With her family torn apart and Olympus under siege, take control of Melinoe, Princess of the Underworld, as she seeks vengeance upon her grandfather, Chronos. Unlike Zagreus from the first game (her older brother), Melinoe is a practitioner in witchcraft, relying on new weapons, abilities, and allies in her quest to bring death to the Titan of Time. Travel downward in Hades II, an Action Roguelike out now in Early Access!

Release Date: May 6th, 2024
Available Systems: PC via Steam or Epic Store (current at time of writing)
Developer: Supergiant Games

Second Verse, Same as the First

Right out of the gate, anyone familiar with the first game should be right at home in the comforts of Hades II. The artstyle, presentation, and action are all retained, affording you the luxury of getting into the groove once more before learning the new stuff. That's not to say you cannot go directly into this with no experience of the first Hades, but it is definitely assumed that you know what's going on already. It took no time at all to find my way again, dominating overcoming the early enemies to make my way to the first boss. Naturally my hubris got the best of me, so, just like in the first game, I was swiftly put in my place and sent on my merry way back to The Crossroads, the new hub.


It is here where the new material truly begins to present itself. As a witch, you'll have access to a cauldron to call forth major updates to the hub, magic Tarot-esque cards that grant you upgrades, and new weapons of the Moon to unlock and wield. As per the norm for Supergiant Games, everyone is a delight to converse with, with a plethora of fully-voiced allies ready to talk your ears off once more. Not everyone is ready for prime-time, with a couple you meet along your journey still relying on placeholder appearances and the like, but Hades II is still in a very impressive state for Early Access, especially compared to where the first game started.

That said, the nature of the game isn't to talk your way to victory, but rather to die die die again until you've accumulated enough power (and knowledge) to overcome the trials that await you. Eventually it was time to set forth for a second run, and I did much better, defeating the first boss and encountering the second! I was beaten into the dirt again, but I was already improving and learning from my errors. It wasn't long before they, too, fell beneath my might, and I could set out for greater challenges...until eventually I ran into the ultimate roadblock: the dreaded "To Be Continued" message.

It being Early Access and all...

A New Tale to Tell

As previously mentioned, there's a lot of new and updated mechanics to Hades II, both to set it apart from the first game and also to spring ahead with what worked from last time. For example, one major combat difference is the seemingly total lack of extra dashes: before, Zagreus would chain dashes to dodge attacks and - when comboed well - could trivialize certain content. Melinoe has only the one dash, but she can rely on a sprint to outrun effects that her brother might have otherwise dashed right into.

...I would show you what I mean if I was a more capable screenshot-taker, but alas it can be a challenge to take pics in the middle of combat.

Anyway, there are even more Boons to acquire in this game, with something like a dozen gods to align with, and each of the upgrades feel different than the set Zagreus utilized. New characters mean additional abilities, such as fire to apply Scorch to enemies, and even the returning gods have new tricks up their sleeves...if they ever wore sleeves. All of this combines to freshen up the established formula, tweaking what worked, throwing out what didn't, and making sure to give Melinoe her own space to breathe and be herself.

It's another feather in the cap that Hades II works so well right out of the box, as it were, functioning pretty smoothly for an Early Access title; even on Steam Deck, where I captured the images. The only annoyance I had was that the game struggled to close when I went to quit, but I totally understand: I didn't want to step away from the game, either! I imagine it will run just fine on consoles, too, when we get to that point in the future.

And, of course, the soundtrack is once again immaculate. The beats rain fire on the proceedings just as much as Melinoe's witchcraft does. The second boss in particular had not just a theme but different songs, plural, and the songs themselves would change depending on who you were damaging. It was all incredibly wonderful to listen to; rather heavenly, if you catch my drift. As always, wait for the drop!


Despite my relatively short time with Hades II, I find it to be just as amazing as the original. Hades II impressively scratches that itch, being a sequel that retains the core of the original while building upon it in new and exciting ways. This couldn't really exist as a story expansion or DLC for Hades; it deserves to lay claim as the developer's first-ever sequel.

The game is well on its way to becoming bigger and more incredible than its predecessor, which is saying something given Hades won Game of the Year in some circles, among others awards. The characters are well-written, again. The game plays and feels so fun, again. The soundtrack is amazing, again. All of it comes together for a wonderful experience, one that'll only get better with some more updates.

At this point, unless Hell itself drags Supergiant Games into the abyss, we're looking at another contender for best roguelike ever. And even then, people would line up to dive down and try to save them, me among them! So all I can say at this point is: it's off to Hell we go! Death to Chronos!

Are you going to check out Hades II for yourself? Waiting for Early Access to end before you buy it? Let us know in the comments below!