Supergiant Games just keeps cranking out the hits!
I’ll be up-front here: I really should have written this yesterday. But I didn’t, and now I’ve got to write it tonight, at 9 p.m., after a long day of moving yet more furniture, feeling a vague haze of depression. So, I’m going to be brief in my description of Hades‘s many virtues.
A roguelike from the geniuses behind fantastic games like Bastion and Transistor, Hades sees Zagreus–son of the titular Greek god–attempting to escape the land of the dead.
There is a ton to love about this game. Combat is slick and satisfying, with a great roster of enemy types to deal with. Adding to the action is the fact that Zagreus has access to a wide variety of weapons and abilities. In addition to choosing your weapon at the start of each run (with options varying from sword to spear to bow to Captain America-style shield and more), you’ll slowly accumulate boons as you journey through the underworld. These boons, granted by various Olympian gods, have a huge range of different effects that you can mix and match to create unique and interesting loadouts.
The gods do more that grant boons, though. They also chat with Zagreus and help flesh out the game’s setting. In addition to the Olympians, there are various other NPCs to meet, both during your runs and in the abode of Hades himself (a sort of hub world that Zagreus is sent to upon death). Talking to these characters slowly advances the story, as well as filling the game’s codex.
Sometimes, while wandering the Stygian abyss, you’ll come across Nectar. This can be given to the various gods and shades in exchange for trinkets: pieces of gear that grant powerful buffs. Giving folks nectar also makes them like you more, though I haven’t gotten my relationship high enough with anyone to see how this pays of yet.
Nectar is one of several currency systems that allow you to make permanent progress despite the game’s roguelike nature. There’s also Darkness, which can spent for permanent stat buffs, and Cthonic Keys, which unlock new weapons and abilities. Even more special items have been hinted at, too, though again–I’m not far enough in to see how some of this stuff pays off. All I know is I got some Titan Blood and I feel like it’s going to be useful at some point.
The art and music are killer, too. I don’t… I don’t have a lot to say about them beyond that. They’re very good!
Well, there you have it, folks. If I’d been smart and written this ahead of time, I’d probably go into more detail about all the reasons I love this game. As things stand, though, I’ll just sum it up thusly: Hades combines a smart, snappy, and fun combat system with an intriguing, well-thought-out take on Greek myth. Dripping with style, alluring in plot, and an absolute joy to listen to (in terms of both music and voice work), this is another slam dunk from Supergiant Games. Don’t sleep on it!