Playing as a knight that was saved by a random woman and wants to return the favor, Down to Hell is a combat-focused digital download with a demonic theme. From a presentation stand point, the game looks great and the heavy metal soundtrack sounds even better. Unfortunately, combat, which is the meat of the gameplay, is a sloppy mess at best.
Down to Hell is trying to be something like a 2D classic God of War, focusing on light and heavy attacks with the ability to produce some combos. For a game that puts so much emphasis on fighting bloody demons, it is a shame and a waste that combat is never fun. There is no weight to each attack as the protagonist loosely flails his arms with a sword attached to the end. There is an attempt to make the combat a deeper experience by adding magic and a combo system, but nothing ever feels right, as if a rag doll is fighting marionette puppets. There is a parry system in place but none of it will matter since button mashing or using hit-and-run tactics usually work best anyway.
Making matters worse, platforming is also unresponsive and unfair. The player has the ability to dash with use of the trigger button, which can create a bigger jump, but pulling off these mandatory leaps is random – sometimes you will clear the gap, sometimes you will jump with the standard distance and height. Hazards are also annoying and are simply there to cause frustration, like plants that instantly kill but look like non-interactive background art, or cheap insta-kill pits.
For a game that isn’t very fun to play, it sure does look good. The art style is not only filled with bloody personality, the environments and backgrounds look spectacular. The heavy metal soundtrack, whether you like that type of music or not, fits the visuals of the game perfectly. There are even moments of quality voice acting. It is just too bad the quality presentation didn’t extend into the gameplay.
If you see any screenshot or trailer for Down to Hell, it looks like an awesome must-play game. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving and they are not everything. Clearly inspired by the Souls titles and other combat heavy action games, this Switch eShop title aims high, has the right form, but then trips right out of the gate. There is no heaven in this hell.
Not As Good As: it looks from any screenshot or trailer
Wait For It: Souls to go 2D
Also Try: Sesame Street: 1-2-3 (NES)