Action packed roguelikes have gained in popularity since The Binding of Isaac basically made the formula mainstream back in 2011. Games like Nuclear Throne and Enter the Gungeon started mixing it up with an emphasis on guns and bullet hell chaos, each with their own cult fan followings. To Hell with Hell is looking to throw its hat into the ring by entering Early Access today with an interesting variation on the formula.
You play as Natasia, daughter of Asmodius, ruler of hell. She has been called back to hell by her errant father, but isn’t too pleased by the prospect of having to serve him. Natasia seems to have not gotten the memo about modernizing female video game protagonists, as she’s bikini-clad, and looks almost underage with her large stylized head and smaller body. Despite traipsing into hell with just a bikini though, she’s tough enough to go toe-to-toe with Asmodius’ ranks.
To Hell with Hell is a roguelike, so that means randomly generated levels and death that sticks. There are some difficulty settings that allow a certain number of saves between levels, but even on the lowest difficulty you’re limited to a paltry six saves over the entire game. Even with six, you still have to use them strategically, as each level is full of Asmodius’ legions: demons, succubae, and all sorts of other gun and magic wielding baddies whose only goal is to shorten your run.
But you won’t be completely defenseless. Despite Natasia only thinking to wear a tiny bikini to hell, she’s a massive badass who knows how to fight. There are also bunch of different weapons to find to defend yourself with, like shotguns, machine guns, dart guns, etc. Sadly, the weapon variety is a little lacking right now, with guns rarely feeling satisfying to wield. Ammo is limited, and you can only carry two weapons at a time, whether they are melee or projectile based, so sometimes you may find yourself stuck in a nearly impossible (or sometimes impossible) situation. You might find that guns and swords alone may not give you the edge—luckily, Asmodius left a bunch of masks laying around, which Natasia can wear to gain new abilities.
To Hell with Hell’s ability giving masks are probably the most unique, and interesting part of To Hell with Hell. The masks that Natasia can pick up add to her longevity, and alter her abilities. Masks bestow different combat abilities, like different projectiles, dodges, etc. But they also bestow more unique abilities, like being able to spawn a doppelganger, or the ability to become invulnerable (but immobile) for a short amount of time. Some of these are certainly more helpful than others, and there are a good amount of masks to find and try.
As To Hell with Hell is in Early Access, it’s not quite done. It feels pretty complete right now—if not a little rough around the edges—but the developers have a solid plan going forward, laid out in their development roadmap on their Steam store page. The roadmap’s highlights include balance updates coming after people get their hands on the game, and either a centralized game hub or local co-op coming towards the end of the year. It’s an “either or” situation, so I’m really hoping they go with local co-op.
To Hell with Hell is still in Early Access, so it’s not feature complete. That said, what is there today is a solid and challenging action roguelike. The promise of co-op and continued developer support potentially make To Hell with Hell something special. If you want to check it out as it makes its way through Early Access, To Hell with Hell is available today on Steam.