“When demon girls are involved, no price is high enough.” But luckily for us, this hot indie puzzle game by Polish developer vanripper is free! Helltaker has taken the internet by storm in the past month since its release. It’s heavily marketable just from its anime demon girls in red shirts and black suits, but the hell-aesthetic title doesn’t stop there.
The story is its own classic tale of the Helltaker, a man who wakes one day with the realization of what he’s always wanted: a harem of demon girls. Our white suited macho man ventures down through the depths of hell, traversing the dangerous dungeons and winning over murderous troublemakers. He knows it’s a risky endeavor. Even if he survives hell, the women are more likely to sledgehammer his knees and torture him. But hey, what a way to go, right?
Helltaker is witty, energetic, and unforgiving
The gameplay itself is simple and fast-paced. On each floor, you find yourself in a puzzle labyrinth with a limited number of moves before damnation. Your mission is to fight skeletons, kick rocks, find keys, and avoid spikes to reach the demon girls.
Once you finally strike up a conversation, you have to use your silver tongue to flirt with the quirky cast. Use your smoothest pick-up line or pancakes and turn-based strategy games to add them to your growing harem. Screw it up, and the girls find creative ways to murder and torture you for a bad end. In either case the dialogue is witty and energetic, leaving you craving more each time.
Fortunately you can consult your existing harem for hints on future puzzles. While not actually helpful for solutions these nice little bonus scenes deepen your connections with each demon. From lustful murderer and Cerberus triplets to a literal “bitch demon” and the CEO of Hell, there’s someone in the Helltaker cast that appeals to you. Even if you don’t know the game, you’ve probably seen fanart of it already. Twitter artists absolutely love these demon girls!
While the rules of the puzzle are simple, the game isn’t forgiving. All routes seem to require the maximum amount of moves even if there’s multiple ways there. It makes the game frustrating at times especially given the lack of helpful hints. Thankfully, there’s a skip button in the pause menu which is even referenced multiple times in the dialogue.
A fiery, unique experience
The short game grows on you long before its dynamic Undertale-like final battle with a Guilty Gear inspired boss. The pounding, addictive soundtrack by Mittsies mixed with the puzzle hell scenery and demon waifus cheering you on makes for a fiery, unique experience. Despite its short 1-2 hour length, Helltaker is a stylistic adventure through its own Dante’s Inferno journey that sticks with you long after. Grab some chocolate pancakes and watch out for sharp-dressed backstabbing demon girls.
While the game is free on Steam, you can support the developer by purchasing some bonus development content. The digital artbook, a bonus pancake recipe comic, and all the in-game sprites are available as a $10 DLC.