REVIEW – With this thought, I immediately described what Helheim is: it is an indie game that tries to be big and for the most part, it succeeded. It has its flaws, though, that’s not up for debate.
First, I’d like to ask: what is this tracking in the game? On Steam, there’s a topic of it already. It looks like the Unity engine (as Nilheim is running on it!) has some sort of tracking, but the developers are currently working on implementing an opt-out button in the game. I have never had such a weird start, but there’s a first for everything.
…could be the shorter version of the game’s name, and yes, that is indeed Norse mythology. If you played God of War last April, you are not that far off, aside from the quality and platform differences, though. In the story, all you need to know is that you have to help the ruler take the throne back, but the story is never the key seller point of such a game. Of course, everyone has changed, and you have to kill them, and gameplay-wise (which has three, or, after a playthrough, four difficulty levels), I really have to say that it resembles Diablo.
However, there are several issues here that I will touch upon a few hundred characters later, which is why I have a question mark altogether. There’s some Furi in the gameplay, too, as you can zip around with the press of a button. It increases the gameplay’s speed, which wasn’t moving at a pace of a slug, to begin with. I liked this aspect.
The intro looks hopeful – although the plot is built up with standstill images with barely any animation, the voice acting and the music felt good, I believe the combat music might become somewhat of an annoyance to some people… The result seems to fall apart when you get to the gameplay. The animations feel „hard” – I don’t think they are refined, and no, I’m not going to mention the challenge as a negative, because maybe it’s just me who is stupid. There are those blue flames that will block your path, too – if you see them, you have to kill every enemy in the area, or you will get stuck. And guess what? At one point, I did get stuck! I finished a ship level, and then I got to a point with those incubator-like things. They kept respawning, and the flames never disappeared! I tried inspecting every little pixel twice, to no avail. I asked myself: „what the hell is this crap?”.
Then I looked into Steam, and wow – others have the same issue, too! I’m not dissing Not a Number here (they would be the developers), because the game is currently available for nine dollars (or euros in my case), but it’s somewhat shameful to see such a glitch, and I think the fact that you can zip/dash, as well as reflect your attacks with your sword indefinitely without losing some mana, for example, is also providing some cheesing opportunities (you could turtle yourself out of some tough situations). I quickly have to mention that Helheim does have a bit of bullet hell gameplay to it, too. If you see a ton of bullets on the screen (which, thankfully, are easy to see with the isometric views, too!), then don’t worry, that’s not a glitch or a feature – that’s part of the gameplay. Don’t forget to pick the runes up, though – you cannot go back to get them, and they might have some minor balancing issues, too.
And here’s where I should rate the game. I’d honestly give it a 7 out of 10, but seeing how during the weekend, nobody even managed to plonk a full playthrough on YouTube, and since how I got stuck (and the developer didn’t respond to this subject yet…!), the goddess of death is now waiting to get a patch. Thus, in its current from, Helheim gets a 5.5 out of 10. Despite its flaws, it is entertaining, and the isometric bullet hell Diablo makes it sort of a Furi-light, but perhaps the stomping attack has some hitbox issues. I have no better idea at the moment than to wait for a patch because the situation is weird. (Okay, I have played games that came out as utter garbage, but the developer took my feedback to heart and tried fixing the game. That game is still “meh” after patching, and I could still beat it in 40 minutes, with the last two levels’ strategy taking most of the time…) Still, Furi looks and plays better at the moment than Helheim in its current state. Even with its mistakes, I recommend a purchase but you might not finish it if it doesn’t get patched.
+ Enjoyable, fast-paced gameplay
+ A love child of Furi and Diablo
+ Norse mythology
– I think it’s glitchy as I got stuck in it (and others got this issue, too!)
– Unity user tracking (but it is being worked upon at the moment)
– Balance and animation flaws
Developer: Not a Number
Genre: hack ‘n’ slash
Release date: February 1, 2019