Trapped on an alien planet in a military building, aliens and foes closing in on your position, it’s just you, your gun and your guts to keep you going, age old story but told in a different way, welcome to Jupiter Hell.
Jupiter Hell is a spiritual successor to Doom: RogueLike aka DRL due to pesky trademarks and other legal jibber jabber and the like, if you’ve played Doom then the story is about as essential there as it is here, you’re a marine, you’re pissed and there are plenty of things to take it out on.
The game is a turn based Roguelike, it’s got all you need from the genre such as procedurally generated areas, stats galore and a crushing difficulty which can be adjusted, there are also several classes you can choose from which alter play styles such as the gun happy marine or the main hacker man himself the Technician.
Now when I mention the game is turn based, everytime you move, reload, use an ability or an item that is your turn, the enemies around you also move, the key difference between this and most turn based is that it’s buttery smooth and fast as hell to the point it doesn’t really feel turn based, this helps bring it in line with that classic “Doom” feeling of fast and hellacious gameplay while also being technically a turn based RPG, how this works is beyond me but it does, it works well and my god did I not know I was missing this in my life until this game crashed through my wall!.
To compare the gameplay to anything I would say it resembles a Mystery Dungeon title but one that has had a rocket strapped to it, you can still take your time but once the metal soundtrack hits you’ll be lost in the game, taking down demons and collecting guns off the floor tackling the game one floor at a time.
You can choose which sectors of the game you tackle in each main area, some areas are slightly easier than others but have less loot, it’s down to your choice how you’re going to reach the final sector and take down this demonic horde, either play it safe and hope for good drops OR hit the heavier areas, mount up and let the gibs fly.
Combat is mostly ranged though there are a few melee weapons, there is a cover system which highlights an area in green and this heightens your dodge stat and tends to keep you alive a little bit longer, a button press shoots your gun and another reloads it, each action takes a turn so it creates tension in the ever growing danger that is the enemy hordes.
Enemies range from gun toting grunts to mechs and of course a range of Demons ready to make dinner of your guts, they all have specific attack patterns and you’ll learn these with each death as you get closer and closer to ending the invasion, due to the camera angle which is mostly top down and quite far away you can’t see major detailing or designs for these or your playable character which is a shame.
Inventory space is small and it’s tough decisions to hold onto certain kinds of ammo in the hopes you find that gun later on, do you keep the keycards which can open special “zones” or areas with loot or stock up on health kits because you’re gonna take damage and need to stop the bleeding somehow.
Naturally you can just run from lift to lift to try and get to the end of your run but where’s the fun in that, every kill or special action such as barrel kills or hacking provide you with Exp and this levels you up, each character class has a skill tree meaning you can tailor your avatar to be your own personal death dealer and create some really interesting builds.
The music is that special kind of metal you’d find in any kind of old school boomer shooter and it perfectly helps spur on the action, the main character is rather talkative and is often found spouting amusing and obscene one liners which did make me chuckle and added to the game and it’s balls to the wall personality.
Jupiter Hell is an all out assault turn based, permadeath, gib displaying old school romp, with classic CRT style presentation and vintage fonts for the text it manages to bleed the world of Doom into the world of the Roguelike in a way so smooth you’ll wonder why it’s only really been done once before.
I’ll be honest in saying I’m in love with the game and hope it gets more content in terms of areas, monsters, guns or anything really, it’s got such an addictive quality to it that I don’t mind dying over and over again to see my wall of shame covered in “NotDoomGuy” as it just means I’m only seconds away from running the gauntlet once again, while the Roguelike/Permadeath may put some off, for those of you who can get into that kind of thing you better grab a gun and throw down with the demonic hordes.
It’s Doom but it’s a Roguelike, it has gibs and makes me want more!
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Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.