My experience with new downloadable IPs is this: they’re either quite good (Shank) or deceptively lame (Awesomenauts). After playing a string of downloadables that weren’t worth the time or dough, I can happily state that Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit falls into the first camp. Arkedo and SEGA’s cartoony 2D action-platformer isn’t the most thrilling game released in 2012, but it’s well worth the $15 asking price as it displays old school gaming muscle.
In Hell Yeah! you play as Ash, the prince of Hell, who wages a bloody war against 100 boss monsters after photos of him playing with a rubber duckie leaks to the internet. Ash dispenses payback with a giant buzzsaw that grinds enemies to mince meat and provides an extra boost while jumping, like a short burst jet pack. Ash can jump and double jump through levels, and controlling him in the air is both an enjoyable and essential gameplay element. Throughout Hell Yeah! you destroy monsters, which results in new areas opening up that allows you to travel further and deeper into the depths of hell.
While doing so, you’ll collect cash that lets you upgrade your arsenal. Aside from the buzzsaw, Ash can purchase gatling guns, machine guns, rocket launchers, and more. Each weapons uses a “cool down” system; you don’t collect ammunition, but you’re weapons run out of “ammo” and refill after you wait a little while. I prefer the cool down system as it allows players to stay active and not have to worry about finding ammo, which can get incredibly distracting. You can also purchase costume pieces for customizing Ash’s appearance.
There is a darkside, however. Gamers without out the control mastery that comes with a hardcore pedigree will find Hell Yeah! troublesome. Firstly, you cannot use the D-Pad to move; you’re forced to play the platformer with an analog stick. It’s not terribly detrimental, but it would have helped greatly if the D-Pad was a viable control option. Next, Hell Yeah! utilizes both analog sticks. The right stick provides your weapons with an aim trajectory. You point the right stick in the direction in which you wish to shoot, and the R1 button acts as your trigger. You’ll shoot a bunch, as well as jump and weapon cycle, so everything must work in unison to be effective. This may prove difficult to casuals, but the hardcore will welcome the challenge. Warning: you’re going to die a lot. Fortunately, Hell Yeah! uses a checkpoint system, so while deaths are incredibly annoying, you’re able to jump right back into combat.
So, you’re probably curious about those 100 boss monsters I mentioned earlier. They’re fun! While I won’t consider them “boss fights,” some feel much more like bosses than others. Some boss fights challenge your trigger finger and jump control, while others test your intelligence as they require you to decipher puzzle-style combat. What I found the most intriguing about these battles were the mini-games that would pop-up once the monster was drained of health. The biggest detriment of this system is that if you don’t ace the mini-game, the boss regains a small amount of health. Health that you must whittle down again.
Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is fun, twitchy, and amazing to look at. It also doesn’t hide it’s wonderful (if unrefined) sense of humor that taps Ren & Stimpy‘s wackiness and grossness. If you’re looking for a good action-platformer and want to blow up some monsters, plop down $15 and download this title.