Game Review #282: Hellmut: The Badass from Hell (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Chad M.
Category: Action, Arcade
Release Date: 5.3.2019
Price (at time of review): $29.99
Buy Hellmut: The Badass from Hell from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Rogue(s)like This Is Why We Play
Before I owned my Nintendo Switch my scope of gaming had narrowed down to only the new triple A game titles—mainly for PlayStation 4—like Uncharted 4 or Horizon Zero Dawn. Then I got my hands on my Nintendo Switch to mainly play Zelda & Mario, but before long, I started playing these indie gems. Most were games I’d missed over the years that had been on Steam or PS4’s store. I was never a big fan of roguelikes, and from what I knew, they weren’t that big of a genre at that time; but then I decided to purchase The Binding of Isaac after a friend had recommended it to me. This game was monumental in reigniting my love for gaming big and small, and left me clamoring to play smaller indie titles and to get back to games of old, as I never knew I could be so nostalgic!
From there, I played a plethora of different indie games, but nothing quite like The Binding of Isaac until I found Enter the Gungeon, which was like The Binding of Isaac, but tweaked a few things, added guns, and made an entertaining experience that has taken on a life of its own within a tight-knit community of fans. When I saw Hellmut: The Badass from Hell, I scoffed at first, thinking this might be another roguelike twin-stick shooter taking a humorous approach at the genre and trying to clone or mimic what these games before it had done; but after further inspection and playing the game, I can gladly report that Hellmut is indeed its own game, standing on its own two hellish and mutated feet.
High Time We Live Forever
The game starts out with Hellmut, a mad scientist who’s been trying to crack the code to immortality. Hellmut ends up opening a portal to a dark dimension, allowing a demon to come through. As the demon steps into the lab, Hellmut propositions him, telling him he wants to live forever with infinite lives. The dark entity says he will give the mad scientist his wish, then, in a twist of fate, he releases a horde of demons into the world; and then, as if the betrayal wasn’t enough, the demon kills Hellmut. Then, when all seems to be lost, another entity, Eye of Ka-Rah, passes through and has decided to give Hellmut his wish of infinite life—but at a cost.
Eye of Ka-Rah awakens what’s left of the mad scientist, which is only a skull with a brain connected to a spinal cord, and Hellmut now must battle through multiple levels of furious demons and monsters to restore himself to his original form; but rather than just being a puny skull and spine, he has gained the ability to mutate into powerful beings that can be used to battle through the hordes of monsters. There’s not much to the story past that. When you beat the game and you see Hellmut reunited with his body, you’ll get a twist in the story, but nothing past that.
Rat King, Gang Gang....
The main reason I play these games is that I have so much dang fun with them and I don’t feel like I have to get super invested, I just learn to play better over time. Here, the controls are similar to most game like this, where you move with the left stick and aim with the right. You use some buttons to interact with things or cycle through items and weapons, and then you have your shoulder buttons that fire your primary or charge and fire your secondary, but you won’t find that nifty dodge roll that Enter the Gungeon has that helps evade fire.
When the game starts, you’re in an empty lab with large tanks that are filled with green ooze. Some are occupied with mutations, but at the start, most are vacant, as you have to unlock those mutations. Each mutation has a very unique look, as well as a primary and secondary weapon. Starting out, you have this large freakish naked Frankenstein’s-Monster-looking mutation called Stitchmonster, who looks to have on a Jason-Voorhees-type hockey mask and a primary weapon that is a large Mjolnir-type hammer that you sling to smash the hell out of enemies; and if that doesn’t handle them, you have a super dash that will blast right through them.
Your only other option at the start is what I thought was a werewolf, but upon further investigation and reading, it’s The Rat King—which, to be honest, is a mutated hulking rat busting through clothing, so in short, it looks like a werewolf. His primary is a gun that shoots out rats, which bounce off walls and will blast your enemies; but if needed, his secondary is three rats jampacked with explosives to set things off right. As you complete the game or defeat special challenges, you will unlock more deadly badass mutations.
