It's Dark Souls? How better to frame this game than it's Dark Souls. The mechanics, gameplay, handling, and flow is all akin to that FromSoftware feel, and while that should excite me... it doesn't. We get plenty of those what-if? takes on the usual formula with the main developer now, from Elden Ring to Bloodborne to Sekiro, and no doubt more is on the way, so if nothing is truly added beyond more of the same albeit with less polish and oomph in story, what's the point of Hellpoint?

Good

Thrust into the world, you're in a similar position of the Doom Slayer. There's demons o'-plenty, and you're on a space station. It's all vague and mysterious, not unlike the Souls franchise, but there's a certain lack of depth or nuance to the story that would otherwise elevate that air of intrigue and unknown in FromSoftware's titles. Still, we're in the good section, so I'll digress from my problems for now.

The combat is a bug-ridden fiesta but it gets Souls down to a T more or less, with what is, in essence, the same UI. It's slow and clunky like the original Souls and it's predecessor, Demon's Souls, which was a treat to delve back into following three fast-paced adrenaline-junkie style entries.

However, there are some differences. Breaches - the bonfires of Hellpoint - restore health, and fast travel is more difficult to unlock just like in the OG Dark Souls, but when you rest, enemies don't immediately respawn. It's an interesting choice to go by timer, but it can be arduous if you need to grind or practice and it removes a certain element of challenge-versus-reward that came with the bonfire mechanic.

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Ultimately, it doesn't feel like a change for the sake of doing its own thing or improving upon a Souls staple, but rather a change to make at least somewhat of a noteworthy difference in design. The enemies are, however, incredibly interesting and well-designed: beautiful even, much like most of Hellpoint. It's a stunning game, and certainly worth a delve for the visuals alone, but there's a distinct lack in diversity, so things can get a touch repetitive.

Bad

Taking the Souls formula and copying it is not the same as being inspired by it or using it in a new, unique means. Hellpoint is a third-person, action adventure game; for all intents and purposes, it's a wannabe sci-fi Dark Souls without the polish. It's akin to Lords of the Fallen, only it manages to stumble even further into the copycat hellhole.

Take Salt and Sanctuary, it is essentially a Souls copycat, but it places Souls into a side-scroller, Metroidvania format. That's where indies trying out the Souls style should go, not what-if?s in setting, but what-if?s in expression. Take Dead Cells, a side-scroller rogue-lite that is a lot like Souls, or even the triple-A Jedi: Fallen Order, which is heavily inspired by both Souls and Uncharted, blending two very different games into one with a Star Wars spin and an open world full of goodies and unique elements. Transplanting the Souls IP in its entirety with artificial changes here and there isn't enough, and it never will be. All you will find yourself doing is falling into the realm of forgettable copycat, a brief tie-over until the real deal, a Wish knock-off.

Final Score: 35%

Copycats are tough one to review – it's easy to fall into being scathing and put off when there's nothing truly on offer but a replication of something better. Ultimately, Hellpoint is just that. It leans too heavily on its inspirations to the point that it feels like a tracing of the original. It's Mr. Bean leaning over to copy someone else's homework. It doesn't work. Dark Souls is on the Switch, so you're better off picking it up and playing that until Elden Ring finally drops, or maybe giving one of the indie inspired titles a whirl like Raindancer - a Souls-like game with a top-down view and more minimalist approach, - the aforementioned Salt and Sanctuary and Dead Cells, or even Hollow Knight. Otherwise, there's always Code Vein, Ashen, Nioh, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, or - if you want that sci-fi approach - The Surge.