[Review] Hellmut: The Badass from Hell – Nintendo Switch

Written by Schwetty
  • Developer: 2tainment
  • Publisher: 2tainment
  • Release Date: 03/05/2019
  • Price: $29.99 / £26.99
  • Review code provided by: 2tainment

Don’t Dance With The Devil

If history has taught us anything, it’s that making a deal with the devil is probably not a good idea. Many horror and science fiction movies, novels and stories deal with this subject and most of the time, it doesn’t end well for the summoner. Therefore, when an unexpecting doctor summons a legion of demons to grant him immortality, things go according to plan. Just kidding. The demons reduce him to nothing but a brain stem and a skull and leave him. But at least he is immortal right?

In ‘Hellmut: The Badass From Hell’, you take control of this poor soul that was left without a body to try and exact revenge from the demons that left you incomplete. The catch, you made a secondary deal with Ka-Ra, an inter-dimensional being that gives you access to different mutated forms that you may possess. Armed with these new powers, you must take the fight to Hell in randomly generated levels until you get a chance to face Beezlebub toe-to-toe.

The Hounds of Hell

Gameplay in Hellmut is half shoot-em-up and half rouge-like with a dash of insanity thrown in for good measure. This insanity portion comes down to how hard this game can be. I feel that it took me about six to seven restarts before I actually made any progress. Yet, once I figured out that you can gain different “mutations” by finishing level challenges, it made the game less difficult. ‘Mutations’ are basically a form of ‘classes’ or ‘characters’ for this game. Each mutation has its own standard gun with its own strengths and weaknesses. They also feature a unique sub-weapon, and these tend to be more powerful but have a cooldown period. A favorite of mine was the Hellspawn. This mutation featured a shotgun like spread shot and an effective sentry sub-weapon. Along the journey, you will also find other weapons and temporary stat upgrades. This was a downfall for me. I love rouge-likes with a permanent upgrade system that carries over between playthroughs and Hellmut didn’t have this.

Not to say that Hellmut didn’t have any type of rewards, as more mutations became unlocked upon completion of the game. Normally mutations are unlocked during the playthrough by completing challenge levels, but these disappear when you see the game over screen. Right before you go into the final boss stage you are given a choice of which mutation will be unlocked, if you are victorious.

Hellmut features a decent amount of content at the end of the day. You have the main game, which features 8 main levels and 4 boss levels. Boss variance is also randomized, with the exception of the final boss. There is a tournament mode as well for local competition. This mode keeps the same layout of the run so you can pass the controller to your friend and see who can beat this specific run, or at least do the best. There is a gauntlet style horde mode which throws you and your mutation against waves of enemies. I really enjoy these modes, and this was a nice distraction. I must take more time to talk about my favorite mode of the game, which was found in the shop; Hell Invaders. This is just a mini game used to gain more currency, but I found myself playing this just to try and get a better high score. Hats off to the developers, as I would probably buy this game separately. Hell Invaders is basically a space invaders clone, but it just feels so good to play it. I believe I reached the 32nd wave on my highest playthrough and would like to see how high this game goes.

A Hellish View

When first playing this game, the sprite work didn’t stand out to me. It just seemed like another game with retro styled pixel art. I did enjoy how bright and vibrant the character models looked and how they did stand out from the background, making sure you wouldn’t lose your character in the process. But as I played more, I noticed just how varied the enemies were and how many different sprites were created. There are a lot of monster varieties and that really impressed me. I found myself jumping headfirst into battle thinking I knew this enemy, only to find major differences in the way they fight and smaller details in their pixel art which would later remind me that this monster is special and deadly.

The music of Hellmut tends to be lost in the sound of gunfire and explosions. The bits of music I heard during gameplay didn’t stand out, but I would recognize a few tunes after a while. This is not a dig at the music, as it is actually quite enjoyable, especially the “oldschool” remixes. This game is full of frequent enemy encounters and the gun shots sound great, the explosions sound great, and the sound of the gore emanating from the legions of hell sound great. They can overpower the music. Which is something that can be adjusted in the options menu, which later helped me to realize just how good this music can be.

Hell in a Handbasket

I spent most of my time playing Hellmut docked. I assumed that playing this game on handheld would be too chaotic. Boy was I wrong. This game shines on the handheld and is another reason why I love having the duality of the Switch. I felt like it was much easier to handle the insanity between the large amounts of enemies and projectiles on screen at the same time. Long story short, this game shines on both handheld and docked mode, so it becomes more of a matter of opinion on which way you play.

Final Thoughts

Hellmut: TBAFH took its time sinking its teeth into me. I was not sold on it for the first hour. However, I began to understand it’s systems and it’s quirks. After several hours, I found myself really enjoying the onslaught of hellions and also shouting in anger when one of my mutations was killed and I was left as just a floating brain. These highs and lows are perfect for the rogue-like genre, and I am much happier sticking with it.

Pros

  • Hell Invaders – Mini Game
  • Tons of Unique Sprites
  • Solid Gameplay

Cons

  • No Soft Upgrade System
  • Difficulty Spikes
  • Music Gets Lost in Action

Verdict

Hellmut is a game that didn’t hook me at first, but slowly drew me in with it’s satisfying gameplay and striking sprite work.

3.5/5

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