Just recently there was a demo, now here’s a Helheim Hassle review – out now on the Nintendo Switch.
Either I’m easily pleased, or there’s been a wealth of genuinely excellent titles out quite recently. Among this list was yet another title I was keen to get my mitts on, and it didn’t disappoint.
I wasn’t quite sure whether Helheim Hassle was a platform game or adventure title, but what I remembered was a pretty slick teaser trailer than had me wanting more.
Helheim Hassle Review
As a fan of Nordic culture (that’s a very very broad term, so let’s whittle that down to Vikings), Helheim Hassle ran a familiar theme of the great warrior death, drinking beer and eating white chocolate in the halls of Valhalla, that all heroes aspire to.
Not our lad Bjørn.
You see, Bjørn is a pacifist and has an uncanny skill of avoiding a scrap. That’s a good thing, but when your culture embraces a glorious death versus some giants – your mother hoping to have her throat slit – you’d be right in believing you were the black sheep of the community.
He even has his own hiding spot – he’s that strategic. However, after a botched attempt at escaping, he somehow ends up facing the music and heading to Helheim, due to his most cowardly death. But, following a mix-up, he’s granted a seat in Valhalla, much to his dismay. Cut to the present day.
Now we’re in the present day, we’re introduced to Pesto the skeleton. She’s like a female equivalent of Jay of Jay and Silent Bob fame and has a very nasty habit of saying gosh darn it – to the point where I wish she were dead. Oh.
Fast-forward a bit, and she finds the bones of Bjørn and temporarily reanimates him to help her get into Helheim, but there are some… ‘complications’.
I Got No Body, No Body Cares
Reanimated, Bjørn has the unenviable position of being able to detach his limbs at will. At first, it’s his head, then an arm, and so on and so on. It’s the main appendages; however, there’s no ‘hide the sausage’ in this game, thank you very much.
A puzzle game through and through, the goal is to use your various body parts to trigger switches or activate platforms to proceed with the story. Sometimes a simple part will suffice, then before you know it, you’re sending body parts through various crevices as if you were moonlighting for the mafia.
The puzzles in the game are tweaked to ‘just about right’. That means that you won’t breeze through the game, and on occasion, you’ll get stumped, but it’s never unfair or unrealistic.
When more of your bits fall off, you can create hybrid versions of yourself that would make The Thing look like a Disney show. A head with an arm attached? Check. It’s a pretty good setup too as each limb has its advantages and you need your wits about you to use the right combination.
Pesto is relatively useless in the game – much like the Jay reference, but she’s there for comic effect and despite her ‘What the home!’ and ‘Gosh darn it!’, she’s a hilarious character, and I won’t have you taking her from me. But I do want to throttle her for her catchphrases.
The same for Bjørn. As a fellow pacifist, I’m totally in his corner, but he does resemble a ginger He-Man more than a hulking Nordic berserker.
What The Home?
I didn’t expect the presentation to be so good. Not that I was expecting a turkey either. Each character is gorgeously created with their quirks – Norse god Balder was a highlight with his little ensemble ‘Helheim Hassle’ power ballad. So different to God of War.
As with today’s earlier review of Darkestville Castle, the voice acting is superb. The dialogue is excellent, and the delivery even better. I have to say that while the leads, as well as the Gods, were excellent, the goblins in the game were delicious. I was lapping up every word they were saying, mate, and I’d like to see a spin-off where they helm their own title. Go to it, Perfectly Paranormal – you have the IP to do it, and I’d put money on it that you’ll have the audience now that Helheim Hassle is out there in the ether.
Back to the review. Helheim Hassle feels like a massive game due to the puzzles. It’s a platform puzzle title, so it’s not just a case of solving a problem then moving on. Sometimes you have to get your timing right to proceed to the next level – often quite literally.
These sections were pretty good; the more limbs you drop, the better your agility and the heights you can reach. However, most switches in the game rely on weight distribution.
That means having your full body to trigger an action, so while it might be easy to get to one side of a level with half your body, you’re going to need to go back and pick up the pieces for activation or find another way to complete the puzzle. It’s tricky, gosh darn it.
Go To Hell, Ginger He-Man
I might have to stop giving scores with games, as lately they’ve been going through the roof, and Helheim Hassle needn’t be excluded from this exclusive club of praise.
Kudos where due, the story in the game is good, the art style fantastic and the puzzles are just the right blend of “perhaps I should solve this puzzle before I take another sip of the gin/take another toke on the pipe. I’m in the first category. Execute the second one, and I’m calling the cops.
It’s rare to have such a prominent story and dialogue for a platform/puzzler that Helheim Hassle borders on the point and click adventure path. But, considering your inventory is mostly body parts, and you can take direct control of said bits, it’s 100% a platform puzzle. But at least it has fast travel. There’s no filler in this game – it’s all gold.