If you thought 33 Immortals looked like Hades, just wait until you play it. The top-down cooperative action roguelike from developer Thunder Lotus has a lot of similarities to the award-winning game from Supergiant, from its gameplay to its concept, but there’s one key difference: 33 players will enter the fray together, and have to fight against Lucifer, God, and more as they try to break out of hell. That’s a lot more firepower for you to work with than in Hades.
I got a chance to go hands-on with 33 Immortals at the Xbox Summer Showcase, and though it is eerily similar to Hades in many ways, its large-scale co-op could really help differentiate it.
33 Immortals hands-on
When the trailer for 33 Immortals first began during the Xbox Showcase, I wasn’t the only one who immediately thought of Hades. The top-down camera view, the hack-and-slash combat, hell even the art style seem to heavily reference the beloved 2018 game. Then, as I learned more about the story and gameplay, my eyebrows slid further up my forehead (quite the feat considering the amount of Botox I’ve gotten pumped in there).
You and the rest of the 32 immortals are trying to break out of eternal punishment — there were several Divine Comedy references throughout my gameplay, so the game is clearly based on Dante Alighieri’s epic poem — and forma team of rebels to discover a means of escaping purgatory.
The “pick-up and raid matchmaking” promised by Thunder Lotus is meant to get you in a game and beating up baddies fast, like an MMO on several Red Bulls. There are various weapons that change your combat style, though I only noticed a bow and a sword during my hands-on, and relics you can snag from chests that will help you hone your build. Little stations before dungeons let you use bones (the game currency) to buy some health before you get whacked around by a skull with spider legs.
After successfully completing one of 33 Immortals’ dungeons, though they’recalled called torture chambers here(because of course they are), the wrath of God will rain down on you, forcing you all to dash around like mad to avoid massive AoE attacks representing the Big Dude’s wrath. This part was particularly fun to play through with a group of six, as we were all shouting obscenities into our mics as we chaotically ran in various different directions on the rather-large map.
Though the combat itself is somewhat simple (smash X to do some damage, use A to dash), 33 Immortals has an interesting co-op mechanic. Pressing right trigger will summon a sigil on the ground nearby; if two other players get in it and you all activate at the same time, you can perform a healing spell for the trio, or shoot a barrage of arrows at a particularly nasty boss. It’s all about timing with this, as we learned the hard way by activating the arrow attack just before a huge enemy waltzed onto the map and we all groaned in horror.
It’s unclear just how 33 Immortals will support 33 players at once, though Thunder Lotus is hoping to have crossplay for consoles and PC players. And as Digital Trends’ Giovanni Colantonio points out, there only seems to be an emote system, and no ping wheel or other easy way to communicate with the 32 other players.
Its vicinity to Hades means that 33 Immortals’ co-op gameplay really needs to shine and run smoothly on day one. If it does, it could be a big new party game for fans of top-down shooters, lovers of Hades, and those who like teaming up with 30-some-odd friends for some chaotic dungeon-crawling. 33 Immortals is due out in 2024 for Xbox and PC, and will release in Early Access, which could be a major boon for the game as player feedback will be essential to differentiate it from those that have come before. This is one I’m keeping an eye on.
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