A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
This fantasy action game is about escaping the underworld by battling beasts, deities, other creatures. No positive (or negative) messages.
Positive Role Models
You play as young Zagreus, son of Hades, who's trying to find a way out of the underworld. He does this by battling all kinds of foes he's confronted with, using deadly weapons -- like a sword, hammer, bow and arrow, magic attacks -- through countless dungeons. But while Zagreus inflicts pain and death, the Prince of the Underworld doesn't seem to belong here and wants to leave.
Ease of Play
Can be challenging, but protagonist Zagreus is easy to control as he navigates around dungeons, battling foes, avoiding traps, acquiring items. It isn't difficult to learn but does get progressively more difficult. When you die, you must start at the beginning of a level and figure out how to get past trouble areas -- which will require a lot of trial and error.
Violence & Scariness
Combat is at the core of this action game, but despite all the violence, it's not realistic or played from an immersive perspective (first-person or virtual reality, etc.). You will see some blood splatter, and when your main character "dies" (yes, he's immortal, but he can deplete his energy), you may see him impaled on spikes or face down in a literal pool of blood. Fighting involves mortal weapons (sword, hammer, bow) as well as magic attacks you'll acquire over time.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some suggestive scenes, such as a naked Aphrodite, but her long hair is covering her nipples, and her leg is turned to prevent view of her groin. Later on, an implied sex scene is heard but not seen (screen turns black), but it includes the sound of giggling and whipping.
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Dialogue has some mild profanity, such as "bastard," "hell," and "piss off."
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Products & Purchases
PC (Steam) edition can be purchased in a bundle along with the Hades soundtrack.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some references and imagery tied to alcohol. One character, Dionysus, god of fertility and wine, is seen holding a chalice, and his attack moves have alcohol-related names such as "Drunken Flourish" and "Premium Vintage."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hades is an action/adventure game that's available on PC and Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It's a combat-centric title that has you killing enemies in the underworld, including deities and creatures big and small, with several human weapons and magic attacks. Blood splatter can be seen on fallen enemies, and when the character "dies" (he's immortal but can still perish), he may be face down in a pool of red blood or be impaled on huge spikes. Some scenes are sexual in nature, but there's no nudity (including an implied sex scene, which is heard and includes whipping). There's mild profanity, with words like "piss off" and "bastard." One character is seen holding wine, and his fighting moves have alcohol-related phrases.
Is It Any Good?
Between the engaging action and story, the character progression, and randomly generated dungeons, this is not one to miss -- especially for fans of fantasy action and role-playing games. The first thing you'll notice about Hades is the attention to story detail, because you're not a generic protagonist looking to just hack and slash without rhyme or reason. The tight writing keeps you interested in who you are and how you fit into this story, and with your goal to escape the underworld, you've got something meaningful to work toward. After you familiarize yourself with the controls, combat is fast and frenetic, and you must constantly move to avoid attacks, such as projectiles, as well as steer clear of some elements in the environment, such as chasms, explosives, and spikes.
The game is tough, and because you must start back at a home base, you might think it's discouraging. But, because you can apply some upgrades in your room and get back at it -- with randomly generated content -- it doesn't deter you from continuing. If anything, you're even more motivated to try different tactics while fighting to see if you can advance to another major milestone, all the while uncovering more of the story and characters you meet along the way. Add the attractive graphics and stellar musical score, and it's easy to see why Hades is both a critical and a commercial success. Along with the high production, it's one of those rare games that's a complete package, between the tight controls, strong narrative and characters, deep action, and replayability. Sure, adding multiplayer would be so much fun, but shy of that, there isn't anything to complain about with this extraordinarily fun game -- which is only $30, compared to most games out today at at least twice the price. Kudos to Supergiant Games for the clear craftsmanship that went into building Hades. It's a hell of a good time.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.