For a very long time, the “metroidvania” genre consisted mainly of two series and that was about it. Those series were obviously Metroid and Castlevania. However, as downloadable games became more and more popular, small and independent developers began to latch on to the genre. With games like Shadow Complex and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet on downloadable services, fans of the genre have never had it better. Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is a metroidvania style game being developed by Arkedo Studio and published by Sega, and I got an opportunity to play the game on the show floor at PAX East 2012.
You play as Ash, an undead Rabbit who just happens to be the prince of hell. After compromising photos of him get leaked onto the “Hellternet”, he sets off to kill all the demon’s of hell, rather than admit the photos are genuine. While the game is most easily described as a metroidvania, it’s not as exact as something like Shadow Complex. For one, the game consists of more than just one area. There are several main levels in the game, though each area has what you’d typically find in a metroidvania style game; a maze-like layout with items and power-ups hidden all over, some of which will be required to progress forward in the game.
Early on in the demo, Ash gets a hold of the chainsaw jet-pack, which is both a weapon and means of transportation. It even allows you to break through certain types of walls, and this seems like it will be the primary tool at your disposal for the whole game. As you progress through the game, you will be upgrading the chainsaw jet-pack and unlocking other types of power-ups. Each time you get to a boss, you will engage in one of 35 mini games and get a unique kill animation every time. The game controls fairly well, and after a little bit of adjusting to how the chainsaw jet-pack handled, the controls seemed responsive.
I think a big selling point, for me at least, is the over the top nature of the game along with the humor. At first glance it may seem like a typical cartoony platformer, but it certainly is not. There is plenty of crude humor and innuendo, and most of it seemed to work. Another thing I appreciated were all the nods to other games, like a character named Poy Poy (a reference to the Japanese puzzle game Puyo Puyo), and a crack about collecting 7 magic emeralds. Obviously gameplay and level design is most important in game like this, but having this type of humor is nice added bonus.
The demo for Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit was not terribly long, but I feel it was enough to get a good sense of what exactly the game will be like, and I have to say, I think it looks pretty awesome. The style of game is absolutely a perfect fit for this type of downloadable experience, and the gameplay, colorful and bloody graphics, and tongue in cheek tone make this game one to watch out for. Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit will be heading to Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and Steam this summer.