Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit was developed by Arkedo Studios and published by SEGA. It was released on Spmber 25, 2012 for $9.99. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is a crazy adventure right from the start. You are Ash, Prince of Hell, it is your job to maintain an evil appearance and make sure Hell is, well, Hell. Ash has a secret, a dark one, he loves rubber duckies. After a paparazzi takes a compromising photo of Ash and his little yellow friend, he must do what any ruler of Hell must do, make them pay.
The developers Arkedo take you to a world that is vibrant, bright and hilarious. The art style and crude humor will take you right back to the 90′s, reminding you of shows like Aaahh! Real Monsters and games like Mortal Kombat all within 10 minutes of each other. This journey of vengeance against those who have scene your photo will take you from the dark fiery pits of Hell, to bright rainbow filled parts of…Hell? You never know what to expect around the next corner, as you travel in your death-wheel carting your huge arsenal of weapons.
Here’s what we liked:
Gameplay – Hell Yeah! uses the tried and true ‘Metroidvania’ formula. For those that don’t know what this means, basically, you will find spots that you can’t access yet, requiring you to backtrack later in the game once new abilities have been discovered/unlocked. This is something that is never tedious and is rather streamlined with the story. You will never find yourself frustrated thinking you have the ability to get somewhere you can’t. They make it clear, here is a place you can go, but not quite yet. You travel for most of the game in a saw like wheel, that allows you to stick to walls, melee enemies and even drill through certain objects. It also acts as a jet pack allowing you to jump higher the longer you hold down the button. When not in the wheel you will be weaponless, so watch out. When on foot, the classic double jump makes an appearance as well as the much needed and sometimes frustrating wall jump.
Storyline – The story of a dead rabbit prince from Hell has never been told before. Keeping it short and sweet, you never feel overwhelmed, always knowing what you are doing and why. Arkedo does a good job at making you want to accompany Ash on his journey as he hunts down those who dare lay eyes on him and his beloved ducky. Giving you just enough to stay interested, but not so much that you feel distracted from why you are here—to play a game.
Finishing moves – How Ash gets to finish off the main baddies, is a ‘bloody’ good time, creating some of the most memorable moments in the game. These hellish, yet cuddly creatures get killed off in such horrific and humorous manners. Each death scene offered is original in its own way, even when it is blatantly ripping off some other franchise. These glimpses are welcomed and actually become something you are constantly looking for.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – Hell Yeah! snatches ideas and inspiration from many moments in gaming history. Every time one happens, you know that it just happened, you’re not asking yourself if that was or wasn’t some kind of reference. They are obvious and that is a good thing. Music, level design, jokes, all of it has sprinkles of games past in it.
Here’s what we didn’t like:
Weapons – There are several weapons to choose from: grenade and missile launchers, a gatling gun, even a beefed up super-soaker that sprays holly water. The selection is there, though the desire, urge and need to switch between them is not. For the most part no one gun feels better then the next, causing you to decide which one you like the best and stick with it. This may be a good thing, the process of switching guns is horrendous, being completely locked to one button [L1]. You will find yourself endlessly cycling through your collection of guns, only to accidentally pass the one you want. Forcing you once again to go through the full rotation, something that could have easily been avoided.
Controls – In a game with so many platforming aspects, control of your character needs to be spot on. Something that Hell Yeah! never quite grasps. Everything you do in this game feels, familiar and foreign all at the same time. Familiar because it is definitely not the first game of its kind, but foreign because it doesn’t respond the way you expect it too. You constantly have a floaty feel to everything, from starting to stopping, shooting and aiming, even jumping, never quite feeling precise and more like luck than anything.
Mini games – These things seem like a great idea, at first, a simple break in the gameplay, an opportunity to have a little quirky fun. They quickly become annoying and repetitive, doing nothing more then breaking the flow of the game. They also come with little to no explanation at all, leading to failure. One example of this is you have a bunch of eggs with lizards breaking out of three of the eggs. You must pick what is different about the picture with your magnifying glass. So of course you try and compare the three identical lizards. It isn’t till the third or fourth try that you will finally notice the bunny ears coming out of one of the eggs. This can create huge frustration, failing the mini game causes damage to you [Ash], which could mean starting the whole fight all over again.
The Island – Once you defeat a boss, it is sent to ‘The Island’ to work for you. You will divide up the number of bosses between four places: mine [money], manor [life], lab [items], harbor [surprise]. This almost has a tamagotchi feel to it, requiring you to make sure that the monsters stay happy and calm. If any of them get mad or sad, they will no longer work, forcing you to send them to ‘The Tower’ to calm down or a beach resort to perk back up. It just feels pointless, something that was added in last minute to give more meat to the bones.
Loading times – These are horrendous, there is no need for it to load like a PSone game on a PSX. Loading times have been something companies have worked on for years to make them seamless and less obtrusive, but not here. They take forever, it is obvious Arkedo didn’t care if you liked them, they were using them as often as they could. Recent games like Borderlands 2 (just to name one), load massive areas that you can spend hours roaming before needing another load time. Hell Yeah! loads more often than you would like and each section that is being loaded can be explored in its entirety in less than 30 minutes. Just one more thing that breaks the flow of gameplay and keeps this from being a great game.
Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is similar to owning an expensive bike that has flat tires and no chain. Sure it has the potential to be something great, but it’s lacking some very key elements. Arkedo seemed to forget that at some point, you have to stop goofing off and making jokes, and get down to making a fully functional game. So many aspects of Hell Yeah! are great and deserve to be scene and enjoyed. These great moments are sadly covered by many flaws that become more and more prevalent as you continue to play. With so many things done wrong, it is hard to get to the good. When you do get there [the good moments], it is still hard to completely enjoy those moments for what they are worth.
Score: Try It!