Review – Helheim Hassle
To be honest, I wasn’t all that intrigued with Perfectly Paranormals first game, Manual Samuel, because I heard it was a bit frustrating at times and the gimmick was short lived. So when Helheim Hassle was announced I did write it off at first, that is until I was repeatedly told to at least watch the trailer. Listen, I’m a sucker for Norse mythology and dark humor so I decided to give Helheim Hassle a try and I’m glad I did. In fact, I enjoyed this enough to want to give Manual Samuel an honest try.
In Helheim Hassle you play as a pacifist Viking named Bjorn, who finds the goal of dying in a glorious battle and going to Valhalla, boring. Why die a warriors death and go to Valhalla when you can just chill and kick it in Helheim? Plus, all Odin does with his warriors is create a pro gaming team for the latest Duty game anyway.
After your camp is attacked by giants, Bjorn decides to run the other way despite his fellow Vikings urging him to follow them to die. Unfortunately, through some sick twisted acts of fate, Bjorn falls on top of a bear killing both of them. Killing bears is a brave act of a warrior and Bjorn is sent to Valhalla anyway.
Eventually Bjorn’s remains are reincarnated by Pesto, a skeleton on a mission to get a sword for Satan himself. When Bjorn is reincarnated, he has the ability to remove his limbs and control them independently. This is the main gameplay element of Helheim Hassle and it is done well despite some control issues and difficulty spikes.
On your quest to Helheim, goblins have set up multiple puzzle areas to keep people from just wandering in. Luckily, these puzzles are perfectly setup for the strange skills you now possess. For the most part, the general puzzles are fairly simple once you get used to the rules of how each body part works. Your hands are good for climbing, legs great for jumping, and your head for rolling through tight places or creating snow balls. You can also join a couple body parts together depending on your situation.
Do you need to get up to a ledge and then jump really high and grab a ladder? Toss one of your arms and a leg up where you need to go. Join the arm and leg together to jump high distances and grab the ladder. Body weight will also play a factor with how high you can jump and certain pressure plates require enough weight to activate.
It never got old ripping your body parts off and tossing them around, until you needed to do things quickly. Selecting body parts can become a bit of a hassle when button presses aren’t consistent. You can select body parts by using the d-pad, but doing this will pop the limb off your torso. This makes it difficult when you just want to switch back to your main body without dismembering. You can use the right stick to select body parts to keep from removing the limbs, but this option sometimes wouldn’t work well or it would select the wrong limb.
Those issues weren’t annoying through most of the normal puzzles because you could take your time and for the most part it’s a fairly easy game. However, there are timed sections where you need to be very fast and one mistake requires you to restart. There were more than a few curse words yelled out during these sections. The difficulty spikes come out of nowhere and these sections don’t feel rewarding, you’re just happy they’re over.
While the gameplay elements are genuinely fun despite the couple of annoyances, the real enjoyment came from the story and characters. There are a ton of great moments throughout this journey that had me laughing. Not all of the jokes land, but they all are cheeky or silly in their own way. The characters are great and they do make you want to accept their side quests and continue playing past the story’s end.
Visually Helheim Hassle won’t knock your socks off, but it does have its own striking style. Using a bit of the old school 50’s and 60’s cartoon animation style helps keeps things light and silly, but it can also leave things a bit too dull. With the simplistic design there are a lot of the environments that felt lacking. Sound design is good for the most part, offering very light and playful tunes that go with its silly humor. I thought the various sound effects are well done as well as most of the voice acting. However, there are a few voice actors that I got tired of hearing as well as a lot of repeated dialogue through certain puzzle areas.
Helheim Hassle is a fun puzzle game with a unique twist and I’m glad I had the chance to play it. The ideas, characters, humor, and gameplay make for a very enjoyable time despite a few annoyances. If you’re looking for your next puzzle game fix and want to experience a silly romp through Norse mythology, or if you’re a masochist who likes the idea of ripping your limbs off; I fully recommend picking up Helheim Hassle.
Visually Helheim Hassle is pretty simple with a 50’s art style. It has nice bold colors, but I felt that the settings were lacking.
I really enjoyed the uniqueness of having to use your separate body parts to solve puzzles, but selecting the parts and some boss sections caused frustrations.
For the most part the sound design is well done with some good voice acting. However, there are a couple standout performances and repeated voice lines that will get on your nerves.
Helheim Hassle is a fun game that will provide you some cool challenges and funny moments. It doesn’t always land with the humor and there are points of frustration, but if you’re a puzzle fan it is worth the pick up.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Helheim Hassle is available now on PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Xbox One.
Reviewed on Xbox One X.
A copy of Helheim Hassle was provided by the publisher.