Welcome to the Underworld, home to furies, bone hydras, a three-headed dog and a multitude of restless souls. This indie game made shockwaves across the country, sweeping every indie game competition out of the water.
Let’s dive a closer look into Hades, a game made for making hell look like a jovial time.
1 - Visuals
For an indie game, the visuals are absolutely stunning. The game itself takes place in the multiple layers of the Underworld. Each layer is beautifully designed with all remnants of life and death. From the bone layers of Asphodel to the maze design of the Temple of Styx, no two layers are alike. Each offers stunning visuals with a slew of meticulously designed and ingeniously created characters.
And what happens when you die? Well, you go back to the start in the House of Hades, a customizable layout where you can make changes to your game and the interiors/exteriors of both the House and the four layers above.
There are a lot of customization options that make each game your own, from the small golden urns carefully hidden in each level to the backgrounds of the layer which make you wish you could actually see what hell looks like.
Overall, the game’s visuals are absolutely stunning and any gamer looking for a treat for the eyes should definitely give Hades a shot.
We give Hades 5 stars for Visuals.
2 - Audio
There is a combination of music, dialogue and sound effects in Hades which make the game unique compared to other games I’ve played in the past.
First, I must gush on the music. As a musician, every game’s score is so vital to me. Upon completion, I immediately turned to Spotify to see if there is a soundtrack I can listen to on my way to work. Sure enough, there was.
Hades has a unique feature that many games do not: its combination of score and story. As in Greek mythology, the lovers Orpheus and Eurydice make songs of sorrow and loss – something that provides a bit of solace in between runs. In addition, each level keeps a similar score which ramps up in symphonic harmony.
Furthermore, the dialogue between characters is memorable. With a diverse cast of voice actors, each providing a unique voice for the deities and immortals, Hades has some memorable dialogue that will stand out for years to come.
We give Hades 5 Stars for Audio.
3 - Story/Progression
Oh boy. There’s a lot to comprehend here. Most games like this may not even have a story, but this one definitely does. The story of Hades is simple: Prince Zagreus hates the Underworld and wants to live on Olympus with his relatives. Unfortunately for him, his father is the aforementioned God of the Dead and will do anything (and I mean anything) to keep him from leaving. This includes sending furies to tear him to shreds, locking him out of important rooms, and even throwing down the gauntlet to face his son head on.
The more you die, the more of the story you begin to develop. You learn more about Zagreus’s family situation and meet a cast of colorful characters from Sisyphus to Dusa.
Furthermore, every reward unlocked gives an interaction with an Olympian and every death triggers witty remarks from the quirky inhabitants of the Underworld. The dialogue makes you want to die each time to unlock the full story.
Hades is a game rich with story and has the storyteller in me clamoring for more from all Underworld families involved.
We give Hades 5 stars for Story.
4 - Gameplay
I could easily go on and make an entire article about how to play Hades. That’s how sheerly brilliant the game’s designs and concepts are. The mechanics are simple, though difficult to master. Zagreus has four basic abilities depending on his weapon of choice: a main attack, a special ability, a dash forward and a Cast which can change depending on what specs are used. With six weapons to choose from including the blade of Stygeus and the Rail Gun, no two runs are the same.
Zagreus doesn’t go through this fight alone. His family of Olympian gods offer boons to enhance runs by increasing his strength. From Dionysus’s AOE damage to Athena’s deflecting abilities, every strategy can play a large influence in how you proceed in the game.
The friendlier you become, the more gifts to enhance your run. Characters like Nyx offer you a charm which increases damage when you hit an enemy from behind. Even Cerberus gives you its collar to increase your health by a rather large sum.
And the world of Hades also grows as you master each mechanic. Certain bosses get swapped out to unlock new hidden fights, gods offer varying strength boons; even the use of Titan’s Blood changes gameplay dramatically.
Overall, while it does take a bit of getting used to, Hades is a brilliantly-designed game that has something for everyone.
We give Hades 5 stars for Gameplay.
5 - Context
Why on Earth are we covering a game that takes us out of the real world and into the mythological realm of the gods? Well, simply put: why the hell not. (I’ll see myself out.)
Hades is an indie game, but it takes the indie game principle to an entirely new level. It offers brand new challenges for new players of the scene (like myself) and offers veteran players a chance to have a new challenge.
There’s a lot to unpack with Hades, but in short, it’s undoubtedly a well-crafted game which leaves everyone on the edge of their seats.
We give Hades 5 stars for Context.
I can go on and on about Hades. It’s beautifully written, challenging in gameplay and just leaves me wanting more. Prince Zagreus’ coming of age story spent diving through the depths of the Underworld is one that’s relatable for people of all ages (minus the demigod aspect.) I find myself constantly changing my strategies by using new weapons and techniques to better my understanding of the game for future runs. The game just keeps giving.
Hades is a must-have for all gamers and we cannot recommend this game enough.