Nostalgic games have been all the rage recently, looking to cash in on the fond memories of aging gamers such as myself. Hell Yeah! seems to be another step in that direction, taking the platformers of the old days, sprucing it up with fancy HD graphics and infusing a little modern humor rooted in the very games it is meant to mimic. Will this one platform it’s way into your hearts or is it one jump sequence away from being forgotten?
30 Second Review
(+) Great humor, enjoyable game
(-) NSFW language at times which is an odd fit to the game
(-) Repetitive gameplay/mechanics
Hell Yeah ! – Wrath of the Dead Rabbit sees you stepping into the shoes….er…..bones of Ash, the skeletal rabbit prince of hell. Apparently Ash has a thing for rubber duckies and it just doesn’t bode well for hell’s ruler when pictures of him in the bathtub surface on the internet with his favorite rubber duckie. One can understand how that might undermine his high position of authority. So with a lot of platforming, a sprinkle of minigames and a hefty dose of sarcastic humor, our hero sets out to find out who posted those nefarious pictures online and how he can stop the damage already done by them. I almost wonder if making a sorority girl the main character was a little too obvious and/or risque? (I KID!).
As we’ve said, Hell Yeah! is a platformer at heart, in the style of the popular “Metroidvania” type games. Taking control of Ash, you are granted a saw-blade jetpack that propels you too far heights and damages your enemies. As you progress, you will find different guns-machine guns, missile launchers, etc.-that can be aimed with the right analog stick and fired with the trigger. Your quest puts you in search of larger enemies that, when defeated, trigger a minigame of some variety. Failing drains your health and replenishes a little of theirs, while winning destroys them in a variety of cutscene eviscerations. Many of these minigames and cutscene death animations have a very nostalgic, Wario-Ware feel to them–solve a simplistic Quick Time Event and watch Space Invaders destroy your foe. Our hero can drill through barriers, but not all barriers are able to be hacked through at the game’s onset, part of a one-two-punch barrier system that also requires defeating a set number of monsters before progressing through doorways. Upgrades can be purchased with in-game currency, found at rare spots on the game’s map, including weapon upgrades and skins for Ash and his saw-blade. There are 10 ares for you to progress too, and the overhead map certainly has that “Metroidvania” feel to it, as you try and plot where to go next. Ash’s dialogue is dripping with sarcasm and the minigames range from dropping a quarter into an arcade machine to playing an Ocarina/Guitar Hero style riff. The laughs come fast and furious, and the humor pokes fun at pop culture in general, not just the platforming genre. All told, there are 10 varied environments for Prince Ash to navigate before he can redeem himself, even one that hearkens back to Asteroids-style gameplay in space!
I was surprised with how much I enjoyed Hell Yeah! It took what many games have done before, aped it in a clever way, and created something new. The reason it just didn’t score higher for me was the lack of variety. The environments did vary, but sometimes very slightly. The boss defeating minigames did start to repeat after a while, and even with the cartoon blood exploding on screen, the language was the one determining factor in my decision not to play this game with the kiddies. Still, the gameplay was creative, the humor was fun and the game mechanics were very unique at the start. I really think that if Arkedo had tapped that clever blend of sarcasm and nostalgia just a little bit more for some more varied gameplay and environments, they could have had a runaway hit. I would also have loved to see that humor brought into different weapons, game mechanics to open new areas and even in some extra achievements. All told, a roughly 10 hour campaign and lots of unlockables is a fair trade for $14.99! If you loved those 90’s platformers, and you are looking for a fun revisit with some clever new twists, give Hell Yeah! a try!