Capsule Review: Hell Girls

A match-3 game with a lightweight RPG framework. Combat is accomplished through match-3 gameplay, and in betwen battles you spend money and experience to improve your stats and occasionally get new abilities. You play as one of three elemental maidens who have different stat allocations and slightly different special moves, fighting a series of monsters who attack in varying ways - one enemy puts bombs on the board that deal heavy damage if not destroyed before their countdown runs out, while another poisons several tiles that each deal light damage every turn they are not cleared.

The match-3 gameplay is serviceable. Since it’s fully turn-based and all numbers are visible you can be fairly strategic with it, juggling your resources and setting up devastating combos. Unfortunately, the rest of the game is lacking and feels very cheaply slapped together. The music is repetitive and awful and the sound effects don’t fit well. The story and characterization are essentially nonexistent. From what I played, the girls don’t even seem to have names. You’re just dropped in and given a map with a series of levels to click on to trigger the combat encounters, occasionally with a small but jarring bit of dialog before or after. The first non-tutorial level starts with - out of nowhere - one of the girls strung up in a goblin trap while the approaching goblins declare their intent to rape and eat her. A couple levels later, the post-combat dialog has the NPC you just saved offering you “golden feces” in return. These scenes feel like they are intended to be titillating or funny but just come across as discordant and unpleasant. There’s nothing else to latch on to - no real idea who these characters are or why they’re doing what they’re doing.

If you want to play strategic match-3 puzzles next to pictures of anime girls, you’re much better off with HuniePop.

I Stopped Playing When: After 45 minutes or so when it was clear that the game was just passable match-3 gameplay periodically interrupted by unpleasant dialog scenes. Looking through the Steam reviews at this point also pointed me to this NSFW article on LewdGamer claiming the developer engages in very shady practices; I haven’t researched these claims.

Docprof's Rating:

One Star: Not for me. While there might be someone out there who'd enjoy this game, I was actively repulsed by it or just found nothing to latch on to.

You can get it or learn more here.