Game Reviews

Death Hall review - "A hardcore platformer with a new perspective"

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| Death Hall
Death Hall review - "A hardcore platformer with a new perspective"
| Death Hall

I've never known a game improve so much within a week of launch as Death Hall.

It went from a promising but ultimately frustrating and fiddly experience to one of my favourite mobile platformers of recent times in the space of a 0.1 update. What on Earth happened here?

Well, it's all down to a simple shift in perspective.

Dramatic landscape

When I started playing Tom Janson's hardcore platformer, I was immediately impressed with its hyper-stylised, hellish world and fluid animation.

I loved the premise of running the gauntlet through randomised levels, collecting hearts from fallen enemies. The dramatic escalation to fleeing a giant chompy monster that occurs half way through the opening level felt inspired

I even dug the scoring system, which finds novel ways of rewarding you for moving fast and punishing you for moving slowly. No arbitrary timers here.

The trouble was, Death Hall's unorthodox portrait perspective held me at arm's length.

Ah, that's better

Cramming the move left, move right and jump buttons in at the bottom of a portrait-aligned screen might have worked in Downwell, when the flow of play was all vertical.

But in a game where the action moves horizontally, it just felt cramped and restrictive.

One week on, and a major update now allows you to switch to landscape simply by flipping your iPhone on its side. It feels like Death Hall has taken off a particularly tight pair of trousers and can finally breath.

All of a sudden your fingers are a proper distance apart, your hands are comfortable, and you can see more of the spike-filled level ahead of you.

Death stranding

And believes me when I say you'll need to. Death Hall is seriously difficult, its treacherously sloping levels throwing up all manner of cruel spiky obstructions your way.

They're fairly simple to overcome when you're being careful, but like I said - there's usually a giant chompy beast lunging at you like a big angry orca.

You'll keep going back to Death Hall, though, for the lingering sense of secrets uncovered, and for its engrossingly fresh nightmare world. But most of all because it's really fun to play. At least in landscape.

Death Hall review - "A hardcore platformer with a new perspective"

Death Hall is a brilliantly brutal yet slick and silky platformer that's been expertly fine tuned