Hellboy Web of Wyrd takes the iconic comics of Mike Mignola and translates them into an interactive experience that suits the titular character well. The upcoming roguelite comes from studio Upstream Arcade, which previously released West of Dead, and will be published by Good Shepherd Entertainment, known for its work on releasing titles like Monster Train and John Wick Hex. Screen Rant got some hands-on time with Web of Wyrd at this year’s Gamescom with Upstream Arcade’s art director Patrick Martin, who showed off the game’s comic book-style world.
The title’s brand-new storyline is set in 1982, and follows Hellboy as the B.P.R.D. investigates a spike in paranormal activity at a set of coordinates in Argentina. These lead them to The Butterfly House, a mysterious abandoned residence that serves as a portal to the Wyrd, an alternate dimension full of twisting paths and dangerous enemies. The Wyrd fits perfectly with the roguelite game structure – canonically ever-changing in its layout, the levels Hellboy traverses are procedurally generated, leading to a different experience on each run.
The Hellboy Web of Wyrd demo began with Martin showing off the varied combat controls for the over-the-shoulder brawler, which give Hellboy many different methods for defeating enemies. The red hero can utilize both quick and charged melee attacks, charms like the ability to push back enemies, and guns to get through each level’s assorted ethereal monsters. Before embarking on a run, Hellboy can visit the armory to stock up on weapons and also receive permanent upgrades to things like his health or toughness – the latter of which is a sort of shield that will protect his actual health from damage.
After a trip to the armory, Martin led the way to the game’s second biome. This area of the Wyrd was dark in both general ambiance and color – an outdoor area filled with winding paths, gateways, and statue-like monsters, all with a sort of gray hue to them. Each part of the biome was populated with both large and small enemies; the latter can be taken out in a single hit from the hero’s hand, but the big foes take a bit more time and tactics. Throughout each journey, Hellboy will pick up blessings, which offer temporary boons to different things like health or spells.
Martin compared some of the game’s dodging and hitting mechanics to a boxing game, which was certainly fitting. These towering monsters will convey their attacks clearly, with fights taking a somewhat slower pace than in some other roguelite titles. It’s not to say the fights aren’t intense, but rather that each blow landed on either party is noticeable and feels like it counts, and the choice of which kind of attack used in any given moment is meaningful. Stringing together combinations of long and short hits alongside gunfire and spellcasting is incredibly fun, and it’s easy to get into a satisfying combative rhythm.
This system is made even more pleasing through Web of Wyrd‘s gorgeous graphical style, which emulates the works of Mignola expertly. It truly feels like fighting within a comic book, and although the environment explored within the demo could be a bit repetitive it still felt like exploring a strangely intriguing and wonderfully stylized world. This aesthetic paired with in-game references to the comic series – for example, a colleague in the beginning of the preview mentioning something about pancakes to Hellboy, a nod to a 1999 story – made it clear that Hellboy Web of Wyrd is a project by and for fans of the franchise.
Hellboy Web of Wyrd will be released October 4 for PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, Nintendo Switch, and PC.