Hades is a roguelike action role-playing video game developed and published by Supergiant Games. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Nintendo Switch on September 17, 2020, which followed an early access release from December 2018. Hades was developed following Supergiant’s Pyre, a game in which they wanted to explore procedural narrative storytelling, but due to the nature of the main gameplay, found that players did not play through Pyre multiple times to explore this. The roguelike structure of Hades gave them the opportunity to tell these branching stories to the player over the course of multiple runs. Hades received critical acclaim for its gameplay and narrative and won several awards from nominations, including Game of the Year from over fifty gaming publications.
Defy the god of the dead as you hack and slash out of the Underworld in this rogue-like dungeon crawler from the creators of Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre. Players control Zagreus, the son of Hades, as he attempts to escape from Underworld to reach Mount Olympus, at times aided by gifts bestowed on him from the other Olympians. Each run challenges the player through a random series of rooms populated with enemies and rewards. The game has a hack and slash combat system; the player uses a combination of their main weapon attack, dash power, and magic ability to defeat them while avoiding damage to progress as far as possible. While Zagreus will often die, the player can use gained treasure to improve certain attributes or unlock new weapons and abilities to improve chances of escaping on subsequent runs.
The Olympians have your back! Meet Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and many more, and choose from their dozens of powerful Boons that enhance your abilities. There are thousands of viable character builds to discover as you go. As the immortal Prince of the Underworld, you’ll wield the powers and mythic weapons of Olympus to break free from the clutches of the god of the dead himself, while growing stronger and unraveling more of the story with each unique escape attempt. A fully-voiced cast of colorful, larger-than-life characters is waiting to meet you! Grow your relationships with them, and experience thousands of unique story events as you learn about what’s really at stake for this big, dysfunctional family. New surprises await each time you delve into the ever-shifting Underworld, whose guardian bosses will remember you.
The player takes the role of Zagreus, the prince of the Underworld, who is trying to escape the realm to get away from his dispassionate father, Hades, and reach Mount Olympus. His quest is supported by the other Olympians, who grant him gifts to help fight the beings that protect the exit from the Underworld. He is also helped on his quest by notorious residents of the Underworld, such as Sisyphus, Eurydice, or Patroclus. The game is presented in an isometric view with the player in control of Zagreus. The player starts a run-through of the game by trying to fight their way through a number of rooms; the room layouts are pre-determined, but their order and the enemies that appear are randomly determined. The game has a hack and slash combat system. The game features four “biomes”, or locales of the underworld: Tartarus, Asphodel, Elysium, and the Temple of Styx.
The player has a primary weapon, a special attack, and a magic “cast” which can be used from long range. Upon starting a run, one of the Olympians will provide a gift, a choice of three persistent boosts for that run that the player can select from; the gifts are themed based on the Olympian, for example with Zeus providing lightning damage effects. Subsequently, after clearing a room, the player will be shown the type of reward they may earn if they complete the next room or choice of next rooms, ranging from additional Olympian gifts, weapon upgrades, restorative items, in-game currency called obols, a store to purchase improvements, or items that can be used in the meta-game in the Underworld that affect future run-throughs.
Should Zagreus’ health points drop to zero, he “dies” and ends up facing his father, removing all Olympian gifts, weapon upgrades, and obols granted from the last run. Between runs, Zagreus can explore the Underworld before setting on a new quest. Here, the player can use items recovered from run-throughs to impact the meta-game. The player can unlock and upgrade abilities for Zagreus, order construction of new Underworld features that may appear in future run-throughs, or obtain or upgrade new weapons. They can also have Zagreus interact with the various characters of the Underworld and improve his standing with them, which provide narrative elements to the game and may also provide quests with additional rewards. The player can also choose the protagonist to romance some NPCs namely Megaera, Thanatos and Dusa as the plot progresses.
Hades received “universal acclaim”, according to review aggregator Metacritic. During its nearly two year long early access, Hades sold seven hundred thousand copies. Within three days of its official release, Hades sold an additional three hundred thousand copies for a sales total of over one million. In particular, critics praised Hades for its story, characters, gameplay and soundtrack. Hades won over 100 awards for numerous independent and action genre achievements. The game ultimately won five categories at the 10th Annual New York Game Awards, including Game of the Year, Best Music, Best Writing, and Best Acting. Several publications considered it as one of the best video games of 2020, including Polygon, Giant Bomb, IGN, USGamer, Destructoid, Time, The Washington Post, Slant Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly.