Hail to the King: Deathbat

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Hail to the King: Deathbat
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Hail to the King: Deathbat
Action
Mobile, PC
Review based on PC version
Publisher: Avenged Sevenfold
Developer: Subscience Studios
Release Date: October 30th, 2014
Website

Hail to the King: Deathbat is a PC title that kind of surprised a lot of music lovers. The reason being? Subscience Studios had entered into a partnership with the Alternative/Hard Rock group Avenged Sevenfold to put out a game based on the Deathbat. The band also acts as the publisher of this title. Released the day before Halloween of 2014, it has quickly become one of the more talked about games available for purchase within the marketplace. But is this really a good game, or is it a better marketing piece that requires users to pay to experience?

The story to Hail to the King: Deathbat all stems from the legend of the group’s poor excuse of an Overkill knock-off mascot, The Deathbat. Well, at least that’s what they say. The game follows a king by the name of Andronikos, who banished the darkness from the land and kept his people safe until he was assassinated. He has awakened as a zombie, who is out for revenge against the one referred to as Dark Andronikos, the “new” ruler who appears as the original king in disguise that allows the monsters to roam freely within the kingdom. When you sit down and look at the game, this would make for a good stand alone title, makinh the fact that this is in association with the band Avenged Sevenfold really feelslike something tacked on for notoriety.

Hail to the King: Deathbat

Hail to the King: Deathbat handles much like many PlayStation 1 and 2 titles, most notably games like Legacy of Kain with a top-down dungeon crawler vibe a la Diablo II on PC. You start off in one spot and make your way along the linear path to the end of the stage, sometimes having to solve small puzzles like standing on the proper pedestal in a certain order, or perform some kind of fetch quests like recovering certain gems to open up the next doorway and continue along towards the boss of the stage. For the most part it’s fairly simple, though some later levels can be pretty expansive, making the simple obstacle of the stage to advance far more time consuming than it ever needed to be.

And, much like any Action title along these lines, there ‘s to be a certain pattern to attacking, but one that seems to be a bit delayed. Regardless of the weapon you are using, even with magic spells, your foe will be knocked back but require an extra second or two before another hit will do so again. If you’re not privy to this knowledge, you will end up having your ass handed to you more times than you want to admit to. Really, it seems more like an odd delay in queing damage than something deliberately installed in the coding for the sake of difficulty. Sometimes any additional swipes won’t even count, forcing you to have to pace yourself, or run around in circles like an idiot to avoid being hit while spacing out your attacks for optimal damage.

Hail to the King: Deathbat

There are ways to help get yourself through the few stages that exist though, which requires a great deal of grinding. Coins are just as important to you in this adventure as health and mana end up being. Within the crypt, which is the game’s introductory stage, you can buy health and mana potions, expand how much of each you can have at one time, as well as buy new weapons. The costs don’t seem much at the time, but for one of the better swords that will maximize how much life and magic at your disposal, not to mention do a little extra damage, you’ll end up shelling out over four thousand coins. Considered the norm is one coin, once in a while finding chests or breakable caskets filled with gold coins valued at ten, you’re better off just hanging out in the early stages grinding away, not to mention exploiting the bonus stages that feature a treasure goblin you can take down for more money aside the lines of free cash in this levels.

You can also change who you play as within the game through the aforementioned crypt. As you progress and complete levels, you will unlock “friends” who are meant to aid you in the quest. These individuals are actually the zombie versions of the members of Avenged Sevenfold. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of the band, some of them do actually seem to have benefits you can use, such as quicker attack times, not to mention a change to the random one or two line voice overs like Andronikos’s constant “Wait, don’t I know you?” inquiry to random foes over and over.

What’s more, there’s plenty of references to the band as far as the overall game design goes. The most obvious are the stages, which are all based around specific song names, such as “Bat Country”. There’s also song references in the bosses found throughout the quest as well, such as The Harlot, which comes from the song “The Beast and The Harlot”. Even the music is taken from Avenged Sevenfold‘s discography, touted as an original eight-bit score that actually just sounds more like a modern computerized version instead of that signature .midi format. Either way, fans of the group will definitely get a kick out of hearing these songs brought to interactive life.

Hail to the King: Deathbat

Hail to the King: Deathbat is also a fairly short title. With grinding time included, you’re looking at maybe ten to twelve hours for a complete run through, making this a game you can hammer out over the course of the weekend. But, if you want some additional fun, there is a New Game + mode available upon completion. You keep everything you have already acquired as you go through the world with a different color scheme, fighting against enemies that have a little more life than they did in your first time through. With the right sword, health and mana maxed out, nt to mention remembering the proper attack patterns, and grinding for extra coins when necessary for additional potions and extra lives in the case you die, this new mode is still an easy run through. Of course there’s bonus stages you can unlock and pages to The Book of Mortals to be found, though neither seem to carry over if you take on the additional task.

Hail to the King: Deathbat

Overall, Hail to the King: Deathbat isn’t a bad game, but it’s not a great game either. There’s not a lot of levels, though some seem to go on longer than any real need, the hit detection seems a bit delayed, and a good couple hours of game play seem dedicated solely to grinding for gold in order to get what you need to reach Dark Andronikos. There’s very little challenge once you do get enough for a better weapon, not to mention maximize how much health you can have at one time. But, for a six dollar (US) purchase from the Steam marketplace, or less on other mobile device stores like Google Play, you get what you pay for: A good title you can plough through over the course of the weekend and have no regrets about.


Overall Score: 6.5/10
Digital review copy of this title provided by Subscience Studios
via Sandbox Strategies.