Rising Hell is a vertical roguelite platformer on Xbox. It’s a violent, action-filled game, in which you play as one of three demons working to climb their way out of Hell, and as you climb, you fight various enemies, avoid traps, and defeat the lieutenants of Hell.
The gameplay itself is fun and decently varied, with each of the three unlockable characters coming with their own unique playstyle. Only one character is unlocked initially, Arok; his focus is on melee combat, and he has more health at the start of the run. The other two characters to unlock, Sydna and Zelos, are both ranged fighters. Sydna throws a series of balls that stick to enemies, while Zelos uses a blaster-style attack.
Out of the three, the one I found myself enjoying the most was Sydna. Her attacks allow for more variety in approaching combat when compared to Arok or Zelos. But I found Zelos easier to use with his increased attack range. It all comes down to personal preference, but I almost never picked a different character once I figured out which of the three I liked the most.
The one thing each of the characters share is a hellbreak move; a powerful down attack. The one issue I had with this move was that it’s very easy to trigger. For example, one way to activate it is by double jumping while on top of an enemy. The problem is, there are a lot of situations where you’ll just want to double jump without attacking, but if you happen to be on top of an enemy when you do, that attack actions instead. This then opens the player up to attacks. This is especially frustrating during boss fights when a single hit can do massive amounts of damage.
It is possible to play more methodically by identifying the attack patterns and then utilising a slower pace. But when you’re playing a game called Rising Hell and there is intense music playing to amp up the action, methodical is the last thing you have in mind. The problem is, that gets you killed more frequently, although it does keep the game fun.
The rest of the combat mechanics aren’t anything super special so I won’t go too in-depth with any of them. You can attack, double jump, hold onto walls, and perform hellbreak moves. Each of those function as one would expect. The controls aren’t as tight as they are in other platformers out there, but they don’t feel bad, and the variety of abilities and artifacts to pick up do change the gameplay up. My personal favorite is the item that causes electricity to chain from enemy to enemy with each hit.
What’s really unique about Rising Hell is found in the purchasing and levelling system. There are red souls, green souls, and Blight to collect. Red souls serve as the currency for each individual run. Each level has a store where traits can be bought that will increase damage, health, or soul drop rate. Green souls just exist to refill health and they arrive rather infrequently unless you get the right traits. And Blight is a rare drop that is used for a variety of unlockables.
During playthroughs, Blight can be used in stores to randomize the available traits for sale, which is great for finding specific abilities. Outside of each run, Blight is used to unlock each of the three characters. However, Blight can also unlock artifacts that will apply a buff and debuff at the beginning of each run. It’s a unique system that makes Blight valuable both during runs and outside of them.
As far as content goes, Rising Hell is a pretty short game. Each world can be beaten in around five to eight minutes and there are only three of them. Now, this isn’t to say Rising Hell is an easy game and after one run you can expect to have experienced everything the game has to offer, but it isn’t as expansive as some other games in the genre. There is also a conquest mode that offers challenges to complete (and some achievements for those who beat them), but many of these challenges don’t take a ton of time to complete.
That being said, this is what makes Rising Hell the perfect game for quick bursts of action; especially for those with tight schedules. I really enjoyed sitting down during my lunch break and playing through a few blasts of Rising Hell before getting back to work. In fact, because of how short each world is, I actually preferred not to sit down and play it for long periods of time. This is in stark contrast to other roguelites where a single run can take considerably longer.
There are also Agony levels to enjoy, which increase the difficulty, as well as a redemption mode that introduces three respawns into the run. Playing the redemption mode does decrease experience and Blight gain, and won’t unlock a new agony level, but it does make the game easier.
Rising Hell is a fun, challenging roguelite that is perfect for those with a full schedule. It’s not as expansive as some of the other roguelites available, but it’s still a great bit of fun and well worth a buy if you are looking for something new to try.
Take in Rising Hell with a purchase from the Xbox Store