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When I started playing PC games, DOOM II and X-COM were some of the first things I got into, shaping my gaming tastes for years. Now, over two decades later, I’m just playing a game that combines aspects of both? ChaosForge Jupiter hell Hope it’s better late than never as it finally emerges from Early Access.
Jupiter hell adopts this proven method of gambling nostalgia trading with modern conveniences. In this case, it is a turn-based top-down shooter similar to X-COM, but put together both structurally and tonally, like the maze-like hallway shooter of choice in the ’90s; LOSS. oh, and it’s also a roguelike to boot.
It’s billed as a ’90s game in so many ways, from the metal soundtrack, to the admirably stubborn refusal to allow mouse control, to the old-fashioned menu and text-based UI format. The main gift that this is a game from 2021, not 1997, is that its relatively simple visuals have an atmosphere and style that would be difficult to replicate in this era.
The brilliant slogan for Jupiter hell reads’ As in chess. With Shotguns’ and rarely has such a brief description painted such a precise picture. The shameless riff on LOSSthe setup of (which is quite understandable as the game started life as a successor to DOOM: The Roguelike) sees the player put themselves in the shoes of a space marine making their way through demonic forces on Ma… Jupiter’s Moons. There are undead marines, monsters, and as you would expect from this formula, there are many … often at once. The main difference is that things are a little less hectic in Jupiter hell thanks to the turn-based nature of his combat. It sounds like an odd combination, but ChaosForge ensured that with practice, the seemingly clumsy turn-based nature could become a flexible transition from a fast movement with split-second decision making to slowing down. things if necessary, all always within the confines of a turn-based format.
Clearly, this is where ChaosForge has focused its attention the most. The clever gelation of a shooter with turn-based mechanics ends up feeling almost natural when it goes right, and that’s a huge credit to the developer. Mapping everything on the keyboard works fine. Neat touches like the ability to throw a dropped grenade instead of just picking it up allow you to get out of a lot of traffic jams and add a touch of combat flair that I didn’t expect. While difficult to remember at first, reloading as a turn feeds the strategic flow of things quite well.
This actually meant that I found myself swapping between weapons depending on how many turns it would take for a particular crash. Using cover helps open up your options and give you a break, and is ingrained in the turn-based mechanics of positioning your navy against a wall (indicated by a green bar) and seeing what differences that has. done for your odds (displayed in the upper right corner is the percentage of chance to hit and the like). As I mentioned, it takes a bit of getting used to, even for someone who knows the inner workings of games like X-COM, but it’s a pretty successful style partnership overall.
However, it seems like a bit more tuning is needed to make sure the change of pace isn’t always shocking. Sometimes the button presses just didn’t register, as something in the game was clearly trying to catch up. Small freezes can mess up your strategy, and it’s aggravating when you’re up against a wall of hell and one wrong move can send your spiral race towards calamity and death. If you’re going to get ripped off by space demons, it’s much more acceptable when it’s your fault.
While I’ve focused a lot on the turn-based aspect of the game so far, the real appeal of Jupiter Hell is that it’s a roguelike. Gasoline may well be LOSS, but you also have to be careful and choose the right type of build for your playstyle. Want to be a deathbringer with a shotgun? Sure, Jupiter hell lets you accept that, although it does everything possible to get you to try new things whether you like it or not, by only providing certain ammo to certain floors.
What the roguelike model also brings is variety and uncertainty. The thrill of understanding and then conquering the unknown is part of the fun. The story of a given race goes through a rollercoaster variation of coming back from a near-death situation with a timely explosive cannon in the right place and then getting caught with your pants down and your ego down because that you thought your firepower was going to be too much for the demons to handle.
Yes, you can possibly get a good idea of what to expect, where to go and what to avoid, but Jupiter hell keeps things surprising in the little moments when your choices can tip the crash in a different way. No matter how much better you may know about stepping into an area that is a death machine, the temptation to do so anyway for potential rewards can easily outweigh common sense.
Jupiter hell will be a refreshing take on a classic for some, and best of a bad situation for those mourning the loss of DOOM: The Roguelike. A few technical grunts aside, his straightforward, pragmatic turn-based shoot n ‘loot roguelike approach works well and provides a compelling game to dive into for an hour here and there, or waste a few days.
Jupiter Hell revision code for PC provided by the publisher.
Jupiter Hell is now available on Steam PC.