of the game aren’t going to win over any naysayers, but what makes Hellpoint so fantastic is how they’ve made the environment look. Environmental traversal is fantastic and probably the best in the genre. You’ve got interesting puzzles, fantastic aesthetics, shortcuts, platforming sections, items to find in the distance, secrets and more. Seeing every awful thing happening on the Irid Novo is just wonderful, and sometimes it’s beautiful. The UI is also very clean and easy to navigate, especially when you figure out what the top left clock is for. The simplicity of that mechanic and how it’s translated to the UI is just so, so great, but that’ll be a secret worth figuring out on your own. There’s some customization in how you play the game with what weapons and armor you choose, but outside of your name, that’s as far as the customization will take you. You’ll still be referred to as Spawn, also. During your journey, you’ll still feel like the character is your very own though, so that’s nothing to really worry about.

Sound

The sound design of the game is great, really keeping you in the mood for Hellpoint as you explore the cyber industrial labyrinth of the Irid Novo. All weapons feel like they sound about right, with heavy weapons smashing against enemies making you wince at the damage you’ve just caused. There are some ambient tracks as you progress through the game too, but the real stars are the boss battle tracks. The star of the OST would have to be Ozyormy Goija, the Master of Puppets. Both visually and audibly, this fight is crazy, and you really feel like you’re trying to kill something Spawn has absolutely no chance of defeating.

Gameplay

Much like Dark Souls, the gameplay is slow and deliberate, where being cornered almost means certain death instead of a frantic button mash to escape the enemy’s clutches. If you don’t like games such as Dark Souls, Bloodborne, or any other Souls-inspired titles, we can immediately state that this game will not be your cup of tea. Otherwise, Souls veterans will feel right at home and will probably appreciate the couple of ways that Hellpoint tries to differentiate itself.

Hellpoint rewards the player for attacking instead of backing off from a fight, by how it handles magic-based attacks and healing. As you do damage to enemies, your healing and magic items will refill, putting you in intense situations as you inch closer to your victory or death. Some weapons can also be enhanced if you keep using them in combat, allowing for passive stat increases, or on some items, special active abilities. You can also always upgrade your weapons’ base stats with the crafting system. This can be done by combining items you find across the space station, or simply adding them to your weapons for special stats. These augmented weapons can add extra effects, making them even more powerful. The amount of customization you can add to your playstyle this way gives the game a lot of build variety, making replays feel fresher. The game also features local co-op for you and a friend; a mode not often featured in similarly styled ARPGs.

The game does have some performance issues though and some of them are game-breaking. On release, you could go from 20FPS to 60 without any apparent reason for it happening. Luckily, the first big update actually addressed that, but some of the bugs are still lingering. For example, controller inputs suddenly stop working whenever trying to redeem my axioms or certain story elements just not triggering for some reason. A quick reset fixed them, but it’s something to note.

Conclusion

Hellpoint is a game that’s lacking in polish, but boy, does it feel like passion went into almost every aspect of the game. The developers did their best to properly flesh out the world of the game, by adding small details and even making up a special language. That’s just one of the many details that the developers have gone to, so the world feels truly lived in. Hellpoint is being frequently patched to tackle bugs, but if you don’t mind a little bit of gristle, this game is the perfect way to spend your next 20 or so hours.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Hellpoint - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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