Hell is Other Demons is a quaint little indie game with simple, yet satisfying gameplay. It’s a sort of 2D action-platformer about eliminating enemies in an arena. The game clearly focuses on providing a fun arcade-like experience that I’ve come to miss over the years. With a straightforward approach, it’s a title that does exactly what it says on the tin.
Hell is Other Demons provides a brief campaign that felt just long enough to satisfy, but fell short regardless. Unfortunately, the game lost its sheen after the penultimate boss. However, Hell is Other Demons excels with its responsive controls and chaotic gameplay. Along with the campaign mode, the game also features an arcade mode that functions with rogue-lite mechanics and unlockable characters. Despite the campaign losing steam near the end due to its repetition, Hell is Other Demons stresses replayability in a way it really caters to those willing to go the extra mile.
Mechanically, the combat is very straightforward. It simply boils defeating enemies by shooting, slashing or jumping on them while dodging their attacks. The game has a decent amount of enemy variation to keep it from feeling too stale. Gameplay does eventually feel a bit too simple, however, reducing the longevity. In the campaign mode, the loadout feature provides with some light RPG mechanics.
With the loadout, the game limits what the player can equip through the loadout points. Players obtain more points by purchasing them through the store with the maximum being 20 points. With each level featuring different environments and enemy waves, the game provides the player with the freedom to customize which skills and weapons to equip in each situation. It’s a simple, yet effective method for adding more choice to the core gameplay.
As the game progresses, the player obtains more weapons and skills through various shops. Currency is rewarded from defeating demons. Each regular level rates the players on whether they took damage, used their weapon effectively, and if they activated their ultimate attack. It adds a superb degree of replayability as each criterion gets increasingly harder to attain as the levels progress. The difficult levels synergize with the challenging rating system to incentivize practice as retrying levels provides more currency to obtain additional upgrades.
Combat is fun and frantic in a way reminiscent of old-school arcade games, but with some modern touch-ups. Movement features a dash, a double jump, a float, and a dive, Hell is Other Demons provides many options to tackle the various enemies thrown at you. Surprisingly, the game allows the player to remap controls, which made it even more enjoyable. It’s an excellent feature that really needs to be implemented into more titles.
Bosses appear occasionally and more often than not, they were fun challenges to overcome. With a variety of different end of level baddies, I had a blast figuring out how to deal with each of them. The customization provided by the loadout system resulted in many setups for them. Some loadouts would make an already arduous boss even harder, while others make victory a lot more attainable. With all of that in mind, the bosses were easily my favorite part of the gameplay.
Visually, the game is undoubtedly serviceable, though a bit busy at times due to the huge swarms of enemies. The bosses are beautifully designed embodiments of evil, while the basic enemies come off as noticeably bland in comparison. There are various level themes, including the sewers, a factory, and a graveyard that all add a little spice to the visuals. What comes to the music, it’s a definite home run. Gorgeous synth-heavy tracks evoke feelings of suspense, aggression, and fear.
Hell is Other Demons is a satisfying little game that manages to provide a quick dose of adrenaline on the go. The bite-sized levels make the game easy to pick up and play. With the challenging bosses, great loadout system, and heavy emphasis on replayability, the game has a lot going for it. It’s a shame that the repetitive nature of the core gameplay made it hard to maintain genuine interest. Regardless, Hell is Other Demons is definitely worth picking up for its addictive progression system as well as its highly enjoyable combat.