Hades [a] is a roguelike and action / RPG computer game developed and published by the American studio Supergiant Games. The game was released to Early Access in 2018 as a temporary exclusive to the then-launched Epic Games Store; The full version for Microsoft Windows, macOS and Nintendo Switch was released in 2020.
The game’s plot is based on ancient Greek mythology: the main character Zagreus, the son of Hades, tries to escape from the underworld of the dead and get to Mount Olympus; on this path he is helped by the Olympian gods, who send gifts to Zagreus. In each playthrough, the player must overcome a series of randomly collected rooms with enemies and rewards; in case of death, Zagreus returns to the very beginning of the path, although the player can spend the treasures collected during the passage and to improve the characteristics or unlock new types of weapons. Hades’ multiple playthroughs are tied together by a variety of scenes and dialogues that reveal the game’s backstory and the relationships of its characters.
Hades received exceptionally high critical acclaim; reviewers noted both the fun gameplay and high replay value, as well as the elaborate and memorable characters and the world. She also achieved commercial success, with sales exceeding one million copies.
Hades Gameplay: Zagreus (center of screen) uses a boon set that allows arrows fired from a bow to explode on impact.
Hades uses isometric 2D graphics; the player-controlled hero – the god Zagreus – is in the center of the screen. On each playthrough, the player tries to navigate through a long sequence of rooms; the order of the rooms, the enemies appearing in them and the rewards are determined randomly, so that no passage repeats the previous one. The game features four “biomes” or areas of the realm of the dead, in each of which the player faces new enemies and dangers: Tartarus, Asphodel, Elysium and the Temple of Styx. In battles with enemies, Zagreus uses various weapons like a sword or bow, as well as a crystal that can be thrown from a long distance. After defeating all the enemies in the room, Zagrei receives the appropriate reward and can move to the next room. The pictograms on the doors leading to the following rooms indicate what kind of reward awaits them; a character can only go through one of several doors. The most valuable rewards are the gifts of the Olympians – enhancements or new abilities thematically related to a specific god: for example, Zeus, who wields lightning, can bestow the ability to shock enemies with an electric shock. If Zagreus’s health drops to zero, he “dies” and will be returned to the palace of Hades; however, all gifts of the Olympians received in the last playthrough will be lost.
In between passes, Zagreus can explore the palace of Hades. Here the player can get new weapons, use the keys and gems found in the walkthrough to unlock permanent improvements for Zagreus, or to ensure that certain rooms and objects appear in the next walkthroughs. Zagreus can also interact with various inhabitants of the kingdom of the dead – from dialogues with them, a cross-cutting narrative is built, linking numerous passages to each other; Zagrei can receive tasks in this way with additional rewards. Interaction with non-player characters is built in a random, procedural way – each time a player communicates with one or another non-player character in the next playthrough, the game randomly chooses one of the many pre-prepared topics for dialogue, but at the same time takes into account the context. So, the use of a certain weapon by the player, relationships between characters that have been determined in past playthroughs, or any important events in the game make certain topics a priority, and NPCs will talk about them first.
Zagreus, the son of Hades, tries to escape from the underworld of the dead, where his father reigns, and to get to Mount Olympus. Hades hinders these attempts, sending behind him various inhabitants of the kingdom of the dead – both ordinary sinners and more prominent representatives of ancient Greek mythology; among them are the former lover of Zagreus Meger, the bone Lernean hydra, the hero Theseus together with the Minotaur and, finally, Hades himself. In escaping Zagreus is helped by the Olympian gods, who send various gifts to Zagreus, as well as friendly inhabitants of the kingdom of the dead – for example, Sisyphus, Eurydice or Patroclus.
As the plot develops, Zagreus discovers that his real mother was the goddess Persephone, whose name is forbidden in the kingdom of the dead. After the first victory over Hades, Zagrei gets out to the surface of the earth and meets his mother.