When it comes to downloadable titles, there is no surefire way to create a hit. This is definitely a blessing, because developers have been creating more and more unique content which simply can’t fly as triple-A retail material. Games like Journey and Mark of the Ninja have been refreshing reminders that developers don’t always need huge budgets and cookie cutter gameplay to be successful. But then there are experiences such as Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, which remind us that straying from the beaten path can produce some memorable moments for us to play through.
It is impossible to introduce gamers to Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit without sounding crazy, and that’s one of the game’s strengths. The sheer madness of the idea is enough to pique interest, but add in a hilariously maniacal experience that plays like a dream, and this becomes a downloadable title that gamers won’t want to miss.
So the story goes in a typical manner: Ash, the rabbit prince of Hell, has just taken power when a scandalous picture of him getting intimate with his rubber ducky in the tub hits the web. Taking the most sane approach, Ash heads into Hell to destroy the 100 creatures who have befouled their eyes with this image. Pretty normal, right? If that set-up doesn’t sound enticingly goofy, then Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit isn’t for you, because this is one game that adamantly refuses to be taken seriously.
Of course, none of this would matter if the gameplay didn’t live up to the premise (cue sad nod of the head to Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard). Luckily, the meat of the game is wholly satisfying, making it an entirely enjoyable experience that is nearly flawless. Each stage takes the form of a colorful locale, ranging from the typical fiery Hellscape to an industrial setting, all of which are beautifully animated. An insane amount of detail has been put into every level, and even small touches that might go unnoticed have been given the utmost care.
Each level has a Metroidvania feel, with platforming and some ultraviolence making up most of the action. Ash kills with style, riding around each stage in his personal circular saw, which can also be fitted with machine guns, grenade launchers and missiles. While destroying the monsters who stumbled upon his horrifying photo, a minigame similar to the ones found in Warioware is triggered, meaning each kill is hilariously unique. Whether Ash is summoning dinosaurs to finish the job or launching missiles from outer space, the beautiful animations and sheer wrongness make the game a blast.
To continue through each stage, Ash must kill a certain number of beasts, meaning that backtracking through levels is a must. This blow is softened by new abilities that are gained throughout the campaign, and can be purchased through the in-game shop. Coins and jewels are found throughout levels, but there is another interesting concept that plays into the amount of loot you carry. Each time a monster is killed, it is sent to a place called The Island, where it works certain jobs for Ash that benefit the campaign. Depending on where you set them to work, you could be gifted with coins, extra life, or other special goodies. It’s definitely a good idea in theory, but the menu based implementation can take away from the straightforward action that is the highlight of Hell Yeah!
There’s quite a bit of customization available for Ash as well, meaning players can change his circular saw ride into a donut or don a parliament wig. Of course, there are many more options available, all of which add to the goofiness of the game. The violence can be quite graphic, and I was honestly surprised to find that the game is only rated T. Believe me, I’m no prude when it comes to video game violence, but the amount of blood shed in the most insane (and laughable) manner is surprising. This doesn’t detract from the game at all, but it’s still a questionable rating.
The score that rocks through the game is fittingly heavy and kinetic, and it helps keep the energy from ever ebbing. Despite taking place in Hell, Hell Yeah! is surprisingly forgiving. Checkpoints are frequent, as are blood fountains that are used to recover health (fittingly measured by a meter that shouts “F**k! Blood!” when you’re about to die). That being said, you will die. A lot. Luckily, the aforementioned checkpoints help keep the game going, and the constant humor and fantastic gameplay keep deaths from feeling cheap. Boss battles, while not terribly difficult, are a bit cut and dry, but their infrequency makes them less of a nuisance and more of a break from each chaotic level.
Those who possess a sense of humor that can still regress back to lowbrow jokes will have more than a few laughs with Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit. Not only is it one of the most polished downloadable games to come out recently, but it also happens to be the funniest. Many moments had me doubled over in laughter, and knowing that the humor wasn’t compensating for anything made the game that much more enjoyable. Benefiting from a refreshing sense of immature humor and terrifically fun gameplay, this is one title that fans of unique content won’t want to overlook. Not unlike those pictures of Prince Ash diddling his rubber ducky.
This article is based on a copy of the game that we received for review purposes.
Benefiting from a refreshing sense of immature humor and terrifically fun gameplay, Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is one title that fans of unique content won't want to overlook.