Tuesday
Oct092012

QCF: Hell Yeah: Wrath of The Dead Rabbit

The internet sure is a funny thing. It can be the outlet for every imaginable resource you happen to be in need of, even if it’s an album of lewd pictures of a naked evil demon lord rabbit bathing with his wittle rubber ducky! Arkedo - the developer behind of the string of indie games like Big Bang Mini and The Arkedo Series, which includes the games SWAP!, PIXEL!, and JUMP! - has been backed by the major publisher SEGA and has successfully released its latest title Hell Yeah: The Wrath of The Dead Rabbit. A game where you assume the control of anti-hero Ash, Prince of Hell, on a quest to recover…nudie pics.

While there is an abundance of indie side-scrolling platformers available on nearly every medium imaginable these days, Hell Yeah does its part to distinguish itself from the masses through a unique explosion of colors and charisma that will excite the synapses with details of art unlike anything truly seen within a game before…

Ash is an evil rabbit, but he’s no ordinary evil rabbit; he’s the heir to the recently vacated throne of the underworld and calling the guy a badass is an understatement to the what the Long-eared skeletal freak is truly capable of. And 100 monsters who have cross the line have to answer to him. Essentially a one-dimensional Metroid-vania shooter, the real charm of Hell Yeah lies within its focus on mindlessly indulging these unadulterated fundamentals of traditional game design in order to reinforce style and attitude. It's a practice we’re all familiar with from the 16-bit era and is more often excluded from most retro inspired revisions. The presentation, not the gameplay, is what drives you on through the game; seeing what will pop out next around each corner, from the start of the game to the very finish. Gameplay centers on locating individual monsters through the depths of hell and ending them in a flamboyant and spectacular manner in order to continue on to the next area, which will open up after the required number of creatures are slain. The screen in Hell Yeah is littered, no, scratch that, cluttered with visuals that overpower every inch of screen. From the bulging geysers of magma to piles and piles of circuitry within a factory of robotic machinations in Hades, the locales wildly change up and try to up the graphical ante of every area you travel to next. The hand drawn pop art gives off this look of a demented sticker book - and everything within it - come to life, constantly animated with vibrancy and moving about whimsically, yet also naturally and with a life of its own. While it’s clear that the visuals are unlike anything accomplished before, what about the actual playing dynamics at the center of all of these fancy moving pictures? Well, it’s alright.

In Ash’s arsenal you’ll take control of a mobile buzz-saw which functions as a mode of quick transport and as your ability to access different areas of the map. Weapons include an assortment of guns, ranging from a rocket launcher to a meat-grinding chain-gun. The guns and uhh... buzz-saw mount... are upgraded through progression or purchases from collected coins at various stores found throughout Hell. Other than a wall jump and some other forgettable moves the ingredients for the Metroid-vania recipe here are essentially empty calories. The jumping mechanics themselves are a bit on the floaty side, both in momentum on the ground and in the air, but overall never soured the overall experience. Hell Yeah is able to accomplish this because its fully aware that the formula serves to function in doing nothing more than guiding you around every nook and cranny to justify all of the incredible exposition of the art that’s constantly blasted into your face.

The assassinations of the creatures are yet another example of the immaculate display of presentation and are truly remarkable sights. Honestly, there are no acceptable ways to expand on the detail of these murders in a simple sentence and it's worth playing the game just to experience them. Shooting or slicing these targets result in a tense Warioware-styled mini-game that may involve anything from launching a quarter into a claw machine to answering an inane quiz that - if successfully completed - summons the most intricately chaotic display of death one could ever exact on another creature. Sync up a satellite in space and initiate orbital-targeting to align and lock on to your victim, launch a laser that will meltdown your foe into primordial goop, or just call on a Tyrannosaurus Rex to bite down and eat them alive. I can’t make these events up people, this is just a few of the many things you do! The hilarity continues after you’ve defeated these pseudo bosses; they become slaves you can visit and gather life or loot from in order to increase your capital towards the aforementioned upgrade options. The fun isn’t just about the aspect of having them work manual labor to benefit your stats in the game, but also the concept of actually watching them suffer under your will to the tune of a tropical calypso beat. Again, not making this up.

The humor of the story gets praise just for the casually written tongue in-cheek zingers that are tossed throughout the dialogue so nonchalantly that even the tasteless bits will carve a smile upon any grimace. The downfall of all feverish cartoons and colors on screen is that it can cause the game to lock up at times but never enough to break the game, just cause needless irritation. The soundtrack is solid, surprisingly solid in fact. To match the spontaneous tone of the game you’ll find tunes ranging from underground Hip-hop to jazz fusion with a little bit of J-pop sprinkled on top. Ultimately, the musical scores all seem to fit the environment they’re set in and this helps drive the selling point of the game’s presentation.

Hell Yeah is far from being a polished game. It’s floaty and clunky to move around in and the moments in between monster hunting can get a bit dull, but the flashy scene to scene quick-time event driven homicides and the gorgeous splash art all around make this game a spastic romp through the fiery pits of damnation. Hell Yeah is worth a look just by the merit of succeeding in being different than anything you’ve ever played, and for being fun because of it rather than just earning the reputation of being "different."

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