EA SCOUT the last line of defense for buying on Steam's Early Access
by Amber Hall
previewed on PC
To Hell With Locked Difficulty Options
To Hell With Hell is a bullet hell game that's currently in early access. The setting gives the game a pixel art Doom-like feeling while the rogue-lite elements feel a bit like The Binding of Isaac. Some great looking art and fresh ideas make me think that To Hell With Hell won't be just another rogue-lite dungeon crawler on the vast indie playing field.
Initially, easy mode is the only mode unlocked. I'm glad that there are difficulty options to choose from because they're honestly never a bad thing to add to a game. I'm all for accessibility on different levels of play. However, I was a bit disappointed that you currently have to beat easy mode to unlock the next difficulty up. This means that, if games like these are your forte, you've got to start out slow, and it can be a bit laborious. I would much rather begin on my desired difficulty option and adapt to the game that way. Difficulty options are about just that, having options, and so I never understood why some games asked that the player play through their game multiple times, as if to "prove" that they are "worthy" of a higher difficulty.
Demons and Dastardly Devices
Difficulty options aside, To Hell With Hell has a great learning curve thanks to the amount of variety it has in just about every aspect. There's currently a bunch of different weapon types, enemies with unique patterns, power ups, transformations, and it all comes together to make for a new experience each time you play. Some weapons have a high risk, high reward approach like melee weapons. They do serious damage and can kill lesser enemies in one swing. However, as you might expect, the range on these weapons is small, putting the player up close with enemies and at risk to take a bunch of damage themselves. I really enjoyed toying with each new weapon and changing my play style accordingly.
Each enemy has different attack patterns as well. Some easy ones shoot singular bullets your way, but others fill the room with a huge spread of bullets to dodge. It's very likely that you will find yourself dodging a variety of bullets at once, meaning that, while individual enemy patterns can become predictable, the mix of enemy types in one room becomes quite the challenge. Luckily, there's always new weapons and power ups to be found to give you a quick edge, and after each stage you can take a helpful perk and save your progress. However, each difficulty level only lets you save your game a set amount of times, so use them wisely!
To Hell With Cliché Character Design
Lastly, the art and soundtrack for this game is super fitting. Each level feels unique and highly detailed. The atmospheric lighting really goes a long way in making it feel like you're actually in some fiery hellscape. Moreover, the music is what you might expect it to be. It's filled with some grungy guitar and keeps the pace and atmosphere going strong. My only gripe with the game's art, and perhaps the game in general, is the main character's design. Is there nothing more creative you can think of for your player character than a girl in her underwear? We're not done doing that yet? Regardless, there's a bunch of transformations you can obtain that change her into more interesting character designs, so it's not such a big deal.
One Hell of an Early Access Title
To Hell With Hell is already a fun game to play in early access and I feel certain that the end product will be great. The art style really is beautiful and it's a refreshing take on the dungeon crawler rogue-lite genre. I hope they really ramp up on the variety of weapons and enemies in the future because what they already have in place is a load of fun, but more player options couldn't hurt.
There are no guarantees - but we'd bet our own money on this one. If you're going to take a chance with yours, odds are good this one will deliver.