Jupiter Hell by ChaosForge
“Take ‘game X’ and make it a Rogue-like” is practically a meme in indie gaming these days. Jupiter Hell might be one of the most emblematic examples, as it even officially advertises itself as a Rogue-like take on DOOM. Thankfully, there’s much more than novelty to this latest trip to a demonic solar system.
Doom over Dead Men
Each run of Jupiter Hell starts off the same way. Your latest grunt lands in a research facility on Callisto only to find that monsters have taken over. Thankfully, through a combination of weapons and their own skills, they just might be able to work their way through the facility and defeat the source of the problem. Well, in the extremely unlikely event that they don’t die first.
Jupiter Hell is firmly rooted in the old-school when it comes to its Rogue-like gameplay. You make your way through its grid-based, procedurally-generated maps, fighting off enemies and collecting gear. Navigation is done entirely via the arrow keys (or a controller if you prefer), and actions all happen simultaneously. All actions take a certain amount of time, from shooting to reloading to movement, and any time you spend doing something gives enemies a bigger chance to get the drop on you.
Thankfully, Jupiter Hell provides plenty of ways to battle the hordes. From pistols, shotguns, and rifles through to more esoteric fare, you’re encouraged to pick your favorite implements of destruction. Tactics also play a big part, as things like using cover and shooting at environmental hazards can save you from getting swarmed. It’s all very intuitive and simple to learn, making the game one of the more accessible of its genre. Its difficulty level is also spot-on, feeling challenging without ever becoming a slog.
Destined for Doom
It also wouldn’t be a Rogue-like without lots of options to tweak your runs, and Jupiter Hell provides plenty. Between the three character classes available and multiple skills that can be obtained, there’s plenty to play with. That said, I did find it a bit of a missed opportunity that there weren’t any additional load-outs or characters to unlock.
Production-wise, the game mostly nails the aesthetic it’s going for. The environmental details all feel like a modern take on classic DOOM, and the game’s soundtrack replicates Mick Gordon’s work on recent entries to great effect. However, the presentation can sometimes be too old-school for its own good. The game’s ASCII-style HUD can be hard to read during tense moments, and I personally ended up turning off its default CRT screen filter for motion sickness reasons.
Ultimately, Jupiter Hell accomplishes what it sets out to do, and with plenty of flair. Despite its old-school leanings it manages to be very intuitive and accessible to genre newbies but provides plenty for veterans to sink their teeth into. It does its inspirations plenty of justice and is also compelling in its own right. This is one that’ll have you saying “just one more run” until you realize you should’ve gone to bed two hours ago.
Jupiter Hell is available via Steam and GOG.
Watch the trailer for Jupiter Hell below: