By: John C. Mayberry
The massive, dark void of outer space offers up the limitless potential of various stories that leave a lasting, uneasy impression on anyone who reads them. Or when it comes to the Nintendo Switch version of Cradle Games’ Hellpoint, an even deeper and more disturbing experience for whoever plays it. Fear of the unknown can be extremely powerful, especially when it comes to the far reaches of the universe that have never been explored, leaving us all to wonder not only who or what else exists out there, but also leaving it up to our imaginations to conceive just how horrible the unknown truly is. Now imagine, if you will, some sick and twisted minds, who are able to not only comprehend such horrors, but also give them form and life in spectacularly terrifying virtual fashion.
The game’s events take place on the space station Irid Novo, seemingly abandoned and orbiting a black hole. As in most action RPG titles, Hellpoint revolves around a general plot of the player taking control of a humanoid creature awakening on Irid Novo, forced to battle the monstrosities that seem to have taken over the station while trying to discover what exactly led to the game’s current events. The combat-focused system players will utilize is easy to learn and offers countless strategic options to aid you in battle, complimented excellently by responsive controls. Although this game does have a fun combat system, it, like all other action RPGs, does still run the risk of being repetitive to some, especially if one finds themselves replaying the same area more than once.
Made even more appealing with the atmosphere of a dark and unsettling sci-fi nightmare, Hellpoint on Nintendo Switch is an action-RPG ideal for any fan of the genre that certainly stands up to the previously released versions on PC and other home consoles. Although not without its own set of faults, and admittedly with some degree of patience required, this is still something worth checking out. So, you know, once you’re done with homework or home from work, or what have you, get on Nintendo’s E-Shop and download this. See if you have what it takes to brave this galactic hell scape, uncover the mystery of the cosmic forces involved, and ultimately, survive.
Dark atmosphere – The feel of the game is dark, foreboding, and will put players in a nightmare scenario they’d be relieved exists in the virtual world only. Truly another perfect blend of the genres of horror and sci-fi that gives players an experience that invokes both wonder and dread.
Responsive controls – Player interface via easy-to-understand controls is responsive and does not lag in the least. Both light and heavy attacks as well as jumping, dodging, and overall, just making your way around is smooth and easy flowing, very ideal for an action RPG.
Graphics – Yet another great example of the Nintendo Switch’s graphics capability. Everything is sharp, clear, with the final product being something that adds that further degree of foreboding sci-fi horror to an already dark and foreboding game.
Violence factor – Although not the most important part of any game, games of a darker, more mature themed nature tend to go the more violent route, one in which Hellpoint does not disappoint. From the brutal and detailed sound effects, some sections of the environment, to the dispatching of enemies, the violence is something most would typically anticipate from anything horror and sci-fi related without over-doing it.
Glitchy – The movement at times can be choppy, which risks taking players out of the experience, and can also make gameplay more of a challenge on occasion. Movement aside, players will also notice that the playable character and any NPCs encountered can also phase through walls and solid objects.
No pause feature – There is no option to pause mid-game, which, although this may be a feature in many action RPGs, is still no less tedious to deal with, especially if you find yourself having to take a restroom or meal break. The only way for someone to take a break would be to make sure that they are in an area where there are no enemy characters or players which, depending on what enemies are present or how many of them there are, could take time.
Repetitive – Gameplay style is fun, this is not to be disputed, but like other action RPGs can be somewhat repetitive. Frustrating with this also is that if players aren’t careful, they can easily find themselves replaying a section over and over again, causing them to lose interest.
OVERALL SCORE – 7.5 out of 10
The Nintendo Switch version of Hellpoint is worth a play for the dedicated action RPG fan, so it’s not surprising they will likely be spending periods of time away from normal, everyday life immersing themselves in this game, with all its scary, cosmic goodness. However, the hardcore action RPG gamer is likely to be the most invested in playing through Hellpoint, as their patience levels and dedication can be seen by some as almost unmatched in the whole of the gaming community. It is this Zen-like state of gaming consciousness that is needed for anyone who wishes to start playing this game, but unfortunately this also may limit its appeal to the wider audience.