Hellpoint is a Sci-Fi Action RPG set in the dark brooding world of Irid Novo, where the events of The Merge have occurred. That is, living beings have been merged with other versions of themselves from parallel universes, causing them to lose their minds and become incredibly violent. You play as the nameless character known as Spawn, who was created by the Author, and your goal is to fight through these tormented souls as well as some unrelenting bosses to save Irid Novo.
Most of the narrative is revealed through small bits of dialogue with NPCs in various sectors of this world, as well as through messages left by others written in various places. This title does not reveal the story through many cut scenes, but rather rewards players with a bit of lore as they explore. Similar to Dark Souls, the aim of this game is to strengthen Spawn as well as to fight through various bosses to discover new areas and information. However, this is, as you would expect, not that simple, many different enemies have drastically different combat styles, meaning that you always have to be on your toes if you do not want to get defeated quickly and repeatedly.
This title also has a very similar gameplay style to Dark Souls. Following the standard light attack, heavy attack, block, parry and dodge fight mechanics, players will find themselves locking onto an enemy and circling it as they slowly hack away at their health bar until finally, the enemy falls. However, players should not think that hiding behind a shield will protect them, because even while blocking, Spawn still receives damage. The only way to successfully block an attack without getting damaged is by parrying it, but even then it may not always stop Spawn from losing health. Dodging and attacking enemies feels fantastic, especially when executing them with the right timing as they can grant massive advantages to the player, either by opening up the opponent for greater damaging strikes, or moving way out of range for a quick heal or stamina recovery.
Where the gameplay is at its best is against the bosses! Whilst Hellpoint may not boast enemies of a gargantuan size like the soulsborne series, these foes have some intense move lists which might just catch you by surprise if you’re not ready for them. Some of the early game bosses require the learning and mastering of some of the basic moves.
A prime example of this can be seen when battling the Archon Slayer, where understanding its attack patterns is vital as well as dodging these attacks to allow for openings to strike. Once becoming efficient with dodging, the Archon Slayer becomes a piece of cake…. Well almost. One very helpful mechanic is the recharging health consumable known as the healing injection. It recharges through combat, with each strike that Spawn does adding a little more charge to the injection. This injection is also not the only healing method that there is, it can be changed out for others, with some trading out healing speed for a faster charge rate.
One word that can be used to describe the overall tone and aesthetic of this world is dark. Many of the environments are dimly lit and have a very black-grey tone. This just adds to the horror of this world and helps to make it feel desolate and shattered. The game, like many other souls-like titles, has many branching paths to explore, which often end in different boss battles or battling waves of enemies. Sometimes, finding the correct way to go can be a little confusing, but more often than not there is something valuable to find in every direction.
The developers have also implemented quite a few jump puzzles into the game, which, if conquered, can lead to some very valuable pick-ups being found. To add to the awesome environment and chaos in this game, the devs also added in a co-op system, and not just online co-op, but local co-op also! This is not a traditional feature of a souls-like but is very welcomed as it can encourage newcomers to team up with their more experienced friends and play this title as if it was some old school couch co-op game!
The sound design in Hellpoint is also fantastic. The music is very minimalistic, mostly just featuring airy sounds, occasional synths and the sound of distant groans and growls. And this works perfectly for the game, as it gives no real audio cues for when enemies are near, meaning that being very cautious when exploring is vital. This all changes when entering into a boss battle, however, suddenly there is music blaring with threatening melodies playing. The composer wanted to make clear how perilous the situation that Spawn had entered into truly was, and the music conveys this incredibly!
Hellpoint is definitely worth picking up, even though it is not the perfect souls-like by any means, but it is still immensely challenging and very enjoyable to play. It is a good introductory title for players who have not had much experience with other souls-likes, as well as those who struggle with the soulsbourne series.
Reviewed by Samuel Incze
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by TinyBuild Games. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.