Hellrider 2 is a Unity based game developed by Andrei Chernyshov, and I love it. Usually with my reviews, I like to hold true personal judgement until the conclusion paragraph, but this has to be said up front. It's an action game that's all about quick reflexes, precision, and being generally awesome. You might be curious as to why it's so enjoyable, so I'll go ahead and break the game down per usual.
Before I even talk about the game itself, we need to address the graphic quality of “Hellrider 2”. As I mentioned at the opening, the game is developed with the Unity engine. For those unfamiliar, Unity is a flexible and versatile game development engine mainly used for indie console and PC games. When utilized right on mobile, it produces some very clean and impressive visuals. Luckily, Andrei was able to get “Hellrider 2” not only looking great, but running great as well. This is a respectful feat on mobile, and deserves recognition. For a game based on timing and accuracy, the consistency of the frame rate and input is a must have.
Speaking on overall presentation, “Hellrider 2” does a great job on its main menu and with general interface. From the start, you have a few options for language, tutorial repeats, and general audio. Besides that, you can look at unlockable skins, and check out your personal best scores against your friends. What sticks out about the main menu is the ease of access and lack of clutter. Many mobile game fall prey to cluttered menus with too many buttons; “Hellrider 2” nails it.
However, “Hellrider 2” really shines in its core gameplay. The game revolves around you, as the Hellrider. Starting with a motorcycle, you drive in a zig zag pattern down the play field avoiding obstacles and defeating enemies. The game is broke down into a world – level structure (think “Super Mario Brothers” and you've got a good idea), with new environments as each world progresses. From forest paths to lava pits, the game has a good variety of environments to keep things visually interesting.
The game is great, but does have a small learning curve regarding its controls. The tutorial explains everything very nicely, and the first few levels contain small tutorials that fill you in on how weapons and other aspects of the game work. Actually controlling the game isn't the difficult part, it's getting a hold of a rhythm and a style of play that fits you. Pressing the screen once causes you to zig zag in the other direction, but holding a press on the screen causes you to drift in a straight line. It's a control scheme that takes a bit to get used to and can be frustrating, but once you get a hold on the controls you'll be having tons of a fun. Thankfully, early levels aren't too tough, so you have plenty of time to get acquainted with how the rider moves.
Generally speaking, the game reminds me of an endless runner sans the repetitiveness that comes with it. It's endless when regarding its choice of play; there's no breaks in between levels. You simply continue until you die. However, each stage contains three major sections, all pulling from a pool of a variety of scenarios. You might find yourself dueling another vehicle, rescuing maidens from trains, fighting a giant skeleton king, and more. There isn't a huge variety in these scenarios, but there's enough that the game never gets repetitive, even when you're on your seventh duel or fifth skeleton king.
As you complete sections and earn checkpoints, you also earn points based on your performance. These points go towards an overall “Heroism” level. As your heroism level rises, new computer controller characters will challenge you in a one on one race. If you manage to beat them, you unlock their skin. Some of these character ride vehicles other than motorcycles, so if you're not a huge fan of the two wheeled beasts you won't have to wait long to switch out your ride. There's only a handful of new skins, but all of them are unique and very different from each other. As you defeat skeleton kings, you gain crowns that unlock player upgrades. This ranges from health packs to weapons, and changes up the game quite a bit.
Generally speaking, “Hellrider 2” isn't a hugely expansive game, but rather a focused one. It reminds me of “Jetpack Joyride” in a way; colorful and exciting gameplay that rewards the player with new unlocks. It's a game that I thought I was going to spend a few minutes with at a time, but found myself playing it in very long stretches. There's something about “Hellrider 2” that begs for “just one more level!”. There's a definite understanding of what makes a good game here, and Andrei was able to bring that understanding to the surface. The result is a super addictive, visually beautiful, and fully competent game in relation to modern expectations. Seriously, do yourself a favor and try this game out. It earns my highest acclaim and is my Editor's Choice for the month of December.
Reviewed by Matt
Watch Hellrider 2 Trailer