Hell Girls: Not Just a Clever Name

No sugar coating here, I got my arse handed to me by a Match-3 game tonight.

Specifically, Hell Girls, which is yet another budget title ($1.99) from SakuraGame.  Most of their games can be summed up as “It’s a <genre>, with cute girls”, so you have Dragonia, which is a twin-stick shooter, with cute girls, Super Star, which is an idol management sim with… well, actually, I guess just “it’s an idol management sim” is enough… and so on.

So now I’ve played Hell Girls, which is a Match-3 game with cute girls fighting assorted fantasy critters as they um.  I didn’t actually pay attention to why I was doing this.  There WAS a plot, something about being recruited to fight demons maybe?  I just wanted some fluffy fun matching colorful shapes and making them explode, and that’s what I got for the first, mmm, 30 levels or so.

Normally I’d actually make my own screenshots, but I am lazy and this is just taken from the game’s Steam page.  You have three characters, each is element-themed, this is the ice-themed character facing off against a fire demon which seems like good strategic thinking.

The various blocks on the playfield represent offensive and defensive skills, so you match purple stars for a magical attack, hearts to refill your health, shields for armor, etc.  As you match longer chains, you drop “spellbooks” on to the playfield, and using those in chains tends to have good effects for you and bad effects for your opponent.

I don’t THINK this is anything particularly revolutionary.  I don’t play a ton of Match-3s, but I think this is all normal stuff for the genre.

Anyway, I played it over two nights, and the first night was all pretty breezy.

The second night, I got to the bit of the game where it gets nasty, when the opponents start dropping blocks on the field that put damage-over-time effects on your character, or that freeze blocks so they can’t be used in chains, or that lock you out of using your special abilities and so on.  You always know WHAT attack is coming, and you always know how long it will be until it gets to you, but I spent a lot of time in the last few levels frantically recovering from the last round of debuffs and DOTs just in time to get socked with the next set.

You also face off against multiple opponents in sequence, so you frequently start a fight with a new guy while you’re still poisoned or on fire from the last guy. Die on the fifth fight in the encounter? You get a paltry bit of XP and have to start all over from the first enemy. I will not deny a certain amount of teeth clenching, which will probably make my dentist happy the next time he is fitting me for another crown.

Still, I persevered:

This is one of the weirder accomplishments to be proud of, but it made me EARN those cheevos.

Two dollars well spent.

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3 Responses to Hell Girls: Not Just a Clever Name

  1. Pete Davison says:

    I liked Hell Girls. https://moegamer.net/2017/08/22/puzzler-essentials-hell-girls/

    I was a bit bummed out that SakuraGame appears to be… not a particularly pleasant company. LewdGamer did an investigative report into them recently and found they’ve been doing all sorts of shady stuff, often screwing over the original creators of a lot of their work. It’s a shame, because they were successfully pushing the boundaries of what kind of content could be got away with on Steam, which could have paved the way for more 18+ adults-only experiences like uncut versions of visual novels.

    Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact I enjoyed my time with Hell Girls itself! It’s a cool take on the match-3 puzzler.

    If you enjoyed that, may I also recommend HuniePop (https://moegamer.net/all-games/huniepop/) and Purino Party (https://moegamer.net/all-games/purino-party/)? They’re both from more reputable companies, and more importantly are great games too!


    • baudattitude says:

      I quite liked Purino Party; it was an interesting take on the match-shiny-things-and-make-them-explode genre. 🙂 I haven’t played HuniePop.

      The LG article on SakuraGame is an interesting read, but I’m not entirely sold on the author’s thesis. I honestly think it could have made for an interesting series, because there’s a lot of angles here and each could have made for an article on its own.

      It sounds like the company has largely apologized and corrected the issues where they were at fault, and their attitudes towards copyright and contracts are, well, nothing too new. (I’m trying REALLY hard not to insert a “for China” in here, because I realize it’s a terrible stereotype, but traditionally it’s a region that plays fairly fast and loose with foreign copyrights.) Honestly, the thing that shocks me the most about any of their games is the number of famous Chinese media personalities whose likenesses were used in Super Star, something the LG article doesn’t even mention.

      They’re obviously offering an inferior product – while I haven’t personally encountered any bugs with their games, I’m not surprised others have, and their English translation quality is, um, either charming or appalling depending on how desensitized you are. I’ve never tried any of their visual novels, but I can imagine that it might be incredibly frustrating.

      But – they’re offering an inferior product at a low price, and that’s a niche that tends to get filled in any industry. So I can’t fault them too much there, as long as it doesn’t lead to an app store-style “every game must be 0.99” race to the bottom.

      Then there’s the larger question of whether they are bad for the industry in the way Manga Video affected the public image of anime back in the 90s, and that’s its whole own issue.

      Lots to unpack and I don’t know if I’m fully qualified to do so. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember seeing this and thinking “another match 3 game then” and moved on. Sounds like it could be pretty fun though. I like ones that add extra twists to the mechanic.

    Liked by 1 person

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