May 2019
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Review: Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is an odd game that almost flew under my radar, but thankfully didn’t.  The “plot” is that you are a undead rabbit who is the prince of the underworld.  Some compromising pictures of you & your toy rubber ducky are leaked out, so you set out on a quest to reclaim them.  Sound silly?  Oh, it is.

Hell Yeah! - Gameplay

Just your typical game involving a undead rabbit in a saw blade shooting rockets

The game is a side-scrolling platformer, more or less, that involves some lite Metroidvania-esque exploration.  For most of the time, you are inside of a giant saw blade-jetpack.  This serves as your weapon & means of transportation, allowing you not to fly but to make some rather high controlled jumps.  Some have called this mechanic floaty and inaccurate  but I never found this to be the case.  You pick up various guns that attach to the blade, and those are fired by holding down a shoulder button & using the right stick.  This does occasionally create some irritating spots where you need to jump and also shoot at the same time and really can’t, but fortunately the game is usually designed around this so that it isn’t an issue.

Hell Yeah! - Fatality

Fatality

You will travel through several worlds on your quest, and along the way you will fight 100 “boss” creatures.  The vast majority of these can be dispatched pretty quickly, and each one ends with a Wario Ware-like mini game which, when performed correctly, grants you a very over-the-top gruesome finishing move.  Fail one of these mini games and you’ll take a bit of damage while the creature you’re fighting will regain a touch of health – usually just enough to take one more hit before you get to try it again.  These mini games and their finishers aren’t completely unique, but there is enough variety in them to keep things fresh.  Speaking of keeping things fresh, there is a good amount of variety in the gameplay.  You’ll notice earlier that I said you’re inside the saw blade for “most of the time” – well, the rest of the time is split between on-foot sections that leave you defenseless and therefore require a bit more clever thinking & quick reflexes, underwater stages that put you in a submarine (complete with bunny ears, of course) and space shooter sections that, while brief, are a good bit of fun.

The game looks fantastic, sporting some very bright and detailed 2D artwork.  From beginning to end, it’s a joy to look at and seeing what the next world will have to offer visually really keeps things fresh.  The sound and especially music is also top-notch – I’d especially like to point out the Saint’s Row 3-esque store music and the very funny song that accompanies the overly “cute” world.  The game is filled with these types of references and humor, and while not all of the jokes land enough of them do to keep a smile on your face.

Hell Yeah! - On foot

You will long for the safety of a giant saw blade

I only had one major gripe with the game, and that’s the way they handle the checkpoint system.  Checkpoints are generously scattered around, but unfortunately when you reach one it saves the amount of health you have left at the time, and if you die you respawn with that same amount of health.  This will lead to you having to backtrack to locate one of the more scarce life refill points then trying to make it back to the checkpoint with full life.  Why they didn’t just have you respawn with full health when you die is a mystery, and would have made the game practically flawless in my eyes.  As it is, it’s still a ton of fun, but you should be prepared for some frustrating moments due to this unfortunate design decision.

The game is chock full of content – tons of hats to unlock and skins for the saw blade.  Optional missions for anyone that wants a real challenge.  Even a sim-like side game that has you assigning jobs to the monsters you’ve defeated for rewards.  And throughout it all is a funny, irreverent attitude that references modern culture and especially gaming in some very clever ways.  Hell Yeah! is both a loving throwback to the 2D platformers of the 16-bit era and a sly commentary on all things gaming.  Most importantly, it’s a blast, and it will keep you hooked for the 6-8 hours it takes to finish the main campaign – maybe longer.

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