I have been a longtime fan of Rouge-lite/like games for soooo very long. I remember being skeptical about The Binding of Isaac and I ended up loving the game so much that I put a combined 300+ hours into the series. Everything felt so perfect. The story and themes were dark, it was gory, every run was essentially different from the last and all the items (combined) were so well thought out.
It had everything I wanted in a game.
Ever since then I have played rouge-lites/likes and compared them to The Binding of Isaac and they always fell short. This was because once the game was over there was nothing else to do; it had no end game.
Then Hades came along.
This week I hate to admit that I love a rouge-like more than The Binding of Isaac, fight with myself to talk about the game after putting 50+ hours into it in a few days times, watching all three hours of Noclip documentaries on the game (multiple times) and finally submitting. This week I talk about Hades.
Hades is the fourth game from Supergiant Games, who developed and published the game. It is a Rouge-like adventure game. It had been on early access for quite some time, but it has come out of it in September 2020. It retails for $25 and is on the Switch and PC.
You take the role of Zagreus, the Prince of the Underworld, and you are trying to escape to Olympus to get away from your garbage father, Hades. With the aid from the major Olympians, Zagreus fights his way through the Underworld to meet his extensive family.
After you complete the game for the first time, a much wider, complex plot that mixes with love, family and deceit as the player learns about the fate of Zagreus’ birth mother, Persephone, and her mysterious disappearance arises out of the next moment.
It is quite engaging and the story is tied to completing the game so there is an incentive to continue completing the game after the initial run.
Hades is a rouge-like EVERYONE, so we all know how it goes. Olympian’s aid is in the form of messages of admirability for their new found loved one. Attached to the message, like a pdf or something, is a fighting ability or Boons. Boons are unique to the God, for example, Poseidon has waves that knock enemies back, Zeus has boons that incorporate lightening and Aphrodite with charm. The amount of boons is quite a large number and most of them are common for rouge-like games: critical hit chance, damage, area of effect, status effects, etc. There are boons that are titled Duos and they compliment another gods boons. Dionysus and Zeus share a boon that adds an area of effect to your cast.
Zagreus can attack, dash and cast (shoot some diamond shaped object that embed in the enemy). Rooms are randomly generated with some number of smaller enemies and a reward. Either it be jewels for the House of Hades, Darkness to upgrade Zagreus‘ abilities, a fancy drink to give to NPC’s to gain more lore or just another boon, there is always an upgrade to be found.
Again, small room enemies are a trial run to the bosses that inhabit the end of each section.
The game consists of four separate realms that Zagreus can run through: Tartarus, Asphodel, Elysium and the Temple of Styx.
Hades was a game that I was scared to play because I had a preconceived notion that it would not live up to my favorite rouge-lite, but to my pleasant surprise, it had surpassed it in almost every single way.
The game is beautiful, just like every Supergiant Games game.
The combat is superb and smooth. Zagreus dances as shades, skeletons and Furies fall and you proceed to accumulate more power to weigh the odds of escaping in your favor.
The boons, as stated above, are unique and are all powerful (some more than other) in their own regard. The weapon selection is small in the beginning, but when you progress far enough, Aspects are unlocked that add even more replay-ability to the game.
The music is damn good. Boss fights are accompanied by guitars playing a variation of the main melody. It really gets the blood pumping.
The game goes on for so long that it does begin to wear a little thin. Go into room, dash/attack/cast, get reward, rinse and repeat until the end arrives. It has gotten a tiny bit boring to play.
I played for a total of about 50 hours and now I am on and off playing it to finish up some things.
Supergiant Games is one of my favorite developers. They put so much work into their games that it is mind boggling. The art is beautiful, there are miles of voice work, the music is great and the combat is some of the best.
I forgot to mention that every character in this game is incredibly likable. It is always so fun to listen to them converse, argue and belittle one another.
If you ever were on the fence about a game, I assure you Hades shouldn’t be one of them.