In Hellscreen, death makes you stronger, you have a rear view mirror and it’s like Doom meets Groundhog Day.
While researching promising games to add to our recent “50 Indie Games To Get Excited About In 2018” feature, I opened up my Twitter DM’s and asked any indie developers to send me what they were working on. I had *a lot* of replies and many of them looked very promising but one game totally blew me away. That game is Hellscreen.
Hellscreen is the product of solo-developer Jamie Degen who has previously contributed to such titles as Killzone: Mercenary, LEGO City Undercover and House of the Dead: Overkill. Jamie describes Hellscreen as a “retro, 90s era, low-rez, Giger inspired FPS” but once you get beneath the surface, it’s much more than that. Here’s a run down on the plot, straight from the horses mouth;
“Millennia ago, the Ancient Gods built a machine to determine which souls go to Heaven and which go to Hell. This “Hellscreen” machine, after operating for ages after the Old Gods died, has starting malfunctioning and breaking the cycle of life. The player having being someone who recently died, is someone who should have gone to Heaven but ends up in the machine and must destroy it to reset everything to the way they should be and restore the order of life & death”
The Hellscreen, of course, is not going to roll over and die without a fight and it’ll throw all manner of enemy types at you. Some of the foes you’ll be fighting that have been unveiled already are the fiery skull type enemy and a big bad-ass jelly fish type thing. These beasts have their own backstory too;
The enemies in the game are the machines’ creations but act more like natural wildlife and have an ecosystem. Their natural habits help facilitate the machine, from defending it from intruders or dissipating heat, to converting souls into the correct format for the machine.
The first thing you notice about Hellscreen is the art style. It’s a game inspired by old school Doom and Quake with H.R. Giger inspired architecure and a unique cyan-on-red aesthetic that certainly tingles those retinas.
Hellscreen also has some interesting re-playable progression elements that will make you more powerful when you die by using the souls of those enemies you’ve collected or defeated to upgrade your abilities. Again, I’ll let Jamie explain this mechanic in his own words;
“As the Hellscreen machine is malfunctioning, it keeps reverting itself & its inhabitants when the player dies, making for a Groundhog Day scenario. The player exists somewhat outside of that. As the player kills enemies and progresses, they earn souls which allow the player to purchase new weapons and abilities, which allows them to progress further, progress more quickly and able to access new areas. Kill – die – upgrade – repeat. As an example, after a few dozen kills, the player is able to purchase a double jump ability, allowing them to jump to new areas and discover more of the Hellscreen machine”
Hellscreen is aiming to launch on PC (and possibly for the Nintendo Switch too) in 2019 and in order to get this game over the finish line, Jamie is launching a Kickstarter for the game on March 1st 2018.
If you like what you’ve seen here, make sure you follow Jamie Degen on Twitter (@UK_resistent) to follow the development of the game and to keep your eyes out for that Kickstarter campaign.
If you’re and indie developer and you have something interesting that you’d like us to see, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter (my DM’s are remaining open).