Hell Is Other Demons – The Switch Island Review
All Hell breaks loose in this fast-paced and devilishly addictive 8-bit bullet hell shooter from Hannes Rahm.
The game itself is a 2D arena-style platformer, where you massacre wave after wave of incoming demons. Survive the round and you’re rewarded with more areas to challenge, along with points being awarded to help upgrade your weapons and abilities.
The story centres around you playing a demon whose sole mission in the after-life is to obliterate all other demons that cross his / her path for… reasons.
The campaign is split into five different regions, each one separated by a demonic boss battle so amazingly over the top you can’t help but smile when they materialise on screen.
Whilst battling through the regions you have to tailor your demons’ abilities to overcome each scenario. These abilities can include double and triple jumps, increased firing rates and different weapon types to name but a few. In the earlier levels, this customization can seem pretty redundant as you are able to more or less bully your way through some areas with little difficulty. However, the deeper into Hell you delve the more planning has to be done to even stand half a snowballs chance of succeeding in the aforementioned environment!
Generally, the customizations work well for your progression, but some of the weapon choices felt pretty lackluster and I soon found myself quickly swapping back to some of the more tried and tested choices.
Some of the levels can be brutal, with some of the boss challenges even more so and you can quite often hit the wall. When this occurs, you will have to repeat some of the previous levels to grind points for spending on your character. Whilst this may not be appealing to some, I really enjoyed the option to go back and perfect my techniques, as well as trying to pass each of the levels’ three challenges; complete the level without using the “ultimate” ability; take zero damage during the level; or do not fire your weapon at all! Needless to say, to complete each of these challenges for all of the levels would require a man possessed to do so, but this does create a good distraction during the grinds.
Thankfully, for those poor souls determined to complete all challenges, they will not be hindered by a poor control system. The game responds very well and all movement feels very fluid. The only minor gripe is from the very infrequent GPU lag that lasts maybe two seconds at most, but it never resulted in too much disruption to kill me off.
Also, on offer is the games Arcade mode where you can select from different demons with their own unique set of skills to go into battle against legions of Hell’s finest.
Graphically the game looks gorgeous, and Hannes Rahm has done well creating an 8-bit style environment offset by a simple colour palette of no more than 3 colours per level with more unlocked throughout the game. This helps give the game an ’80s neon vibe that looks suitably dark and fresh in equal measures.
The enemy designs are well varied and, as teased at above, the boss monsters look great. The first main boss you encounter is “The Opressor” and quickly sets the expectations high for the other bosses going forward.
The soundtrack is by Rémi Gallego, the brainchild of the group known as The Algorithm, and features a fantastically dark electronic / Synthwave feel for each of the tracks on offer along with some great special effect sounds (created by Magnus Render) to really bring the experience to life.
The soundtrack and effects compliment the visual aesthetic perfectly, helping to mix the frantic action and the bright neon colours beautifully to draw the player into a true retro, ’80s inspired experience.
This is a genuinely great game that fans of any type of shooter should dive into and try, and I guarantee before long you’ll find yourself sucked down to the 9th Circle of Hell!
Game: Hell Is Other Demons
Developer: Cuddle Monster Games
Switch release date: 18/04/2019
Soundtrack: Rémi Gallego, of The Algorithm
Sound Effects: Magnus Pålsson
Also check out episode 13 of our very own Desert Island Cartridges, where developer Hannes Rahm joins the lads, discusses Hell is Other Demons, and chooses his game for the Island’s prestigious gaming hall of fame.