Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is a game that could be seen as somewhat of a modern twist on the whole “anthropomorphic animal with attitude” archetype that pervaded the 90s. Of course it is fitting that this was made by Sega, the same company that gave us Sonic the Hedgehog, the quintessential animal with attitude in video games. So the question is, does Hell Yeah manage to recreate what made the original Sonic memorable? The answer to that is that it kind of does, but it kind of doesn’t.
In terms of its presentation, Hell Yeah! excels. The art style is very flashy, the game has some hilarious dialogue, the music kicks ass, and pretty much everything about this game gives off the idea that this is going to be a fun game. The game’s storyline is about the prince of hell, a skeletal Rabbit named Ash, who is trying to hunt down the 100 monsters that saw a photo he mistakenly put up on his blog of him cuddling a stuffed animal.
Needless to say, that is an awesome premise, and pretty much everything about this game is brimming with personality. The fact that each of these monsters has a defined backstory for how they got to hell, mostly hilarious ones, shows that a lot of effort was put into making this the case. You also ave these cool over the top animations for killing each of these monsters, whom are also finished off with a WarioWare esque Microgame.
The locations you go to are also varied and have multiple distinct feelings to them. You start out in the typical fire and brimstone like area, but also have a mechanical level, space level, underwater level, cave level, and even a candy land like happy level complete with an overly saccharine song that sounds like something from a show meant for little girls (which Ash considers to be the scariest thing he has ever seen in a hilarious fashion).
Really at this point, I will say that in terms of the style aspect, Hell Yeah! nails it. Unfortunately it has trouble having the substance to go with it.
At first, I thought the gameplay in Hell Yeah! was pretty fun. What is there not to like about exploring the area, hunting down these enemies, and solving clever puzzles in order to kill them? You also get a nice minigame involving turning the monsters into slaves and having them work for you in order to send you money, health, and items. Unfortunately, the key problem with the gameplay is that it falls apart under close scrutiny.
First of all, Ash’s jump is way too floaty and it will cause a lot of unnecessary deaths throughout the game. This is not a problem early on, but later in the game you end up having to perform maneuvers and dodge instant kill spikes that wouldn’t be out of place in I Wanna Be the Guy. A majority of the deaths in Hell Yeah! just felt cheap and were a result of just cheaply placed obstacles rather than an actual challenge.
Also this isn’t just referring to the final level or something; this starts to occur about halfway through the game and is mixed in with other sections that are o the easy side. Furthermore, the microgames that are used to finish off bosses eventually will start to cause a lot of trouble. Similarly to the sealing from Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, one will need to drain the enemy’s HP again if they fail it, and they will also take damage. In Hell Yeah! however, one will need to deal with ones that are not explained and need to be cleared in a few seconds or that require very precise timing. These only serve to make the game more frustrating and tedious than it already is.
On top of all this, a lot of the monsters later on are supposed to be killed in absurdly cryptic ways that the player is not going to understand without a guide. For example, some require you to use the screen to zoom out in order to show one of the monsters how lonely he really is. There are others that just have no hints given at all and that you are expected to figure out one your own. This was ultimately what prevented me from finishing the game, which is a shame because I had 90 of the monsters killed.
I wanted to like Hell Yeah! simply because of its amazing sense of style. However, it is not a game I can see anyone playing through more than once due to its flaws. It is also not the deepest game out there seeing as how it is quite linear and lacks the exploration element of most metroidvania type games. For once, I am in agreement with the metacritic rating of the game and consider it to be an appropriate score.
In all honestly though, this is a game I would be interested in seeing a sequel to seeing as how great the writing and setting was, and I’d love to see something that goes along with it. That being said, I can still recommend this one when it’s on sale since there is a bit of fun to be had with it before it gets frustrating. In terms of overall greatness, however, I’d instead turn your attention to Bunny Must Die: Chelsea and the 7 Devils if you need a metroidvania involving bunnies.
This review was originally posted to GameFAQs on March 22nd of 2016 and has been updated for posting on this blog as a placeholder for my current review schedule. You can read my newer reviews one week before they are posted on Guardian Acorn if you pledge $1.00 or more to my Patreon account. New reviews are are posted every Monday. You can also follow this blog if you would like to be kept up to date on my stuff, or you could follow me on any of my social media pages (listed at the bottom of the page) and could stop by The Guardian Acorn Discord chat if you would like to talk to me and my homies.