Coming into E3, I did not expect that a trip to Hell would send me to gamer heaven. Yesterday's visit to the Sega booth was a refreshing one, as I was able to get my meaty paws on the devilishly fun little platformer Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit from French developer Arkedo Studios.
The premise: Ash is the newly christened bunny prince of Hell, and some compromising photos have been taken of him and his -- ahem -- rubber ducky fetish.
To kill the legacy of his plastic passion, Ash must vanquish the 100 monsters privy to his paparazzi faux pas before they spread the word and all of Hell finds out.
This game has personality coming out the ass. It seems almost inspired by Behemoth in that it combines a mischievous sense of humor and a bright, distinctive cartoon art style to create a game with an identity that is all its own.
As Arkedo Studio founder Camille Guermonprez tells me, their goal was to make a fun platformer like those he played when he was a kid, and to not take it too seriously. Certainly, they've achieved their goal. I'm completely enchanted by its combination of humor and comic violence.
The level design largely resembles an ant farm, with winding paths and occasional backtracking to newly opened areas, harkening valid comparisons to Metroidvania-style games. While Hell Yeah! takes place in Hell, its ten levels cover much more, including a robotic factory, water, and castle settings that have varying puzzles and baddies to fit the theme.
Puzzles and tricky time-based maneuvering will navigate you through each as you unlock doors to new paths by defeating more monsters. To change up the gameplay, different premises have been formed to take away or bestow new powers; for instance, the third level removes your previously collected guns, giving you a defensive jump ability to maneuver around the obstacles instead.
The monster battles themselves are pretty creative from boss to boss, and livened up by a wide range of delightful quick-time events as a final move to finish them. My verdict: say "fuck yes" to Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit.
Hell Yeah! is finished and due for a summer digital release on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and Steam. No price has been established yet.