The tumultuous multimedia journey of Anung Un Rama continues with Hellboy Web of Wyrd — a roguelike brawler that might help wash away the taste of the abysmal 2019 cinematic reboot. Developer Upstream Arcade has attempted to transpose the visual style and narrative spirit of Hellboy from the comics. In that sense, this is perhaps the best adaptation of Big Red yet created, but flawed gameplay holds it back.
The plot sees Hellboy entangled in the labyrinthine reality of the Wyrd. Tethered to a BPRD base called Butterfly House, he can dip in and out of this world of myth and fairy tales. Each dive offers a different warped universe to traverse. Descending into the Wyrd’s various layers, defeating bosses, and experimenting with different builds is a familiar loop, and this game does nothing new with a template that's been perfected by the likes of Hades. An assortment of upgrades and collectibles litter the arenas, offering enough intrigue to justify the grind.
Combat is clunky and molasses-slow, which might be an intentional riff on Hellboy's natural fighting style, but it’s not very fun. Our hero's big stone fist is the first and most useful tool in his arsenal, with the impactful combo finishers recalling the iconic BOOM! seen in the comics.
After a few runs of the Wyrd, you unlock more abilities that add offensive and defensive spice to proceedings. Yet, none of these can make the fighting any less bland and repetitive. There are some nice difficulty options that lengthen enemy cooldowns and buff player health. While not really needed, it's nice that the option is available to coast through and collect curios for the Butterfly House library.
It’s only in the interpretation of the source material that this title excels. Set within environments mimicking Mignola's thick-lined, minimalist art style and the distinct colour palette of Dave Stewart, it's a unique experience, one that'll undoubtedly appeal to fans. Hellboy himself, voiced by the late, great Lance Reddick, also feels true to his comic self; childish and cynical, with minimal dialogue that favours dismissive one-liners over expositional rambling.
Web of Wyrd is clearly created by people with a reverence for Mignola's work and impresses as an adaptation. However, as a roguelike and a brawler, it underwhelms.