A marine lost in space, left alone, with no one left to rely on, and with hordes of alien creatures and old comrades reanimated to hunt him down. This is one of the most classic and beloved narrative clichés we’ve been accustomed to in the entertainment world for a few years now, and it is on these solid foundations that the game we are going to cover today is based. Born from the creator of DoomRL – Doom, the Roguelike -, Jupiter Hell is a turn-based title with a particularly isometric view raw and fun that will test your strategic skills and your sadism, but let’s go and see the review right away.
Hell on Mart’s moon … er, Jupiter
As anticipated in the introduction, the author of Jupiter Hell And Kornel Kisielewicz, Polish boy who already in 2002 created a particularly interesting video game called Doom, the Roguelike. Obviously inspired by the well-known shooter saga, this title proposed everything in isometric and turn-based sauce, with a roguelike structure (therefore a new map, new weapons and new equipment for each game). Unfortunately this caused him a warning from Zenimax for improper use of the Doom logo, but by now the game was known, and therefore already had a decent fanbase in tow, a result that led the developer to create more than a decade after the Chaosforge study and to propose Jupiter Hell as a project on Kickstarter.
His new title, in fact, although devoid of any direct reference to Doom, it maintains many of its sensations and atmospheres, also improving the entire technical and sound sector, still raw in its youth project. In Jupiter Hell you will find all the dark sections full of monsters you are used to, where you will have to be careful of the amount of bullets and grenades you will have at your disposal since death could catch you at any moment, and it will be your task to be prepared for any eventuality. It may seem strange to you that all this tension and anxiety comes from a turn-based game, but trust us when we tell you that the production has been able to keep us in suspense.
The game uses the system already seen in the various Pokémon Mystery Dungeon (or also wanting in SuperHot), or with a world that will move all around our digital alter ego only when we too are performing any action, a peculiarity that allows on the one hand to be able to think about the next move or move to be made, and on the other to create enough tension in the player to put him in difficulty. Moreover, this difficulty is not at all obvious since, excluding the easy mode, all the others will require anyway a certain amount of concentration to be overcome, especially if we consider that if we were defeated we would lose all weapons, armor and equipment obtained during the game.
Roguelikes are known for their variety, Jupiter Hell on the other hand …
Obviously having to start a game all over again and without any sort of object is a common feature of the roguelike genre (although some tend to leave the freedom to be able to start with some particular weapon that has been unlocked along the way). These games are known for their enormous longevity, given by the variety of settings, loot and characterization of the character, who can rely on a multitude of objects that can be unlocked, a feature that unfortunately represents the first sore point from Jupiter Hell. The title, in fact, lacks a bit both in the number of weapons available and in the variety of settings, although the structure of the map changes every time.
Furthermore, there will only be classes available 3: the Marine, the slightly more “basic” and easy class, which focuses on recover health and stay alive, great for starting; the Scout, with which it is possible become invisible on command to carry out more tactical attacks, or to overcome an area without necessarily having to engage in a fight, useful when you are short of ammunition or life; and finally the Technician, which through the consumption of Power can create a blanket of smoke to disorient enemies and confuse them for surprise raids. It can therefore be seen how the quality is not lacking, and that there was some work behind this project, but perhaps a little more in terms of content would certainly not have spoiled.
Visually the game has a great impact. Despite being in isometric view, it manages to convey perfectly the feeling of anxiety which you should try walking through the various rooms and corridors to the elevator on the floor. This is also thanks to the dark areas that will reveal themselves only once you have walked them, putting the player always faced with the choice between exploring, and therefore risk coming face to face with many alien creatures, or try to pass only through the most free areas, but thus losing many loots and upgrades – in this game represented by the terminals – that could be convenient for you to continue in-game (note, however, that a “safer” path does not mean “without enemies”, you will still have to watch your back) .
The HUD and menu interface fit nicely with the rest of the game, staying a lot minimal but with a retro style, capable of offering a pleasant nostalgic feeling during the game. The soundtrack is also based on that of the classics Doom, an overwhelming metal base which increases in power especially during clashes to put hype in the player and increase his immersion in the play structure. Unfortunately, however, after a few hours of play this will begin to become a bit repetitive, and once the nostalgic phase has been overcome, you will no longer have too much interest in him.
So, summing up the creature by Chaosforge, we can say that the game, despite starting from an idea of almost 20 years ago, appears to be successful and proves capable of amuse both the hardcore players thanks to its higher difficulties, and the players a little more casual, allowing thanks to the easy mode and a very explanatory tutorial to get well into the mood of the title. Also great work on classes, weapons and enemies, in which there is a great effort to balance and make every game fun. But unfortunately it lacks some variety in the choice, which leads to significantly lower the longevity of this Jupiter Hell and soon enough to discover any differences in classes and equipment. If, on the other hand, you are interested in a bloody shooter, but which also allows you to play with some friends, we recommend you read our review on the new Back 4 Blood.