The developers at Cradle Game have created a visual treat with Hellpoint. From the moment I spawned for the first time, and you will respawn a lot in this game, I wanted to know more about the world. It has a creepy atmosphere, colorful sci-fi aesthetic, and spectacular looking vistas. But these things alone cannot prop the game up with its many flaws. This is our Hellpoint review.
My initial impression of Hellpoint was great. I wanted to know more about the mysterious Author and the station as it floated next to a black hole. Taking my first few steps out of the spawning area though I immediately found the beginning tutorial a bit clunky, having to interact with handprints on the wall for guidance felt odd. Eventually, I fumbled my way along until I found my first breach.
Once you access a breach in an area, it acts as your save point each time you connect to it. You can upgrade your stats and exchange axions (crystals) for infusion (currency). After some trial and error, and more than a few deaths, I found it best to return regularly to spend the infusion you have managed to collect. Otherwise, when you die, you will have to go back and collect the dropped infusion and possibly defeat your spirit that is wandering the nearby area. If you happen to die a second time before getting your infusion back then it is gone for good.
Character progression is pretty straightforward, spend infusion to increase your stats, which thereby increases your level. Once stat increases have been saved you cannot change them again from what I can tell. When at a breach you can click on help to learn about what each stat does, the information provided is pretty straight forward and clear. For my first build, I spread out my points to try out the different weapon types, which I am now starting to regret.
Weight is also something you will have to manage, so be careful about the armor you put on and the weapons you are wielding. Thankfully, once you unlock the observatory crafting becomes available, you can then break down any extra gear into components.
The game’s storyline is a slow burn and you will find yourself clearing areas then making your way back to a breach many times. Afterward, enemies will have respawned, rinse repeat until you are ready to take on a boss in any given area of the station. I found the pacing to slow for my taste and quickly started to lose interest in learning more about the station’s history and why I was here.
The timed phases that spawned more dangerous enemies or open otherwise locked doors are an interesting mechanic. But I found myself avoiding the new enemies rather than trying to take them down for extra resources. I also thought that the player notes left around the station were interesting but cryptic and mostly useless.
Combat in Hellpoint is clunky, sometimes dodging doesn’t work or when trying to line up enemies with a weapon it misses at the last moment because the camera angle shifted unexpectedly. Often, I would charge in swinging wildly then try to dodge away. The lock on key worked well enough, but most of the time I found it interfered with moving/dodging out of enemy attacks.
Once you learn an enemy’s attacks most fights become tedious unless you get caught in a swing by mistake or something bugs/glitches. The biggest challenge outside of boss fights was taking down your spirit, dead you can hit pretty hard compared to live you. Trying to use consumables as well tends to bug at times, leaving you to die horribly and then start the whole process of clearing an area over again.
Concerning gameplay and combat, the most fun I had was the boss fights. They have some interesting mechanics and each boss has been visually interesting. Keeping away from the first boss to warm up was a challenge. But the boss fights alone can’t carry the rest of the game.
Armor and weapons also look great, and I like that you could upgrade different equipment to better versions using the crafting system. There was some planning involved as well since you had to account for the stats needed to wield a new item. Eventually, you also get access to the Omnicube. The cube allows you to slot in different abilities, including the ability to teleport between different parts of the station.
I like Hellpoint, but it has some growing to do before I can recommend it for most gamers. If you are looking for a sci-fi souls-like RPG then maybe give it a go. The visuals are amazing and the sound is spot on. Replaying the different areas to grind out infusion gets boring quick though and the combat outside of boss fights doesn’t do the game any favors. There is a spark of an interesting story but it gets lost in the grind.
A game key was provided for the purpose of review.
COMPARE TO: Remnant: From Ther Ashes, Dark Souls