Sh-Ron Almeida Anchor Staff
From the creators of Bastion, Transistor and Prye comes a brand-new rouge-like dungeon crawler that is flawless as it is addictive. You play as the defiant and handsome Zagreus, son of Hades. You have one goal; to escape the underworld and reach Mount Olympus. Naturally, Hades and his minions don’t share Zag’s enthusiasm, and they’ll stop at nothing to send him flying back to the game’s starting point. Luckily for the prince, he meets other relatives who are more than happy to lend him bits of their power to make his journey a little easier.
Throughout your escape attempts, you will die repeatedly, forced to start over from scratch. However, there’s a twist; dying in the game also means story progression as you learn more about Zagreus and his dysfunctional family of Greek gods and goddesses. Not only that, your strength and resistance are gradually growing at each failed escape attempt.
As someone who had never played a rouge-like game before, this was a very godly surprise, pun intended. From the first 10 minutes of playing, I was already swooning over what I was seeing. Zagreus is a likable and sympathetic protagonist who is easy to root for. I loved his tongue-in-cheek commentary and snarky bickering with the disembodied storyteller of the game. Furthermore, you get to sympathize with Zagreus’s desperate drive to battle through the countless layers of Hell and reach the mortal realm. Pretty much like how we’re all struggling to survive the hell that is 2020.
After many years of polishing and tweaking Hades, Supergiant Games had just released Hades out for the PC and Switch, and we are ever so thankful for that. For a game like this to be as good as it is, it required a lot of time and patience to improve on the details and mechanics. And thankfully, all that patience paid off as I found it hard to put down since playing. And even when I’m at work or participating in online classes, I’m still thinking about playing Hades late at night. What also adds to the appeal is the strikingly attractive art style. Every single character in Hades has a highly detailed portrait that oozes personality and awesomeness. The voice work is top-notch, bringing to life each god and goddess that’s introduced.
Zag’s chemistry with these characters is also a delightful sight to behold. During your progressions in the game, you can pick up jars of Nectar, which can then be presented to NPCs as gifts to improve your relationships with them and receive helpful keepsakes in return, which are items that give you permanent bonuses and benefits in the next escape attempt. Getting closer to a character is essential to obtaining numerous benefits, including learning more about their backstory and potentially romancing them towards the end of a game.
What Supergiant Games have cooked up is a great roguelike work of art; massively satisfying, even in failure, with a colorful cast of characters and a gripping story. The gameplay never becomes stale as you are blessed with six weapons to choose from and gameplay-altering boons. Overall, Hades is one hell of a godly romp you don’t want to miss out on. Highly recommended.
Hades was released for Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Nintendo Switch on September 17, 2020, which followed an early access release in December 2018.