Also On: PC
Publisher: Supergiant Games
Developer: Supergiant Games
If you?ve played any of developer Supergiant Games previous titles, you likely have an idea of what to expect when it comes to overall quality. While you might not be a fan of every single release, it?s hard to deny that games like Bastion, Pyre, and Transistor have an undeniable sense of style and polish that even larger development teams don?t always manage to nail. Personally, Supergiant Games hasn?t really let me down yet, and I?m happy to say that their newest release, Hades, is no different. It?s out of its lengthy Early Access cycle and seeing a full release on PC and Nintendo Switch today, and has been a whole lot of fun to play. So provided you can pull yourself away from furiously F5?ing PlayStation 5 pre-order pages, Hades is absolutely worth checking out.
Like other Supergiant Games, you can kind of shoehorn Hades into a particular genre, but with some other unique concepts mixed in. Hades would generally fall under the category of a roguelike, a game meant to be played over and over again, where the player progresses through an increasingly difficult adventure by dying and restarting with new knowledge and retained skills to help them along the way. In Hades, you?ll take control of Zagreus, son of Hades, God of the Underworld. Zagreus goal? Escape the Underworld. In order to do so, you?ll run Zagreus through numerous realms, populated by a variety of mythological monsters and side characters that expand upon the story along the way.
Each failed attempt will land Zagreus back into a sort of hub world to start over. He?ll retain certain items gained from the previous run, mostly various types of currency that can be spent on a variety of things, some of which are cosmetic in nature, others that will enhance later runs through the Underworld. The hub world also serves as a primary area to advance the story. There?s a cast of characters that will appear in different areas to interact with, befriend, and occasionally receive items from. The story elements are handled really well, more so than what you tend to see in most roguelike adventures. Dialogue and the accompanying voiceover work is also excellent, and feels right in line with the level of quality I?ve seen in previous Supergiant Games releases.
While exploring the Underworld, Zagreus will have the opportunity to receive boons from other gods and goddesses he encounters. These serve as Zagreus? primary skills and are presented as three different options to choose from when received. These skills can be upgraded throughout a single run but will be lost when Zagreus dies and restarts. The gods and skills you encounter on each run are random, making each run and skill loadout pretty unique throughout.
The gameplay is presented from an isometric view and is action-focused. Zagreus has a helpful dash to dodge enemy attacks, and two primary attack buttons tied to the weapon you select before each Underworld attempt. On top of that Zagreus can gain potent Call abilities from boons, and additional modifiers that will affect the way his dash, normal, and special attacks work. The controls feel super responsive overall, with effective feedback when striking blows and an easy to read visual style that prevents unfair damage or death from occurring.
I?ve been playing through the game for the past week or so on the Switch, and my experience has been pretty flawless overall, more so with the patch that hit today. Playing docked, via handheld, or through a Switch Lite, the framerate has generally held up and I?ve not encountered any significant hiccups or issues. Overall, I was pretty impressed with how well Hades holds up here.
So again, I definitely think Hades is worth checking out, whether you do so via the PC release or the Nintendo Switch this week. It?s one of the better roguelikes out there, and makes for a great action-adventure in general, with an engaging story, excellent writing, beautiful music, and some amazing art to go along with it. So check it out when you get a chance, you will not be disappointed.
Note: Supergiant Games provided us with a Hades Nintendo Switch and PC code for review purposes.