Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit Review

An emphasis on style over substance defines Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, though unfortunately even the stylish aspects have serious problems.

Revenge has never been so tedious. After salacious photos of Ash, the prince of hell, make their rounds in the underworld, the fiery rabbit goes on a quest to kill 100 creatures that are reveling in his embarrassment. Excessive violence follows you through the twisted worlds that make up this lengthy adventure. Enemies erupt in fountains of bubbling blood, and Ash has a crass witticism at the ready to make light of their torment. It's a preposterous setup, and Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit doesn't hold back from objectionable situations. But once you become numb to the juvenile antics, shallow gameplay derails your blood-splattering fun. Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Undead Rabbit relies on its immaturity to reel you in, but the poorly developed action makes your time spent in hell miserable.

Hell Yeah doesn't shy away from long story sequences. Ash trades insults with the various critters he meets during this 2D adventure, but the dialogue is so cringe-worthy that even trying to enjoy it on an ironic level is asking too much. References to outdated memes and dusty catchphrases populate every exchange, making you wonder if there's going to be an original utterance in the interminably long conversations. When Ash says, "Talk to the paw" (get it, because he's a rabbit!) or when one of the countless minigames commands you to "Om nom nom!" you can only shake your head. Hell Yeah tries to be humorous but relies on such tired material that you'll skip past the trite lines so you can get back to the action.

And, at least initially, the action holds its own. Hell Yeah is an expansive platformer in which you travel through a variety of off-the-wall locales connected by teleportation gates. Locked doors and impenetrable walls keep you from exploring the entire world from the get-go, so you have to hunt down the nasty creatures enjoying your humiliation to gain access to more of the map. Ash has a powerful repertoire of destructive tools from the beginning that become even more dangerous as you claw deeper into this nightmarish world. A handy saw circles your body at all times, allowing you to cleave through certain walls and weaker enemies without breaking a sweat. When a formidable baddie stands in your path, an arsenal of pain-dealing guns can make short work of him. A flamethrower, Gatling gun, missile launcher, and more are used to turn enemies into bloody piles of goop, and using your prodigious power to slay your oppressors carries with it some feral joy.

See, in Mortal Kombat, a little head popped up saying
See, in Mortal Kombat, a little head popped up saying "Toasty!"

It's a foundation for a savage adventure, but it's not long before the puerile antics become dull. The moment-to-moment action in Hell Yeah encompasses the basics needed in a platformer without any extra flair to make it special. Ash has a floaty jump that makes avoiding enemy projectiles or leaping to higher ground a cinch, and dual-stick aiming makes gunning down enemies while dancing about the playing field second nature. But the ease with which you traverse the worlds makes the various encounters feel like mindless busywork. The majority of enemies are little more than bugs splattering against your fast-moving windshield, and the jumping challenges don't demand the precision or immediacy that could have made them compelling.

Instead of being made up of enjoyable traversal and exploration, the majority of Hell Yeah features by-rote stretches that pad the overall length until you face the next of your many antagonists. It's when you square off against your 100 most hated enemies that Hell Yeah reveals its true colors, and, sadly, it's also when this adventure is at its weakest. Each of these creatures has a name and a backstory, and you frequently trade barbs before a fight. But don't think that all of that buildup translates to an engrossing fight. Instead, you can dodge and counterattack against most of these enemies and come out on top in about five seconds. Your impressive arsenal is laughably large, considering how rarely you have to switch to a different gun.

When your foe's life is drained, a quick-time event is queued up, and your own sadness grows exponentially. A smattering of these minigames crop up throughout this adventure, but they're so shallow and slight that even spending a few seconds completing them becomes a drain. Rapidly mashing a button or trying to stop a moving meter at the right time is not fun, and the fact that these same situations surface repeatedly turns the simple act of dispatching enemies into a painful ordeal. When you murder your enemy, a brief cutscene plays out showing the horrible way in which you disposed of them. These pull you away from the action, forcing you to watch a few ho-hum evisceration sequences that repeat far too often. Normally, you can breeze through these QTEs, but a few of them are tricky enough that you might fail them a couple times. Trying to quickly find a target through a sniper scope relies more on luck than skill, and failing any of these activities damages Ash and makes you fight the enemy again until you whittle down their life once more.

Die and you get sent back to the last checkpoint. These respawn points are sprinkled liberally throughout the maps so you rarely have to trudge too far over the same ground, but there is one hiccup in this system. You frequently come back to life with only a small fraction of your health bar, and because energy recharge stations are often located far away and one hit can spell your doom, you have to gingerly traverse obstacles. Frustrations abound in Hell Yeah. From enemies that have to be juggled (and yet you can't see where they're going to fall), to wonky collision detection and annoying knockback attacks, Hell Yeah is constantly trying to stifle any enjoyment you could muster from this aggravating adventure.

The one element in which Hell Yeah shines is its puzzles. Most of the time, enemies can be defeated by blasting them a few times with a gun. But there are occasions when your brain is more important than your brawn, and figuring out how to progress takes a pinch of cunning. You may have to zoom out the screen to show a love-starved creature that he's all alone in the universe, or push a fireball-flinging pyramid through teleporters, and these moments of contemplation are a happy respite from the tediousness that encompasses the rest of your travels.

Defeated enemies land in The Island, a place of quiet servitude where you assign tasks for your own gain to the creatures that dared stand against you. If you want more treasures to purchase at the gift shop or energy if your life is getting drained too quickly, then make sure you have a monster working in a section that doles out the rewards you most desire. It's a neat idea, and seeing your demoralized foes doing busywork on your behalf is a clever way to reintroduce vanquished baddies, but the presents you receive don't have much impact on your adventure. Plus, you can assign only 80 monsters at a time to do your work, and because there are 100 in the game, one fifth of them might sit around doing nothing.

Don't shoot the shell! The darn thing is clearly made of metal.
Don't shoot the shell! The darn thing is clearly made of metal.

Hell Yeah is a convoluted mess that throws many different elements together in the hope that something worthwhile emerges, and in no place is that more apparent than in the visual design. Colorful, cartoonish worlds and creatures give this adventure a unique look, but all too often, the confluence of colors and special effects makes it tricky to see what you're doing. Every inch of the screen is populated by shiny, sparkly, eye-catching distractions, and just understanding where you are and what dangers lie before you is an exercise in frustration. The most important aspect of artistic design is to quickly and efficiently communicate what's going on, and Hell Yeah is an utter failure in that regard.

The most egregious problem with Hell Yeah is that it's not fun to play. A slew of shallow ideas thrown into one game do not make for a worthwhile experience. Whether you're completing simple quick-time events, defeating brain-dead monsters, slowly jumping between easy-to-reach platforms, or reading the meme-ridden text, it's clear that Hell Yeah is trying to hide its lack of depth through variety and style. With a greater emphasis on puzzle solving, Hell Yeah could have been entertaining. But because few of the elements are enjoyable, you shuffle from one tedious activity to another, waiting for a satisfying moment that rarely comes. Sinner or saint, you are transported to the underworld in Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit and it doesn't even apologize for making you suffer.

The Good
Responsive controls
Interesting puzzles
The Bad
Awful quick-time events
Distracting visual design
Verbose, cliche dialogue
The Island management subgame is nearly worthless
Punishing checkpoint system
4
Poor
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Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit More Info

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  • First Released Sep 25, 2012
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Hell Yeah! is a crazy action-adventure platformer set in Hell.
    6.9
    Average Rating102 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Arkedo Studio
    Published by:
    Sega
    Genre(s):
    Platformer, 2D, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    Blood and Gore, Crude Humor, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence