Down to Hell logo and artwork

Down To Hell Review: Slash your way through hordes of demons

Red Dev Game Studio is responsible for bringing this 2D indie arcade slasher to the Nintendo Switch. Down To Hell is a single-player side-scrolling style game that’s strangely addictive but is it any good?

The game was released on 23rd December 2019 (It was available early access back in August 2019) so it’s pretty much a brand new release. It is at the time of writing, exclusive to the Nintendo Switch and you can find it for sale on the Nintendo eStore for £9.99 / $9.99. A bit of a bargain considering its barely 3 months old but before you go and spend your hard-earned cash read the rest of the review first, it’s not all that it seems to be.

So let’s get into our review of Down to Hell.

You play as a Knight who needs to fight his way through hell in order to rescue a girl who has, in the past, saved him. A bit cliche but let’s stick with it.

The game has two chapters, both chapters have several really short sections of navigating and jumping over ravines and such like before being attacked by demons. At the end of each section or chapter, if you like, you’ll make it to a fight with a boss. To make the fights a little easier you unlock weapons and spells along the way.

Down to Hell Gameplay Screenshot of soldier with sword

We start with probably the best feature of the game. The artwork. It’s great and the scenes are really pretty. The artists working on the graphics have done a great job and as others have mentioned, they are really talented indie artists.

Character design is another strong point, the movement of clothing and weaponry is smooth but some of the enemy character animations are stiff. It’s a real mixture of great and poor animation work and I can’t help but think they didn’t spend that long testing the game! However, the colours are vibrant yet hellish I really like it, it sets the tone and you for certain know you are heading Down To Hell!

Another thing that I like is the Health, Magic and Potion bars on the bottom left of the screen, they have been well designed and they add a bit of RPG likeness to the game.

Another good aspect of Down To Hell is the soundtrack. I really enjoyed it, the heavy metal music paired with the awesome scenery complement Down To Hell and the mood it creates. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is where the good bits of the game come to an end.

Down To Hell battle gameplay

It’s all a bit downhill from here I’m afraid. To me anyway. It’s a little disappointing because I think this game could have been great, but it feels rushed. I’d have loved Red Dev Game Studio to spend a bit longer working on the game to polish the bits that are letting it down.

For example, in a fight when it comes time for me to attack the enemy, I should press a button and my character should respond immediately. It feels like there’s a hell of a lot of input lag and I’m not sure if this is on purpose to make the game more difficult or a development and testing lapse. Either way, it’s not great.

It may just be that the game is just insanely difficult and I’m just not very good at it. If that is the case I can accept it. But what I can’t accept is that if the input lag has been added on purpose, then it’s poor form in my opinion. I love a game that gives me a bit of a challenge but the fight system in this game feels a little artificial. The only thing is, it makes me want to play it more to try and beat the game. So let’s take a closer look at the gameplay.

If you feel I’ve been overly harsh above, then I may redeem myself here. I do actually like the gameplay to some degree. The length of time it took me to finish the game was just over three and a half hours. It’s a good amount of content for this type of game.

Sword Slashing Mayhem with some sort of weird portal floating in the sky

The bosses are tough, as you’d expect but some of their moves are a little overpowered. Sometimes you’ll find yourself being able to block the repetitive moves and other times you’ll get wiped out in one hit. I quite like that though, final bosses should be difficult.

A games combat system can make or break it and this does neither, it’s simple but it doesn’t inspire me, it’s not good enough to capture my attention for more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time.

When the guys at FullSync sent me the game to review I was excited to get into it and play some awesome arcade-style slasher but as I’m writing this review, I can’t help but feel disappointed by a game that doesn’t feel completely polished or refined.

Yes, it’s an enjoyable game but in retrospect not one I’d revisit.

45%

The Down To Hell TL;DR:

  • Good artwork and vibrant deep reds look good against the gloomy background.
  • Input lag, fight system and other flaws aren’t great. The game feels unfinished.
  • Only £9.99 but there are far better slashers available for the Nintendo Switch.
  • Great heavy metal soundtrack by Polish bands.

Suggested Reading

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