Mustache In Hell? More like A Mustache Is HellAmiright? Crumbs, milk residue, reliable wax to get an enviable lift that would make Mr Pringles poo his pants – the list goes on. This venture for John, however, is a bullet hell… maybe dungeon crawler, from Idunasoft and QUByte Interactive.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, a.k.a. limbo, John Mustache finds himself fighting for Death as the Grim Reaper says that should John want a second chance, he can retrieve some cubes from a bunch of demons and miscellaneous toe-rags, restoring the reaper’s powers, thus giving John back his ‘life’.

It appears that some chap named Charon has taken these cubes of power, so John navigates his way around a labyrinth of nasties, collecting keys to unlock new paths, taking down the bosses and returning the power to Death. Mustache In Hell is based on a true story.

Mustache In Hell PS4 Review - Buzz cut
Buzz cut. Source: PR

Fortunately, in the afterlife, demons, ghosts, and tax inspectors can be harmed by bullets. John has infinite bullets for his pistol, which is alright, but other weapons are available, such as an SMG and a flamethrower. These have limited ammo, of course, but are elegantly complemented by grenades and mines.

So, Mustache In Hell is a twin-stick shooter that starts relatively easy and then unloads a big steaming pile of challenges on your whiskers. Like a typical rogue-like, each new attempt begins within a hub where you see the title and Death egging you on to tackle the next boss. There are no upgrades or merchants here; it is more like a corridor to your demise.

Each level is separated according to difficulty – unlocking your glowing cubes under the watchful eye of the Grim Reaper once you’ve earned them. The controls are standard: one stick for movement, the other for aiming and shooting, then an additional button for bombs, and one for a dash, which shouldn’t be overlooked.

Mustache In Hell PS4 Review - Anxiety
Anxiety. Source: PR

Between waves, John will wander around each map, searching for a key to unlock a door. When he’s picked up a key, an arrow will indicate which door it’ll open, making it easy to navigate. However, John can only carry one key at a time, so there are a couple of backtracking moments, plus the off-exploration to search for health or additional lives.

There’s not much to Mustache In Hell in terms of mechanics. The real challenge is efficiently using our gear and evading the swarms. A health gauge mostly represents the wave, so keep shooting them until there’s no health showing, though the health gauge is the conventional type for the bosses. 

For the first three worlds, it was mostly a breeze. The pistol keeps enemies back until a green and blue arrow indicates where a new weapon or bomb can be found. During this period, the health gauge switched to mini-bosses, which meant you had to defeat that character; otherwise, enemies would spawn endlessly. This bit sucks.

At one point, I thought I’d finish this in one sitting, but by the fourth area, fatigue was kicking in. There is a fair supply of weapons and bombs (if you can get to them), but health is only available between waves. If you’re heading into a boss battle with few lives, unless you’re decent, expect to repeat the stages a couple of times. After a game, you can restart that world without losing cubes.

Mustache In Hell is a good indie shooter, but like most games of its ilk, it gets repetitive early on. The choice of weapons and lack of an upgrade/skill tree don’t offer much variety or replayability, plus the difficulty can get overly aggressive. Bullet hells are never meant to be easy, and while this isn’t impossible, that spike in challenge might put off a few casuals.