11th Jan2022

‘Hellpoint’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

Inspired by the challenging gameplay of Dark Souls, science fiction cult classics like Event Horizon, Hellpoint is a hardcore sci-fi action role-playing horror where you play as a synthetic human being, exploring an abandoned space station, fighting horrible abominations, collecting the axioms they leave behind and trying to uncover the truth behind your creation…

When the developers of Hellpoint said their game was inspired by the likes of Dark Souls, they really didn’t exaggerate did they? Hellpoint is yet another hard as nails game, one that lulls you into a false sense of comfort, allowing you to explore and fight numerous enemies in the early going that make the game seem just on the right saide of tricky to seem fun yet challenging. Then it throws everything out of the window with HUGE enemies and even bigger bosses who have a tendency to kill you in seconds. SECONDS. If you got frustrated with Dark Souls et al. prepare to feel that all over again!

Visually Hellpoint reminded me vey much of the first Dead Space game – full of murky tunnels, rusty metals and enough shadows to hide all manner of terrifying creatures. And, at the start, that’s very much how I felt the game played out, like another space-based dark and dingy sci-fi horror but then Hellpoint throws in seemingly indestructible enemies that make mincemeat of you in seconds and that familiarity, that feeling that we’ve played this game before, goes completely out of the window as you realise this is Dark Souls in space! As such you REALLY should be a Souls-like fan to get the most out of Hellpoint.

Even the combat takes a leaf out of the Souls-like genre; so much so that, again, it all feels familiar. Combat is the usual mix of light and heavy melee attacks at first – with the option to wield guns and this games version of a BFG later in the game (once you’ve collected enough “axioms” from defeated enemies to buy them of course). You can also equip yourself with a sheild – which is oh so important for defence in Hellpoint, Also critical to defense is the ability and propensity to roll away from enemies, although that does wear out your characters stamina gauge so cannot be used too often. Speaking of gauges, the best thing about Hellpoint is the fact you can rebuild your health and magic guages by fighting. Yes, beating enemies revives you. SO one quick melee battle, as long as you don’t die, can refill your life and set you up for a ridiculous big battle you’ll lose in seconds and end up screaming at the TV. Told you this was like Dark Souls!

Like other action RPG’s there’s a lot of exploration to do aboard the sinister spacecraft this game is set in. Shame there’s no bloody map! Yes, whilst Hellpoint does have some plus points in terms of great gameplay, theres also a number of issues. For one, Hellpoint is incredibly cryptic; beyond setting you up with basic instruction, Hellpoint pays its cards very close to its chest, almost as if the game relies on both players previous experience with the genre and gaming in general rather than provide instruction and/or guidance… Which, given the audience for this type of game, they can probably get away with. Hellpoint is certainly not for casual gamers that’s for sure.

However Hellpoint‘s biggest issue, in this particular case, is the sub-standard port to the Nintendo Switch. I originally played the game on the Switch and was immediately struck by the long load times and occasional graphic glitches – both of which seemed to get worse the further you got into the game. However then playing the game on other consoles revealed just how downgraded the Switch experience is overall too – texture mapping is reduced as are framerates, to such an extent that, honestly, once I’d played the game on the Xbox Series S I really couldn’t go back to the Switch iteration.

So, that being said, if you’ve ONLY got a Switch and you like Souls-like games then give Hellpoint a go, maybe wait until you can pick it up cheap though!

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