Hades is the most recent venture from hit developer Supergiant Games. Leaving a long stint in early access and following on from games like Bastion, Transistor and Pyre, it’s their biggest departure yet. Largely, this is due in part to its ambitious scope and foray into new territory with Hades fitting into the rogue-like genre. Oh, and it’s all set in the Greek God filled underworld. Expect a hellishly good time.
Within The Underworld, players will control Zagreus, the immortal son of the Greek god Hades. Tired of his monotonous life full of administration work and chatting with other godly relatives, both close and distant, young Zag wants out. He’s even discovered that his mother is not the person who’s raised him all these years. Zagreus journeys out, working towards his (one of many) escapes. That’s not to say his patriarch won’t cause some trouble for him along the way – he will, relentlessly so, at just about every turn.
Hades is what’s described by Supergiant Games as a ‘God-like rogue-like.’ This term is just a little bit of fun, but it captures the game brilliantly. Sure, Zagreus is a powerful and budding immortal, but he won’t travel without challenges. In his escape attempts, he’ll be faced with a wide variety of enemies and bosses all hellbent on stopping him in his path. With your resources and health limited in your first few runs, you can expect to have your health picked to 0 and booted back to the hub that is The House of Hades a lot. This is to be expected: Hades is a game all about dying over and over and over again, aiming to finally nail that perfect run.
A hellish Groundhog day
What’s really to love about this aspect is that it makes sense in-universe, and is quite fun to experience. When you’re defeated, you’re sent through a portal of blood on the floor only to end up back at the House of Hades. Zag slowly steps out of the giant blood pool, drip drying himself off and making his way through the house again. Friendly Gods around the house will chat with you and quietly tell you they’re rooting for you to escape and find your mother. Walk past Hades’ desk and he hurls insults at you and dares you to try again. It’s a hilarious and likable concept alone.
Hades is more than happy for you to at least try to leave, but that doesn’t mean he won’t put you through a challenging Groundhog Day. Fight the same enemies, be challenged by the same bosses hired by your father, and hopefully make it a little further this time. Rest assured, Hades will always be there when you return, saying something to the likes of “Oh, you again?“