WHAT YOU WON’T LIKE
The best games will make it clear that it’s your fault when you make a mistake, but most of your deaths in Hell Yeah will come from failing to complete the minigames in time. A lot of them are clear enough, but a handful that pop up throughout the game that are so poorly defined that you might find yourself doing them over and over and over again before you even figure out what to do.
That in itself isn’t a huge deal — the minigames are obviously a little vague by design — but each time you screw one up, it cuts away a chunk of your health, and when you run out of health, the game will send you back to one of its many poorly placed checkpoints without any of the money you picked and with all of the enemies respawned. This might only set you back a couple of minutes, but once it happens multiple times, it makes the trip back even more of a chore.
One of the other big problems comes from actually completing these minigames. Each one ends with a wacky fatality of some sort (exploding the monster in a giant microwave or running them over with a truck — that sort of thing) that you cannot skip. Now, almost all of them are pretty funny and worth watching the first couple of times you see them, but the game features 101 monsters you need to kill, and the total number of different fatalities is not even close to that. You’ll end up seeing the same ones many times, and excessive repetition doesn’t exactly make for the funniest gags.
Dull soundtrack and no voices
Aside from one very notable exception, the music in Hell Yeah follows a strict pattern: Introduce a cool riff at the beginning of each level, and then repeat it a million times until you realize that turning the sound completely off becomes a better alternative.
If you do, you won’t miss much, anyway. The moment-to moment-gameplay doesn’t have anything worth hearing outside of gunfire and monsters exploding, and the characters don’t even have voices. Obviously, a full voice-over track isn’t always possible (or necessary), but in a game that relies on the personality of its animal mascot, the experience feels empty without even so much as a Rare-style “yub yub yub” to simulate talking.
In the spirit of anti-Mario platformers like Earthworm Jim, Hell Yeah relies almost entirely on how clever and unique its central conceits are. It pulls from every source it can to flesh itself out and break the fourth wall to wink in the direction of things that might not work very well (“These long load times are actually a feature!”), but it does this all in its own way. As a modern video game, a few things hold it back from being truly great, but as a nod to the days when developers created characters just to have more ‘tude than that fat plumber, it’s a lot of fun.
Hell Yeah: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit releases for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 , and PC on September 25, 2012; September 26, 2012; and October 3, 2012 (respectively). The publisher provided GamesBeat with an Xbox Live download code for the purpose of this review.