Hades a Roguelike Dungeon Crawler Overview
- Developer's website
- Hades on Steam
- Hades Accessibility Mods from hllf.net
- AudioGames.net forum thread for Hades
Hades Development & Activity
Hades is a pretty new title as of the time of writing this. It was released in September of 2020. It is still receiving patches and updates with the last one being in April of 2021. You can read the patch notes here.
I don't see the game getting any ground breaking updates, but rather small ones to fix any bugs that players may find as they play. The game is already large and solidly built, so there isn't much to change with it. Going off the patch history, if a bug or issue does pop up the developers will fix it.
Free vs Paid
Hades is a mainstream game, and as expected you do have to purchase it if you wish to play. The cost is very reasonable at $24.99, and it is a much better way to spend your gaming funds when compared to most of the audio games that are put out. There does not seem to be a demo you can download to try the game out, but there are plenty of playthrough's and reviews you can read or watch to get a feel for the game. One of these would be BSg stream 95: I'm Practically a Professional (Hades).
As more and more games become playable, whether through intentional accessibility design, or on accident like with Hades, paying for games is something everyone is going to need to get use to. There are a lot of free games out there yes, but in 99% of them you get what you pay for. It could be a good concept and release, but without funds to support the developer and without monetary incentive for continued patching and updating, it would become just another forgotten game. So yes Hades is paid, but it is also worth it for the price.
Game description from the Developer
Hades is a god-like rogue-like dungeon crawler that combines the best aspects of Supergiant's critically acclaimed titles, including the fast-paced action of Bastion, the rich atmosphere and depth of Transistor, and the character-driven storytelling of Pyre.
BATTLE OUT OF HELL As the immortal Prince of the Underworld, you'll wield the powers and mythic weapons of Olympus to break free from the clutches of the god of the dead himself, while growing stronger and unraveling more of the story with each unique escape attempt.
UNLEASH THE FURY OF OLYMPUS The Olympians have your back! Meet Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and many more, and choose from their dozens of powerful Boons that enhance your abilities. There are thousands of viable character builds to discover as you go.
BEFRIEND GODS, GHOSTS, AND MONSTERS A fully-voiced cast of colorful, larger-than-life characters is waiting to meet you! Grow your relationships with them, and experience thousands of unique story events as you learn about what's really at stake for this big, dysfunctional family.
BUILT FOR REPLAYABILITY
New surprises await each time you delve into the ever-shifting Underworld, whose guardian bosses will remember you. Use the powerful Mirror of Night to grow permanently stronger, and give yourself a leg up the next time you run away from home.
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE Permanent upgrades mean you don't have to be a god yourself to experience the exciting combat and gripping story. Though, if you happen to be one, crank up the challenge and get ready for some white-knuckle action that will put your well-practiced skills to the test.
SIGNATURE SUPERGIANT STYLE The rich, atmospheric presentation and unique melding of gameplay and narrative that's been core to Supergiant's games is here in full force: spectacular hand-painted environments and a blood-pumping original score bring the Underworld to life.
At its core Hades is a hack and slash dungeon crawler, and a pretty good one at that. You aren't playing with cards, or taking turns, it is live action smacking up of monsters! The point of the game is to escape from hell. You do this by progressing through the different rooms of each realm clearing each one by killing all the monsters in each room. After a room is cleared you'll be offered some sort of reward. This could be darkness for the mirror, a centaur heart to boost your hp, gems, opals, nectar for keepsakes, weapon upgrades, a boon from a god, or some other artifact currency.
Because this is a Roguelite, once you die you have to start over at the beginning again. Each death spawns you back in the house of Hades, and you start your run at the beginning of Tartarus. Since it is not a roguelike you get to keep some character effects between runs however. Things like weapons, and upgrades from the mirror of night stick with you between runs. This allows you to work towards upgrading your character even if you keep on dying. On top of that interacting with the gods and talking to them triggers aspects of the story mode and it makes for a completely different dimension of the game outside of your normal hack and slash dungeon crawler.
There are different levels to hell you have to climb out of. You start in the house where you can interact with some gods, trade for keepsakes, upgrade your character at the mirror of night, build things to help you when on a run, upgrade and buy weapons, and more stuff I haven't personally unlocked yet. When you go out to fight on a run to escape from hell you'll start in Tartarus. This is the first realm and it is the easiest, and it scales nicely to get you accustomed to the game. Once you beat the boss you'll be moving on to the next realm of hell. From there you'll go into the lava world of Asphodel. This one has a lot of upgraded monsters and I have found it to be a great bump in difficulty. I still haven't gotten past this realm personally. After you make it all the way through Asphodel and beat the boss at the end you'll be moving on to Elysium. I have no idea what to expect from this realm as I haven't made it that far yet. Then finally after you have made it all the way through Elysium you'll be in the Temple of Styx. I know nothing about this personally but it is a place you can get to and I'm sure there is more info on the web covering it.
Overall this makes for one pretty great gaming experience. There are so many different monsters and you never know when they are going to pop up since each room is randomly generated. Each run is also unique because the path is never the same, the choices you get after clearing a room are randomized as well, so you never know what to expect. Some runs you'll get lucky and get all the boons you want, others will force you to play in a different style. Overall it is a well designed and balanced game with the potential to bring hundreds of hours of playtime for a comparatively low price.
What Makes It Playable By The Blind
The main reason this game is playable is because of the extraordinary sound design. Every single thing in this game that is important makes a unique sound. When fighting, the sounds of each enemy is distinctly different from all the others. This is rather good since there are so many different types of enemies, and they all have different styles of attacking.
You can tell where your character is on screen since the game is viewed from a eye in the sky camera angle, and your sounds pan depending on where you are on each map. Once you understand the spatial distancing for the sound engine it is pretty easy to know how far an enemy is, and if you are in range. This just takes time in the game, and it comes naturally when playing.
For those with low vision the text is quite friendly as well. I'd say that 99% of what you can read is light letters on a black or dark background. This also makes the game quite easy to OCR, which is an all around perk.
The Accessible Mods from hllf.net
lirin and JLove made some mods for the game that make the game super easy to pick up and play for the first time. These mods were then added to by hllf, and not only did they get better but more mods were added to the package. Some of the mod features are the disabling of trap damage, disabling of lava damage in Asphodel, introduce a door menu so you are jumped to your door after the room is clear, auto jumping to your boon or room rewards, being able to use the shops on a run through OCR and jumping to items, and probably much more. I honestly don't know how people use to play this without the mods. It would have been possible, but now with the mods it is a breeze. The mods use to be horrible to download, but now they are hosted at a simple link you can get to at https://hllf.net/hades/. These mods are what make the game so playable, and you should really download them if you want the best experience. Lucky for everyone they are very easy to download and install, there is even an extensive readme included in the download.
What Makes Hades Unique
This is a game which is truly playable for both the totally blind and those with low vision, and it is for PC which is always a perk. The price is very reasonable because it truly has replay value. Since the game is a roguelite you have to replay the game every time you make a run, if it didn't have replay value it would not be such a popular game. The sound design is great, the voice acting is spectacular, and the difficulty ramps just how it should. What makes it unique is simply that it is a well designed mainstream game which we can all play without any true disadvantage.
The only bug I have found so far is in the controls menu. The first two options have the toggle sound backwards. When you uncheck the option it plays the checked sound and vice versa. This isn't a big deal, and it is the only bug I've found. There is also a note of this in the menu guides I made for the game.