When we reviewed the original release of Hellpoint on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, it was an underwhelming experience filled with issues that ultimately led to my colleague, Will, not completing the game. While he had issues with level design, bland enemies, and exploitable bosses, the biggest issue was the performance. Naturally, I was quite curious about how Cradle Games were going to tackle this Souls-Like on the much less powerful Nintendo Switch. Spoiler alert: not very well.
I began my playthrough in docked mode. As the intro cutscene played, I noticed some jagged lines that are all too common in Nintendo Switch ports. I thought very little of these as it is almost to be expected on an already underpowered four-year-old piece of hardware; at least the frame rate may be improved as a result. The first few minutes were a positive sign. Mostly exploring narrow corridors, the frame rate was consistent; however, once I moved into the more open areas, the frame rate took quite a hit. Some games can get away with the odd drop here or there, but in a Souls-Like, a genre that prides itself on tough-as-nails action with perfect timing needed, any drops instantly ruin the experience. Once combat began, the frame rate would take massive hits. While I’m not Digital Foundry and can’t give you exact figures, it was unacceptable. When I fought the first boss, the frame rate dropped so low that it would cause me to lose my bearings and be damaged by one of its deadly attacks.
It was slightly bearable in the first area, but once I moved past this, it became so bad that I gave up on the game entirely; too many deaths were caused by choppy frame rates. I know some may think that Bloodborne, Dark Souls, and Demon’s Souls were the same, and you’d be correct in saying that. However, those games had amazing mechanics and level design behind them that made the poor frame rate more bearable than in a bang average game like Hellpoint.
Unsurprisingly, performance only gets worse in handheld. I would go so far as to say that it was unplayable, going from a smooth frame rate to practically slow motion and then back to an acceptable frame rate so often that I turned the game off, never to play it again. The graphics are slightly better as the jagged lines aren’t as noticeable on the 6.2-inch screen. One issue arose in handheld, however, and that is the UI size. I have 20/20 vision, and the inventory screen and text are so small that I struggled to see what was going on.
I can’t recommend Hellpoint on Nintendo Switch to anyone. The game is filled to the brim with technical issues that render it unplayable in my eyes. If we remove these issues, this barebones Souls-Like title may appeal to a very small audience, but I would go buy Dark Souls Remastered on Nintendo Switch if you’re looking for a handheld Souls-Like experience. Even at a discounted price, I would avoid it.
Developer: Cradle Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 25th February 2021
Gaming Respawn’s copy of Hellpoint on the Nintendo Switch was provided by the publisher.