Hellkid: review

Title

  • Format: iPhone
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Studio UFO
  • Developer Justnine
  • Players: 1

The iPhone as a gaming platform is a strange creature, it (like other handhelds) lends itself well to pick-up-and-play game mechanics; but can also hold its own with larger and more in-depth games. The game in question here though is Hellkid, and this one’s of the pick-up-and-play type. It gives a little bit of a story for the setting, but admittedly you could give any excuse as to why a small child from hell would be running around the place collecting ‘souls’. Maybe he wants to put them in a jar, and roll them down some steps to make them dizzy or possibly as a cooking ingredient for his mother. Whatever the reasons, the setup is simple; run, jump and collect.

Hellkid 1Hellkid has an extra mechanic at work within this simple set-up though, and that extra is swinging. Hellkid has an unusually long left arm and he uses this to traverse large gaps by throwing it out and grappling onto posts. This is where we found the game a little temperamental though, at times we found grabbing and swinging fine – but being able to control your swings is a lot easier said than done. We tried various ways of doing the double tap manoeuvre to find its commanding sweet spot, but everything we did seemed to have a random reaction. It’s clear from the patterns of souls on the screen that the grapple is controllable, but we struggled to find the best way of executing it for the best results. Because of this little gripe we found Hellkid to be more frustrating than fun, which is a real shame as it definitely has that ‘just one more go’ appeal to it.

Hellkid 3Like many games made for iPhone the word ‘addicting’ (ugh) has been firmly stapled to Hellkid’s forehead and with good reason. After your first go (and failure) you will instantly want to try again, then again, and again and again until you realise that unless you can get to grips (pun intended) with its grappling system you’ll never get very far. The unfortunate truth here though is that you’ll probably never find that controllable sweet spot that would see you soar through its levels with all the ease and grace of a pro-gamer. Instead you’ll be condemned to falling into the fiery pits of hell repeatedly because of your crazy Dhalsim arm that won’t behave itself. On the other hand you could ignore the patterns of the souls and just manage to get over the gaps with minimal point scoring, though this being a game that rates your abilities via your final score, that would seem to be a bit of an odd way of playing.

Hellkid 2It will cost you 59p to put Hellkid onto your phone, and considering we’ve seen Mars bars that cost more than that we’d say it’s well worth a look. It’s pretty to look at (some nice mode-7 scrolling) and is simple enough that anyone can understand its goal. For a five minute amusement while waiting on a bus or whatever this will get the job done. Putting it down after getting on said bus is a different story though and as mentioned before, don’t expect to become a master of it quickly. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!


3/5

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Written by R.Furie

Ross has been playing games since he can remember and has had games machines around him all his life. He's what we now refer to as "Old Skool" because he grew up playing games with a hand carved wooden joystick on a TV forged from rope and stone. Nourished on a diet of Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Joust, Gauntlet, Bomber Jack and other various wholesome arcades he has grown to become a versatile and open minded gamer. Favouring the style of open-world games he's sure VR can't be far away, and looks forward to attaching himself to a colostomy bag and slipping into a deep VR coma so he need never have to deal with real life again.

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