This past year, we’ve seen quite a few titles come to PCs and other consoles first, before heading to the PlayStation platform. Helheim Hassle is another example of this, but it’s a welcome new entry to the ever-growing library for a number of reasons. We took a look.
You may remember developer Perfectly Paranormal from their indie hit Manual Samuel, so it won’t come as much of a surprise when we say that Helheim Hassle is also filled with humor and charm. Viking-themed, you play as Bjørn, who dies an unfortunate early death but isn’t at all interested in spending his afterlife in the halls of Valhalla – where heroic vikings go after they pass. Instead, he wants to spend eternity in Helheim, the realm of the dead. In order for his wish to be granted, he’ll have to complete a series of challenging puzzles – which make use of the unique mechanic of being able to attach and detach limbs.
Your limbs can also function independently, which can make for some bizarre situations where your left arm suddenly goes off to flip a switch for you that the rest of your body can’t reach. Navigation changes based on your limb selection as well, as you can jump higher with fewer limbs attached but if you feel the need to climb a ladder then actually having arms and legs attached to you seems like it’s not a bad idea either. As wacky as it sounds (and looks), it’s a lot less random than you’d initially think, because many puzzles have smart designs that make use of this core mechanic in ingenious ways.
Some of the levels have hidden secrets in them if you manage to access certain parts, but perhaps more memorable than the bizarre core gameplay mechanics are the encounters you have throughout the story. You’ll run into dozens of characters over the course of a roughly four hour long adventure, and with a ton of spoken dialogue it’s this cast of hilarious and cartoon-like characters that we most enjoyed. Many of them exhibit exaggerated behavior to the point where it becomes comical and over the top, and thanks to the art style and writing the charm just oozes out of this one.
Perhaps the puzzle designs are more wacky than refined so puzzle purists might enjoy pure puzzle experiences more, but if you enjoy a narrative-driven puzzle adventure then this is certainly a more than solid choice. The art style and theme reminded us a bit of Zombie Vikings whereas the humor and characters felt a little “Double Fine”-like to us – certainly a combination that kept us entertained throughout the campaign, so we’re glad this is now on PS4 as well.