The words ‘Rescue Chimps’ appear on my screen. I still don’t know who I am, what the nature of my weapon is, or who I’m supposed to be aiming at. I’ve been jumping off of buildings for the past 15 minutes after murdering business suit-clad mobs for no other reason than just ‘do it’
The game is High Hell and it’s pretty much designed to coordinate this feeling of discord within you. The colour bleed purposefully tears at the fabric of the game’s visuals, and the choppy sfx and thumping music feed into the adrenaline rush.
High Hell has numerous objectives for you to complete, all based around a city skyline full of baddies. They’re bad just because they are, but they also seem to be enforcing some kind of control on whoever lives below the monolithic towers, and most importantly… they’re messing with monkeys and goats.
I can forego a little bit of light 1984 information control (hell, it’s already happening so why not) but you don’t capture and brainwash chimps to shoot you with soul bullets out of a shotgun (bare with me.)
The first screenshot is evocative of the lull in blood rush I had, leading to this quaint moment when I decided to discover who I was. Some kind of weird androgynous masked alien by the looks of things. I know I have a battery pack on my back so I could be a cyborg for all I know.
The fun part about having a battery as my means to survive is that by killing people with my soul collecting shotgun I can restore my health on the job. Neat. This leads to a number of tight situations where a cheeky headshot could mean life or death if you’re swarmed by goons.
Cute DMEN appear in strange locales for me to collect for an indeterminate reason. Much like Superhot, jumping around the map and finding fun platforming secrets can lead to further joy. It seems like High Hell may be built for the speedrunner too, with an achievement for beating the game in 20 minutes.
The objectives range from the banal (sabotage the laptops, Mason) to the righteously absurd (Kill Dog Pimps & Rescue Virgin Goats) but they’re always fun if you can wrap yourself around the adrenaline pumping gameplay loop and find some satisfaction in it.
Whilst not as structurally sound as Hotline Miami or as polished as Superhot, High Hell carves out a weird, Doom-esque niche focused on high octane combat and a light heart.
At one point I had to fight a giant ‘Beezlebot’ and the simplicity of the boss fight and the tough health system made it a decent challenge. I could never blame the game, and that’s a good thing!
Mid-mission level transitions often have you causing some degree of mischief, and at one point you have to kill like eight monkeys with colanders on their heads because the meth dad has poisoned their brain with his electricity.
If you’re into that, then by jove will you revel in this bad boy.
This could be a lot of fun for the right customer. It’s a bit mindless and daft, but also has enough there to keep you playing for a decent amount of hours. Not quite up there with the Superhot’s and the Hotline Miami’s of the indie world, this in-between title could be worth a punt if you enjoy speedrunning or puzzle shooters.
Pick it up on Steam when it drops later today.