Down to hell as described by developer Red Dev Studio is a dynamic slasher in which a lone swordsman must face the hordes of hellish demons.
Now, let’s start off with the positives. The artwork is fantastic, the cut scenes are dark, gory and are a sight to behold, the narration with that deep insidious voice just adding to the evil and sinister plot of the game itself, the metal soundtrack and ambient music will get you in the mood for some hack and slash fun.
But honestly, that’s about as good as it gets dynamic is at best a stretch the basic 2D platform gameplay and very simplistic attacks available. The waves of demons are bested with spam attacks there are zero tactics just hack and slash, which is great if that’s what you are looking for but most of us have grown to expect more.
The upgrading system, for example, your introduced to this very early in the game with very high experience cost that looks almost unobtainable and while you navigate the jump puzzles in the event of a death you lose all your XP, this game punishes you and punishes you hard, fitting of the title but massively irritating particularly with the frequency of the jump puzzle/sequences and they have traps that instantly kill you too,
Add the flying enemy’s that can go above the visible screen requiring guesswork and luck to kill. All of this makes Down to Hell frustrating, and I feel kind of defeats the whole purpose of hack and slash titles. It is like reinventing the wheel by adding corners yes its different but only proceeds to take away from the original design, its not good.
There are loot boxes that are unlocked through exploration of the map, fighting off waves of enemies, etc, these give your basic upgrades to health, mana and stamina, again to reiterate the combat is simple, unchallenging and generally dull.
The only time this changes is on the boss fights which require some dodging (jumping there isn’t an actual dodge or block function), there is a parry feature that I gave up on because well quite simply it didn’t work, could that be down to me… well it’s not out of the question, but with platinum trophies on games suck as Bloodborne and dark souls I have spent a lot of time mastering parry’s so I don’t think so.
Down to Hell has several bugs including bosses getting frozen, unhittable enemies that require you to die to reset it, it feels underdeveloped and not ready for full release, it feels like it has potential but I think that’s down to the art and soundtrack, without them it’s not even a mediocre hack and slash, if only they put as much effort into the gameplay as the art we really could have had a cult classic on our hands.
I don’t know how to score this as the atmosphere of the game is fantastic and probably a solid 8/10 but the poor gameplay really lets this game down so were going to have to go with a 4/10 its below average but the art and music saved it form a 2/10.