Once you’ve selected your mutation, you jump into the portal that will land you into the castle. It lets you know it is generating your experience while it takes a moment to load, as it will be different every time with this roguelike. Now, on screen you have a mini map in your right hand corner, bottom left shows you the weapon you have, and the top left shows your health, coins, points and crystals. As you start to work your way through the levels, you’ll noticed barrels, boxes, and furniture; I highly recommend smashing the hell out of everything, as you never know what you’ll find, from coins to much more. Through the level, you’ll also find treasure chests that usually have a nice weapon inside for you, and there are tons of weapons you can luck out and get.
So, while fighting through the demon’s evil forces in the level, you’ll receive coins and crystals (blue & pink) as pick-ups when dispatching them, and you have to run and get them, as they will flicker and disappear. This is hard as can be when you kill a slew of baddies and they drop the goods, but then another set of monster descend upon you and you’re just trying to stay alive, but that loot is needed to thrive and survive as you go on! Now, as you get to the end of the level, you’ll be presented with a chance to either visit the shop—which can be found within the level as well—the next level, or the Tome of Ka-Ra.
Buy Stuff & Go Deeper Into Hell
Visiting the shop will help you along your journey, as you can use those coins you’ve acquired to buy medpacks, specific weapons, resurrection stones, and more. So, when I hit the shop the first time through I was a little disappointed, as I was one coin shy of being able to purchase anything at all, and was worried this was going to be a sign of how the game would be moving forward. Well the devs throw you a major bone: when you track down the shop, there is an arcade machine inside in the top right hand corner, and if you use one of your coins, you’ll enter into the game and play a Space Invaders-type game using the monsters in Hellmut. Destroying the floating space monsters will randomly drop coins and crystals. On my first try, I got eight coins and two crystals, and it only cost me one coin! I used this to buy medpacks and more every time, but buyer beware: if you buy all the health, it goes away for that run.
Now, as I said, as you stand at the end of the level, your other options are: progress forward, where there are twelve levels in all, with a boss on every third level, and the bosses range from a variety of hellishly ugly monsters that are usually shooting bullet-hell patterns that will make you scream for mercy; or, if you want to acquire more lives, you can pay the Ka-Ra with crystals to allow you to try your hand at his skilled trials in the Tome of Ka-Ra. You’ll face waves of enemies that you have to defeat in an allotted amount of time—which wasn’t too hard, and was a lot of fun. If you do so, you’ll receive another mutation that acts like and extra life.
You also have a few different mode options to play, and there is a tutorial, which was a nice addition. They have a mode called Gauntlet, which plays as an endless or survival mode. There is a tournament version where you can race one another, similar to the race mode in Binding of Isaac, if you’re familiar with that game, as you can see who has the best time in the level.
Audio & Visuals
The audio was well done, with an orchestral soundtrack that slightly threw me off, as I just expected it to have a soundtrack similar to Doom, or maybe more of a Metal or Rock sound. Now, I’m saying that this soundtrack isn’t bad and doesn’t get old, and maybe the devs figured the rock would begin to get a little boring over time. Past the soundtrack, all the sounds from, blast Ming weapon to monsters, all sounded great.
The visuals are a pixelated style that is reminiscent of Enter the Gungeon, so I get the comparison; and I have to say, the level designs are well done, and the main characters and monsters all look very horror-like and pretty badass, like the title says!
It’s A Wrap!!!
I had a blast playing Hellmut: The Badass from Hell, and I will for some time, as this game begs to be played over and over, and has a way of sinking its claws into you. The modes add a little extra, but the main game’s campaign is where this game shines, as it kept me engaged and had fun boss fights that made me play and learn patterns until I felt like a super-beast wrecking these baddies. I highly recommend picking up Hellmut and having it in the collection.
Buy Hellmut: The Badass from Hell from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
*Review Code Provided by Indie Game PR