From the creative talents behind Bastion and Transistor comes the exciting new rogue-like dungeon crawler Hades, now available in Early Access on the Epic Games store. Combining the studios famously striking artistic direction with a fast-paced, skill-based combat system sounds great on paper, but does Hades Early Access deliver?
Hit It Or Quit It – Hades Early Access
While certain elements of Hades take clear inspiration from other titles in the rogue-like space, it’s at the forefront of the genre in its ability to combine an immersive story and interesting narrative atop the otherwise repetitious elements of rogue-like games. Players take on the role of Zagreus, Prince of the Underworld, as he attempts to escape the clutches of his father Hades and meet with the Gods of Olympus. As you continue to explore the increasingly difficult chambers of the underworld, you will encounter various Gods from Greek Mythology, each with a distinctly unique character and incredible art style. On the ability to tell a rewarding story alone, Hades is already pushing the boundaries of rogue-likes.
Featuring a strong cast of characters alongside full voice acting and a well-scripted narrative is never a bad thing but honestly, we don’t hit up rogue-likes to spend the entire time listening to dialogue. Thankfully, Supergiant Games’ decision to incorporate more RPG style characteristics does not detract from the core functionality of a rogue-like game – not even one bit.
Hades has you completing increasingly difficult chambers with more enemies, more traps, more obstacles and more ways to die, and you will die, a lot. Aiding Zagreus on his seemingly endless pursuit of Olympus are a number of God-like weapons and Boons. Currently there are four different weapons types to choose from, each can be selected at the start of a new run. A sword, a spear, a bow, and a shield are the current options for players, each offering drastically different styles of play and various strengths and weaknesses that you can utilize and avoid.
Another standout element of Hades is the progressive reward system. It has long been a staple of the rogue-like genre, rewarding players with progressive upgrades as they continue to fail in order to make the next attempt more successful and more satisfying. Hades boasts one of the best approaches to this in recent memory – various Gods of Olympus, from Artemis and Athena to even Zeus himself will reward you with special Boons when you complete specific rooms and challenges. These vary greatly, from basic improvements that increase attack damage to entirely new abilities that allow you to toss around bolts of lightning whenever you see fit. Furthermore, there are rare and epic versions of these boons, keeping each and every run fresh, exciting, and increasingly rewarding.
Outside of Boons, there are plenty of other incentives to continue your never-ending beat down of the Underworld. Gifts can be found scattered throughout and can be exchanged with various characters you meet for special items that offer bonuses and can be improved as you progress. A small number of items can be purchased in special areas that are added to Zagreus’s bedroom and souls you gather on your adventures can be exchanged for even further improvements to your abilities. In terms of keeping the experience fresh and rewarding, Hades is already way ahead of its competition.
Hades is still at its very earliest stages of Early Access development. It was announced and release under Early Access on December 6, but is already polished, technically sound, and boasts enough features and content to warrant a full release. Usually, with Early Access games, you’re paying for what will be, the potential, what’s to come. However, with Hades, it’s already there.
Hades is an incredibly ambitious rogue-like that’s already delivering on its promises just weeks after its release. It is a must have for any long time fans of the rogue-like genre, and a fantastic entry level experience for those looking to get their feet wet.