I am going to give a bit of a personal thought before today’s review. When you play plenty of games, whether you’re a reviewer or a long-time gamer, you’ll tend to notice things can be similar. I am not a fan of the idea that everything must be unique in a game for it to be good; trying too hard to be different can result in a mediocre product. However, if you’re going to do something that’s been done, and you have nothing to separate it from similar experiences, it’s going to be ok at best. That’s today’s game for me right now. This is Hellmut: The Badass From Hell.
Hellmut is a dungeon crawler shooter, similar in vein to games like Enter The Gungeon or Nuclear throne. You play as the remains of a Mad Scientist who unleashed demons upon the world. The demon gave you infinite lives but destroyed your body in return, leaving you with nothing but your skull and spine. A demon you know as the eye of ka-ra takes pity on you, giving you power to destroy the demons that betrayed you. Using the genetic mutations, you had in your lab, you will destroy the filth that betrayed you.
After a brief tutorial you choose between one of two mutations that you start with and then you start your journey through the demon’s castle. Enemies drop coins and soulstones. Coins are used to purchase guns and upgrades from the shop in each level. Soulstones can be used to access a new mutation from a challenge room made by the Eye of Ka-ra. You can change mutations you have in each run at any time, though once its HP reaches zero that mutation is gone. You can revive previous mutations by purchasing a resurrection token with soul stones in the shop or by beating a challenge room. Once you have no mutations left and you die as the basic form you must start the run over from the beginning with the base form and one mutation of your choice.
Visually the game is great, each mutation feels like the work of a mad scientist. The detail makes each mutation stand out individually even if they are technically the same person. There’s plenty of enemy variety. I never felt like I was facing the same goons every couple of rooms. I’ll give Volcanicc this, for their first game, it looks amazing. Unfortunately, that’s all this game has that’s above average. The music and sounds for the game are nothing to write home about.
The gameplay itself is ok but it’s very cookie cutter and it has some strange design choices that seemed like it was only there because other games did it. You can get other guns like i said before, yet all of them seem pointless when you find out that the upgrades you can get from treasure chests and bosses only affect the main attack of each mutant. This game doesn’t have ammo drops either so once that guns gone you must wait until you get another one. While the guns usually can do more damage, eventually your upgrades will make that irrelevant. These modern rouge lites usually have something to work toward yet they spruce it in between each death. You don’t unlock anything in between levels, you can only unlock a new mutation permanently if you beat the final boss. To give the illusions that there are ways to unlock all those new mutation tubes to help you through the game, only to find out that’s not the case is a real let down. Each mutation just being an extra life until you beat the game takes away from these visually appealing characters. The gameplay is fast paced, and it feels fun to run and gun down enemies. Yet once you figure out the pattern of each enemy it quickly becomes irrelevant. People might ask me, “but can’t other games like this get repetitive to?” They can, yet games like The Binding of Isaac or Darkest Dungeon have something for me to keep coming back to.