The classic first person shooter has been around forever, now days big titles take it to unbelievable new heights. But sometimes you want to go back to basics and enjoy what the genre started out as. High Hell from Devolver Digital is a retro, arcade style take on the fan favourite genre with some crazy missions and even crazier enemies from the corrupt criminal underground.
You start the game as an employee of PitchCorp who rebels against the company with a plan to bring it down. As you venture through each of the levels killing your heavily armed ex colleagues you rescue chimps and goats, blow up drug labs and burn all their money. If you can make it to the end levels you will find that the Bo$$ is Satan himself and now obviously you’re going to kill him. Beating Satan is a feat in itself and with no tips on how to kill him you’ll die plenty of times before finally triumphing and it will feel good.
The game play is fast paced from both sides, most enemies are a one shot kill but they will kill you first if you’re not quick enough. The arcade levels push for full completion of all objectives but in record time, which can be hard to get the hang of straight away. The first few levels are quite straight forward and easy as the game is still teaching you how to play and lets you get the hang of it first. Each level increases in difficultly adding more enemies to kill and different enemies that throw you off a bit the first time if you don’t know what they do. There is no tutorial for that part, a dog runs at you, you either figure out how to kill it or die in a couple of hits. No consequences if you don’t get it the first time though, you just start the level over and retry the mission again.
The controls were all very intuitive and consistent with other shooter games. The classic W A S D to move around E to interact (or kick down doors instead of opening them normally) and mouse buttons to zoom in and to shoot. If you weren’t familiar with these controls the first couple of levels and the tutorial get you up to speed with what to do. You need good problem solving skills to beat some of the later levels as it won’t give you any clues as to where to go or what to do, but figuring it out is half the fun. You must also have the explore everywhere attitude as behind each door might have something you need to complete that level.
Visuals and Music
The style of the game is a revival of retro game graphics that reminds you of SuperHot or Hotline Miami. The bright colours, blocky textures and characters make for a vibrant whacky adventure. The music really makes such a rampageous scene of destruction seem whimsical and fun. To change the tune between intense levels you can have a relaxing mini game during the loading screens, who needs basketballs when you an throw rag dolls and office chairs in the hoop?
You will already have to replay some levels multiple times to figure out how to beat it and eventually complete the objective, but each attempt will be different. You might get frustrated but you’ll come back because you wanna beat it. You will often also find you missed some side objectives in each level or didn’t burn all the money so completing it once doesn’t mean you can’t do it again to increase your score and get a quicker time. After a few hours though there is only so much you can play the same 20 levels. If more levels were added to further the story of you and your massive gun, I would definitely put some more time into it.
The arcade style levels are a lot of fun while also being the right amount of challenging. Shoot your way to the top, kill your boss and discover the secret at the end (spoiler if you found the dolls throughout the levels). Defeat giant robots, exploding men with clipboards and try to win without killing any of those mind controlled chimps. A fast paced shooter for a bit of fun and nostalgia, if you don’t get frustrated easily of course.
BURN ALL THE MONEY!
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