Hellmut: The Badass from Hell is a bullet storm dungeon crawler game developed by ‘Volcani‘ and published by ‘Grindstone‘. It already came out on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PC. Hellmut aims to throw players into the centre of fast paced action and danger. Let’s take a look.
Now the first thing we will say about Hellmut: The badass from hell is that the story isn’t clear. We honestly aren’t entirely sure what the story is. According to the intro cutscene we know there’s a mad scientist who somehow summons a demon and asked for eternal life (along those lines), not sure why anyone would trust demons of all things but whatever, the scientist is mad remember. The demon then summons more demons who then attack the lab, while the big main demon kills the scientist leaving him as just a skull and spine. A being called the ‘eye of ka-ra’ shows up and grants the skull life, giving the scientist a chance to fight for his body and probably get revenge. Now we see the green test tubes and know that monsters are in there but when the eye of ka-ra offers the mutation forms as rewards for challenges it sounds like those forms were never his and completely new. Whatever, simply put it’s about fighting to get back what’s yours.
The tutorial does introduce you to the basics of the game and does that well but that’s all it does. There’s actually a number of mechanics or items in the game that wasn’t explained or made clear. Also it doesn’t fully prepare you for what’s coming next or gives enough combat. So players will get a shock on their first run of the game in terms of how much you’ll get swarmed and the difficulty. That isn’t bad as tutorials don’t need to fully explain everything, it’s okay to have some things be figured out by the player. A tutorial should explain the basics and that’s all really but when an emphasised item in the game like those red soul stones aren’t explained clearly, as to what they do, it’s a problem.
You enter the game and from the start get to pick from two transformations: Rat king and Stitchmonster. These mutations are the main focus of the game. Players can transform into them at anytime. Rat king is a longer ranged fighter who fires exploding rats. He has 150 health and his secondary shot is like a shotgun spread shot of your primary weapon. Stitchmonster has lots of health with 250 and has a single hammer throw attack. It’s secondary attack is basically an explosive ram attack which can get you in trouble if used badly. There are many more mutations like Slimeball which fires single shot slime projectiles and while the secondary fire is a huge bean that does serious damage in the direction you selected. I call that beam the boss killer. There’s another one. Ragnar is basically a undead norse god which fires two machine guns at the same time and the secondary attack is odin calling down purple lighting around you to harming enemies who are too close to you. We like the different mutations and some are clearly better than others. The fairy orc is the worst in our opinion by far. We just use it as a shield. Now if you are using a mutation and you lose all your health, that mutation dies and you are forced back to your skull form. You can quickly transform into another mutation or fight on as the skull but you can’t use the dead form until you revive it using a resurrection orb which you can buy or receive as an additional award.
In the levels, you will walk around and traverse the place until you enter a room which shouldn’t take along at all. Once in the room monsters will spawn. Kill them all. That’s it. Go from room to room fighting monsters and demons. Some rooms may have a treasure chest which contains either a weapon, soulstone, or a permanent stat boost like movement speed, rate of fire or damage. Some rooms have a mini boss in them, while other rooms may have a tome for summoning the eye of ka-ra, some rooms have a shop and one always has the exit portal. So get in a room and fight for your life, literally as the enemies don’t play around. With a wide range of enemies with different attacks patterns and abilities, you need to recognise the enemies and what they do quickly and stay alive. Some like skeletons, go up to you and slash you, while others like the hovering robot fires projectiles. Some enemies chase you down while others move around with their own pattern and only attack when you enter their range. Some can borrow underground where they can’t be hit but can still hit you, just wait until they resurface. Some are fast while spree are slow. Some summon more demons while others can poison you. Lastly some rooms allow you to run back out once the enemies spawn so you can fight them in a single line through the path (cowards way0 while some rooms trap you in with a laser wall for a period of time. We honestly prefer it if every room prevents you from leaving once the enemies spawn. It’s easy to run out and fight.
