Hellpoint the thespian feast is a stand allows sequel chapter that started off as a Kickstarter that began to gain a lot of traction towards the end of 2020 with the demo being released on steam just over 6 months ago. Following on from the story of Hellpoint, The demo is set on a space station called Irid Novo which is located hugging a giant black hole in deep space. You play as a ‘spawn’ that is isolated on the station where the black hole spews monstrosities known as the thespians. Collecting gear, exploring rooms and killing thespians is your only hope of survival.
Whilst playing the game for the first time you will surely draw comparisons from 2 other well established franchises, Deep Space and Dark Souls. The overall aesthetics and story of the game definitely gives out deep space vibes with the general location of the station in deep space, the visuals of dark decrepit hallways and the pulsing blackhole beyond the station’s viewing platforms. Dark souls inspiration has left its mark on the objectives and combat seen during the demo although not as famously difficult as Dark Souls.
The story will have you slowly progressing through the space station whilst fighting thespians with varied levels of difficulty until you have defeated all the bosses. Weapons, armour and upgrades are loot based and will scale up as you progress. The combat itself has basic controls for striking, blocking and dodging however there is an emphasis on distance control and movement when battling bosses or large stacks. Thespians overal can close the gap on you very quickly and each enemy has a recognisable move set. Similarly to dark souls the first couple of levels will force you into the stick and move playstyle but once you have upgraded gear and a variety of weapons you can focus on ranged, tanking and 2 handed weapon builds. Checkpoints known as ‘rifts’ are spread out along your journey much like the dark soul campfires however they currently don’t heal your character. This keeps Hellpoints difficulty challenging to players despite combat being limiting and easier to master than Dark Souls.
One MASSIVE aspect of this demo is its replayability. Unlike most other newly released demos, or games for that matter, Hellpoint is a new experience every time you play it. Some of the main features that impressed me was as follows:
Thespians creatures spawn differently whenever you reload the game. If you come across a slow but hard hitting thespian in the next room and you set your gear accordingly, then make sure you don’t close the game if you need to leave your desk as you will come back, reload and walk into a fast moving projectile thrower.
Multiple paths through the station. Rooms have multiple access and exit points. Replaying the game and choosing other paths will lead you to anything from hidden areas, puzzles that give out loot and shortcuts that flank enemies.
Events based on real world time. You will notice that when you load the demo, your interface will show a clock relative to the time you are currently playing the game. Highlighted areas represent special events that can only be completed during a 1-2 hour period. The example I had whilst playing was between 2-4 in the afternoon, horde mode was activated. This meant that in some areas there was a drastic increase to the amount of thespians you will fight in any one room. This provides an extra challenge as well as unique loot drops and upgrades.
Despite how impressed I am with the replayability I do need to give a fair representation of the flaws, although do bear in mind that this is a demo and by the time you read this there may have been patches or better yet, you are reading from the far future and you have the full release.
The Thespian aesthetic design is nice however not overly varied, besides the bosses who do have some creative themes, I would find a hard time telling one alien blob from another. The controls, especially your ability to jump can be very unresponsive at times, and since there are some elements of platforming in the demo, it can be very frustrating. Shields and projectile builds are clearly the lease effective builds to blast through thespians. Finally during my own experience playing the demo I came across 3 seperate bugs on 8 different occasions, one of which can be game breaking. The first 2 bugs are related to audio queues and weapon appearance. Hellpoint makes great use of silence in the game however elements of music that do appear have the tendency to stick around a lot longer after combat or blow my eardrums randomly. Weapons with modifications can look distorted with some flickering and others having an afterglow that melts into the surrounding environment. The big glitch however is on 2 occasions there is a Thespian that will swallow you whole if you get too close. Normally he will eventually despise the taste and spit you out however with me I was stuck inside the creature swinging my weapon but doing no damage for about 5 mins before I had to restart.
However like I said before I understand that this is a demo and I wont get to snobby over my character being over chewed.
Hellpoint The Thespian Feast Demo
Hellpoint has incorporated insane amounts of replayability for a kickstarter demo and a great mesh of Dark Souls and Deep Space. If the full game has more polish then I expect The Thespian Feast will get a big boost in popularity.
- Unique loot drops
- Great use of eerie silence
- Lack of overall polish
- Very few effective builds
- 3 creature design (Mobs in particular)
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- Gameplay 0
- Narrative 0
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