Hades: An underworldly experience for gamers

Olivia Arnett, Staff Writer

The music swelling, the button mashing intensifies, dodging in between attack patterns, ignoring my own dangerously low health bar. The boss is so much closer, and I can reach the next area. Then death animation plays, and a sigh escapes me. Time to pet Cerberus, I guess, as we return to the House of Death. 

Hades is a rogue-like dungeon crawler from the top-down perspective, made by Supergiant Games creators of Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre. The game is playable on a plethora of platforms, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

The story and characters are based on Greek mythology with the player character, Zagreus, the son of Hades who’s always wanted out of the underworld. You follow his journey as he ascends upwards, with four major bosses stopping your ascent, collecting boons, more or fewer upgrades, gifts from your godly relatives granting power-ups but only for that run. Do you die? Time to get new boons.

If you collect enough of a specific god’s boon or specific boons between two gods, you can get even stronger boons with powerful effects. Perhaps you’ll find Chaos, who’ll give you a boon if you can handle a curse for a certain number of rooms. 

Along the way, you encounter other characters whom you can give the gift of ambrosia (there is a handful that you cannot do this for) from the shy Dusa to the kindly mentor Achilles and the large hell hound of the underworld Cerberus.

As of writing this, I’ve only beaten the final boss once; I’m at least better than game critiques who hardly get past the tutorials. Beating the final boss isn’t the true end of the game, alas, since the replayability is quite literally endless as there are so many items and upgrades to buy, or perhaps, you want to make the game even more challenging for yourself. The game has a system for that. 

I don’t play roguelikes often, but I found Hades really enjoyable, and while I did die plenty of times, I wasn’t upset since I could upgrade certain skills or buy some new decorations. If I didn’t have enough to do that, I could talk to the other characters who all have their own charm. 

My personal favorite was Cerberus, made sure to pet the big guy, give him a mat to lay on, toys, and most likely has the highest amount of Ambrosia of any other character of my playthrough. The mat and toys are just decorations, I know, but the dog deserves it.

What can I say, I’m a sucker for animal companions. 

The game is just really good, the visuals are great and it has some wonderful tracks. The voice actors all sound really good. I’m sure there are some mini side stories I’ve missed by not interacting with certain characters enough, but that’s just more to work towards. 

I’ve only beaten the game with the bow, and I find Elysium and the final boss the only real difficult fights. The last area is another story.

Gotta love rng looking for those satyr sacks. 

Whether you deny it or not, play it or not, Hades is quite the game; it did get all of those awards for a reason. 

It’s a very solid game if you’re into rouge-likes and/or dungeon crawlers. Even if you’ve never touched that type of game before it has aspects you can still enjoy. It can tend to feel repetitive if you have troubles getting over certain difficulty curves, but it’s all part of the fun.

Rating: 4.5/5 Paws