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Stylish new roguelike mixing Tony Hawk with Hades grinds onto Steam

Helskate, the new skateboarding action roguelite from Phantom Coast, kickflips its way into early access, out now with a launch Steam sale.

The Helskate release date on Steam is here - A purple-skinned man with white hair, wearing a yellow t-shirt and riding on a bright pink skateboard while holding a red katana.

The frantic action of Hades, dashing from room to room and clearing out hordes of demons and monsters with all manner of deadly weapons and combos. The effortless style of nailing that perfect Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater line – the nosegrind down the stairs, the heelflip into wallride as you rack up that high score. Unquestionably two of the most satisfying feelings in gaming. But what if you could take one of those ideas and pop shove-it into the other? Thanks to Helskate, now you can, and the new skateboarding action roguelike just hit early access with a Steam sale to celebrate.

Helskate really is best described as the somewhat unexpected love child of Hades and Tony Hawk that, the moment you see it in action, makes so much sense you can’t believe you didn’t think of it yourself. Blending one of the best roguelike games with one of the most iconic series in all of videogames works surprisingly well, it turns out, as I discovered when I spent time playing its Steam Next Fest demo.

You’ll move from zone to zone, each a little skate park or street section filled with enemies, and you need to clear out the danger before grabbing an upgrade or moving on. Some of those will offer stat boosts and simple upgrades, while others grant you bonuses based on the tricks you pull off – a particular favorite of mine amplified the damage of my next attack after landing a tailgrab.

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Handling the skateboarding and action elements is pretty manageable – enemy attacks will give you warning markers that you’ll need to steer clear of, and flipping my brain between gnarly combos and, well, gnarly combos quickly became second nature. The only real struggle I had was keeping the camera under control, but the aforementioned warnings at least made sure I was still able to dodge incoming danger.

The early access version of Helskate currently includes the first of three planned worlds. Phantom Coast says it estimates the game will remain in early access for “around a year,” but that it may be slightly longer to allow the team to “take our time developing ideas through your feedback.” It also emphasizes that it will continue actively supporting Helskate with updates during early access, and that the price will likely increase when the 1.0 launch arrives, but “not by too much.”

The team also highlights its planned update roadmap (seen below), so you’ll have an idea of what to expect in the run-up to its full launch. The camera issues I mentioned earlier are already being addressed with two new camera control options, which is great to see, along with options for control remapping and some additional tweaks to the feel of the skating.

Helskate early access roadmap - Details on the updates coming in the first year after the skateboarding roguelike's Steam launch.

A spring update will introduce new levels, upgrades, a miniboss, ice-based gear, footage quests, a weapon deck, and one particular must-have for any Tony Hawk-inspired game: secret tapes. Chapter two is set to arrive with an update in the fourth quarter of this year, and chapter three will follow after that.

Helskate is out now on Steam in early access. Phantom Coast is celebrating the launch with a Steam sale giving you a 10% discount until Thursday February 22, so expect to pay $22.49/£18.99 if you buy it before then, or $24.99/£20.99 afterwards.

Looking for more extreme action? Lap into the best parkour games for plenty of heart-pumping tricks, or get up to speed on the latest news on the Hades 2 release date and everything we know so far about the upcoming sequel from Supergiant Games.

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