Review
Episode

HELLBOY WEB OF WYRD has great vibes but the roguelite gameplay needs more variety

Tonally you couldn't do better than the cel shaded chunky world of the Wyrd but retracing your steps again and again is far too similar.

October 20, 2023 11:00 AM

I worked in a comic shop back before there was the massive global superhero machine of film and television.

Back then most of the super hero comics were pretty daggy, but you know what was cool? The small press titles like Image and Dark Horse and I loved paging through each new issue when they arrived.

The dark and rough world of Hellboy was so appealing, occultist history and a bunch of weirdos who want to save the world? Yes please.

WEB OF WYRD captures that feeling pretty nicely, but unfortunately despite a few bright spots early on, the gameplay gets too familiar and repetitive even for a roguelite.

Lance Reddick lends his voice to the big red fella this time round, in what must be one of his last performances before he died, and brings a nice twist to his version of Hellboy. All the voice performances are great in fact with notable actors Steve Blum (Cowboy Bebop) and Cissy Jones (FIREWATCH, LIFE IS STRANGE) really painting an interesting believable world.

Each of the character interactions are pretty simple visual novel style static shots of standing characters, which stylistically matches pretty nicely with the comic style though it would have been nice to see some basic movement during these conversations. Even playing with the comic panels aesthetic a bit more might have given it a tiny bit more dynamism.

Visually this game looks it has been pulled from a trade paperback with a really clever look which allows the set pieces and levels to feel different even if they are only made up of a handful of parts. Which is very lucky because you're going to be running through these rooms again and again.

The threads of fate are being tampered with and it's up to you to clobber your way through psychic battlegrounds of trauma and pain to unravel the truth.

Steve Blum who plays Lucky is one of the many great characters who form the BPRD.

Roguelites and roguelikes have to be a bit repetitive by their nature, you're running the same thing again and again to make incremental progress as a player.

Some of the best examples of this genre make it feel like you've got a huge array of possibilities and even give you a bit of choice about how you progress.

HELLBOY WEB OF WYRD isn't that.

There are multiple different biomes in some pretty cool styles, medieval Italian catacombs, Scottish moors, subway tunnels and sunken cities, but ultimately that's mostly just set dressing. Each are laid out in a similar room - hallway - room - hallway layout, with a few branching paths, that ultimately feel like little side steps rather than different possibilities.

Within these levels you'll have to fight your way through a room of "mooks" completely inconsequential small enemies that really only serve as a shield pickup source and a larger main bad guy that broadly falls into the categories of fighter, fighter with shield, big tanky lad or ranged wizard.

They are pretty much the same in all the different environments, reskinned for their thematic backdrop, so you may as well just turn all the assistance on and steamroll your way through.

The combat mostly comes down to a punch punch punch, a few dodges or blocks then shoot shoot, run away reload your gun and try again. Every time.

The final bosses of each zone play pretty much the same just longer.

It's a bit of a shame because it feels so close to something really cool and fighting as Hellboy should be incredible but it ends up being just fine.

In this level no joke there is a zombie werewolf, boar werewolf, rabbit werewolf all which look pretty much the same.

If you're looking for a game that really doesn't ask that much from you, with a cool setting and lore then HELLBOY WEB OF WYRD might be that game, it's especially good for this on a portable console I played it entirely on the Steam Deck and it runs great. You might want to try it out on the Switch.

There are plenty of better hookier roguelites around though, so lean in an enjoy the comic setting and make the dungeon crawling as easy as you possibly can and experience the story.

A copy of HELLBOY WEB OF WYRD on PC was provided to SIFTER for the purpose of this review. All screenshots captured on Steam Deck

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roguelite

Hellboy Web of Wyrd

PC
SWITCH
XBOX SERIES X|S
PlayStation 5
Developer:
Upstream Arcade
Publisher:
Good Shepherd Entertainment
Release Date:
October 18, 2023
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