As we’ve mentioned there a shop in each level where you can… well… buy stuff. There are two types of merchants there. One big guy that sells weapons, armour and weapon buffs while the other sells, medkits, a resurrection orb and a red soul stone expansion bag. Make sure to visit the store every level. One, because you’ll need the medkits to stay alive and two, because you may find some useful weapons and upgrades. It’s a good variety. All the weapon descriptions are quite humorous. Humour and being silly is a theme throughout the whole game. The game isn’t serious and the advice given at the loading screens, to weapon descriptions to character interactions is all jokes, and taking everything lightly. Humour works well and and definitely in a game like this where everything is colourful and pixel graphic style. Will someone please explain the purpose of the red soul stones. We bought the expansion bag and still have no idea what it does. No we won’t look it up. We will figure it out ourselves as well always do but the game should tell us, or if it unlocks secrets, then a hint should be given. Inside the shop is also a arcade machine which let’s you play space invaders but a Hellmut: The badass from Hell version of it. Literally the same game, the enemies move left and right while discoing over time and you just have to shoot them. Instead of a mother ship, it’s the eye of ka-ra that occasional goes across the screen. Nice touch and a different pace to the game but here’s a another weakness of the game. What do we play that game? What do we get out of it? First time we played, we went to level 22 and then exited and received nothing. Our coins didn’t go up, neither did our red soul stones. Is there an end to this game? After some waves it gets boring real quick. Hellmut should have spiced up the space invaders with something different in it.
Now Hellmut: The Badass from Hell isn’t a big game at all. You can complete a run very quickly and that’s what the game seems to aim for. It’s all quick gaming for quick fun. If you have a couple of hours to spend then you can play this game doing multiple runs and unlocking different transformations. You won’t spend the whole day on this game. There are 8 levels and four bosses. This in a way reminds us off Spelunky. A quick game with a few levels but has good replayability. All the levels and the bosses are randomly generated. So you won’t be getting the same exact layouts at all. There is some form of pattern though. Hellmut however; does have a different function from the other games. There’s a tournament mode where if you enable it, your runs will always have the same seed. This means you will have the same layout, same enemies, same items everything. This is good for competing against your friends. This way you and your friends can all face the same thing to see who does better. It’s great that they put in an option like this.
The bosses have quite the gap in terms of difficulty. Some bosses are very easy to beat and don’t put up much of a fight while others are very difficulty and take a long time to beat. For example there’s one that acts like a vampire and flies around and can’t be until it starts to do attacks of it’s own. Some bosses have high attack damage and they can hit you multiple times in a row wiping out mutations within seconds. This brings us to one of the main points about Hellmut: The Badass from Hell. Game difficulty. Hellmut, for the average person is a difficult game. For X35 Earthwalker? It’s sort of easy and we will explain why later. Why the game is hard for the average person and gamer is because it’s a fast game and the enemies do high damage. Regular enemies can kill you within seconds if you aren’t careful. Especially those red dragons who are the strongest enemies in the game. If you get too close, they will breathe fire at you and it does a lot of damage. When at least two hit you with the flamethrower, it could literally be over just like that. The blue ogre looking monsters who charge right into you do a ton of damage as well. Your only healing is the medkits. Well there is a cure pill that you can get your hands on in a room but that’s rare. So primarily you rely on medkits which are limited since you can only get two in each store. You can acquire more by beating bosses too. So players really need to avoid getting hit as much as possible. Sounds obvious but it’s really important here.
Let’s wrap things up. There’s more to say but I don’t want to say anymore. The good things about Hellmut: The Badass from Hell is that it’s quick, lively and enjoyable. The humour, graphics style and colours help make it more appealing. The game concept is simple and easy to understand and get straight into. Wide variety of weapons and enemies which help mix things up. The tournament mode is an excellent idea and will have it’s uses. Gauntlet mode is basically endless waves of enemies coming for you and the test tube in the centre of the stage, which you need to protect. This mode also allows other players to join you in the combat which is a big deal. The amount of replayability is good for what this game is. You have to unlock all the mutations which requires you to beat the game multiple times and the random generated levels helps with keeping the gameplay exciting. We also like the music options. There is Modern crap, old school and mix it. Mix it is currently our favourite.
As for the negatives, the level designs are too simple. Traversing the levels doesn’t feel exciting at all. Once a rare glitch happened which caused some enemies that died to stay on the field and not do anything but stand there. This stopped us from getting to the next level. Story wasn’t clear, some items like the red soul stones weren’t clear as to why we collect them and what we use them for. The space invaders style arcade game in the shop gets boring real quick and still don’t know why we should play it or what we even gaining for playing it. Only a few levels has this problem but because of lighting a square wall in a room may blend in with the floor colour making it hard to see. Lastly games like this benefit from and need co-op campaign. Hellmut: The badass from Hell is the kind of game you play together with a friend or family. Leaving co-op only for gauntlet mode isn’t good enough.
Overall Hellmut: The Badass from Hell is a good game, especially for the size of the development team. It’s great for when you have a couple of hours to spend and want quick quite chaotic action. Nothing serious though. We would say 7/10 right now. Hellmut: The badass from Hell may have multiple mutations but even those can’t do a thing against… the ‘Earth Walk!’
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