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Arkedo’s Hell Yeah: An Indie Success Story

The developer Arkedo might be familiar to gamers who like to spend their Microsoft Points in the Xbox Live Indie section.  They’re the team behind some of the best-rated indie games, including the Arkedo Series trilogy.  They’ve teamed up with Sega for their next game, Hell Yeah which will take them into the big time by launching on XBLA as a full-fledged Arcade game. 

The Arkedo Series consisted of three games, each of which was a basic example of a genre of gaming, Jump was a platformer, Swap was a jewel swapping puzzler about a cute kitty, and Pixel followed the adventures of an entirely different cute kitty named Pixel as he adventured in a 2-D sidescrolling world.  These games were made rapidly, but their quality was enough to gain the studio some attention and they went on to make a pair of puzzlers for the Nintendo DS as well, but their current game, Hell Yeah is their most ambitious project yet, boasting much more elaborate gameplay and graphical design.

Player Affinity got our hands on Hell Yeah at the Penny Arcade Expo East and found it to be deceptively gruesome and grown-up for a game about a bunny.  It puts players in the fuzzy shoes of a bunny rabbit.  A bunny who is also the Prince of Hell.  Ash, as the bunny is called, has suffered a fate worse than Hell -  He’s been humiliated on Youtube!  After being recorded doing something horribly embarrassing, he sets out to murder every single person who saw the video online.

This goofy premise launches Ash and the Player on a sidescrolling Metroidvania quest to gruesomely kill a series of Hell monsters.  Keeping the tone light, Ash splatters his foes comically with the help of a jetpack/ chainsaw/ unicycle device that he rides around in.  This not only lets him mush enemies, but also carve a path through blocked-off sections of the levels.  Ash also acquires a series of projectile weapons that are each specialized to defeat a particular type of enemy, or circumvent a barrier.

Each level has a series of enemies who have earned Ash’s wrath and he needs to make his way through the labyrinths of Hell to see that they each get their comeuppance. Once Ash has defeated a bad guy (Or lesser evil, really), a mini-game begins, and players need to hammer a particular button in order to unleash a brutal finishing move.  These finishing moves are all unique and each has an over-the-top gruesomeness along the lines of the gross-out gags found in cartoons like Ren & Stimpy.

Ash will need to clear out a certain number of enemies from each area of the game before moving on to the next section, making each of the various levels a self-contained puzzle.  The sort of extensive backtracking found in true Metroidvania games is only present here in a very limited form, and this puts the focus on the action and giving players quick bursts of outlandish fun.

Hell Yeah has a nebulous release date of Summer 2012, but it has been confirmed that the game is coming for XBLA, Playstation Network and PC’s via Steam.  Player Affinity will have more coverage as release approaches, and you can see the announcement video below.



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