HellKid: Hook & Jump – Review

You think Hell, you think an eternity of pain and suffering, a miserable afterlife of being poked incessantly by pitchfork wielding demons and other unmentionable horrors. In short, not much fun right?

Wrong. Because StudioUFO’s latest, although it is indeed set in the fiery depths of Hades, may well be one of the most heavenly gaming experiences to grace the iPhone/Touch in quite a while. Taking its cue from Canabalt and borrowing Hook Champ‘s swinging mechanic, HellKid is a highly addictive, fast-paced 2d side-scroller.

Playing as Devi, a charismatic little imp obsessed with becoming human, the aim of the game is to rush through vibrant levels collecting as many souls as possible.

HellKid looks absolutely great, lovingly rendered backgrounds bring the flaming underworld to stunning life, and an eye for minute detail, such as Devi’s comical expressions – a look of grim determination when running and an open-mouthed gasp as he leaps through the air – provide amusement.

The game also controls wonderfully well: your character runs forward automatically, while jumping and swinging over gaping ravines is handled by a combination of tapping, and double-tapping and holding your finger to the screen. This a necessarily non-complex system given the rapid pace of the action. 
And boy is this game fast! Pushing your reflexes to the limit, Devi must swing and somersault at break-neck pace (think Sonic on performance enhancing drugs). While the fiendish level design means that perfect timing of jumps and grabs is a must in order to avoid falling face first into a lava pit.
HellKid is (rather misleadingly) billed as containing 12 levels, however the Valley of Soul is in fact one long seamless level with several check points along the way. Each stage is progressively more fast than the last and the distance between platforms further.
A nice touch, which helps the title to feel fresh on repeat plays, is the randomisation of the positioning of souls each time you fire up HellKid (apparently there’s over 50 patterns to master). Also upping the replayability stakes are online leaderboards, an unlockable endless extreme mode and 38 different achievements to be mastered.
HellKid‘s lifespan will ultimately only be decided by how addictive a personality you have. And while it’s perhaps not best suited to marathon sessions, due to its inherent repetiveness, it’s most definately one of games you’ll keep on your device to play whenever you’ve got a spare five minutes. Highly recommended for fans of Canabalt or Hook Champ and a bargain at 99cents.

iFanzine Verdict: Prepare to be hooked, this is devilishly addictive and fiendishly fun. One hell of a game!

Score: 8 out of 10

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