Abandon all hope, ye who enter Malebolgia! Explore this haunted palace and fight the terrible demons and beasts within, as you struggle to escape the cold and desolate wasteland of Hell.
User reviews:
Mixed (64 reviews) - 68% of the 64 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 6, 2015

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“...and found myself drawn to Malebolgia, best described as Souls mixed with a stylish horror flick.”

“Malebolgia is a breath of fresh air in the sea of cookie cutter indie horror games out there.”
Rely On Horror

“Malebolgia's strength seems to be found it its thick engrossment in the atrocities of Hell, but also in leaving the details out so that we can fill them with our own imagined terrors.”
Kill Screen

About This Game

Malebolgia is an atmospheric horror action/adventure, set in an old demonic palace, situated in the deepest Circle of Hell. The characters and story are inspired by Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno”, the ranks and nobility of the “Ars Goetia” and European history at the dawn of the 20th century.

As the old and battle-weary Leopold, you are forced to fight your way through this desolate and cold bastion of Hell, filled with macabre ghouls, fiendish devils and gargantuan monsters. On his desperate quest for freedom, Leopold encounters familiar faces and slowly comes to realize why he is trapped inside the palace. Is there truly escape from the Beast itself?

Key Features:

  • A haunted palace to venture through, ever-changing with the passage of time and weather. As day fades into night, once visited areas will feature new threats and attackers. A raging blizzard may subside to clear a path, while a fiery inferno may trap you amongst the ravenous undead.
  • A deliberately paced combat system to fend off the demons. Wield your torch and halberd well against the numerous vicious enemies and abhorrent bosses. These are not threats to outrun, but opponents to best in battle.
  • A cel-shaded visual style that utilizes the contrast of light and shadow for an atmospheric and memorable experience.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: Phenom II 940 (@3.0Ghz)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: AMD Radeon 4890HD
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
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Mixed (64 reviews)
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
59 of 78 people (76%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
7.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: December 9, 2014
I just have to write it:

"Dark Souls clone".
There is no escaping this parallel, I'm afraid. Even the stairways look like they were plucked directly from Anor Londo. But! I'm not going to name it as a con.

I'll start with the negative aspects:
-Stiff as wood animations all around, which makes most enemy attacks look goofy. I swear, that tri-headed demon has a grab attack during which the protagonist stays completely still. Same goes for death animation - Leopold doesn't die per se, he just slouches a bit, looking depressed. It looks less like real combat and more like an elaborate game of pretend.

-Strange AI. Some enemies aggro only when you stand uncomfortably close to them, but can be provoked by locking on from afar. Which trivializes one of the bossfights, since you pick enemies one by one, lead them in a corner, then bash their heads in with a halberd.
Same goes for certain bosses - they feel a bit too easy, having extremely long windup animations and enormous amount of dead zones.

Would probably need adjusting for the final release.

-Not exactly memorable layout for the palace. Maybe it's intentional, but most rooms and hallways look copypasted to hell and back. 1 entrance+ 3 doors, with only 5 or so grand halls, and only 1 of them has at least something worth noticing (namely the giant statue). I can understand if striving for minimalism was a choice in design, but right now it doesn't provide that "hollow" feeling, it just looks unfinished. Fitting for an Early Access game, I suppose.

Now for something good. It's going to be a much shorter list.

-Ambience and music are well-done, amplifying the somber atmosphere of the game.
-Story is...not particularly captivating, but it's mysterious enough to draw the player in.
-Potential. Yeah, I don't really say that often, but the game certainly has potential. It's not gonna get any GOTYs, that's for sure, but I can see it as a pleasant experience in the near future.
All that, plus the fact that the game was made by one person (or at least that's what I've reckoned after doing some background check) really makes me want to recommend it.

And I will. But keep in mind, my decision is swayed by the fact that I'm a sucker for these kinds of games.

So if you want to play low-budget version of Demon's/Dark Souls, you can pick it up after the full release and just pretend that you're playing a game made by FromSoft's F-team. Or G-team.
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60 of 83 people (72%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 6, 2015
Dark Souls + Horror + 1990s gameplay = Malebolgia

I'm enjoying this game a lot although for the wrong reasons. The gameplay is fairly poor but the excellent atmosphere drives me to keep exploring. Here are some of the pros and cons...

  • Very spooky
  • Old-school feel
  • Nice art style

  • Gameplay is meh
  • Fighting is very clunky
  • A lot of areas look similar
  • Dying because your character didn't do what you wanted

I wish it had a bit more polish but it's still pretty okay and worth the cheap asking price. Just be warned that this game has a very old school feel and functions like a mid 90s game. I think older gamers will enjoy this more than the younger crowd.

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43 of 59 people (73%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
14.5 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: January 16, 2015
Soft sprinklings of piano overwhelmed by the haziness of a roaring snowstorm, a melancholy scene of blurry white as our protagonist sits listening under the dome of an ancient structure. As we enter into this hellish palace however, the player realizes something is different; something ominous and evil.

You awake in a familiar and darkened library of a palace, the demonic statues peering down from before you as the crackling of a fireplace is heard. At first little is known of the surroundings we've become enshrouded by other than the need to explore and escape it. As you scour the dark hallways portraits and statues of former inhuman residents sit proudly on shelves and grotesque, surreal paintings line the walls. One thing is being made clear to the player; this palace is not of any realm within human knowledge.

Venturing deeper into the heart of this ghastly mansion of antique oddities you come across various personalities who seem to be old acquaintances that have anticipated your arrival. They speak to you in cryptic messages bearing skeletal faces with no skin, claiming to wear their "masks of flesh" no longer. According to these dark personalities, this hellish realm is your home and where you belong.

Will you succumb to their wishes and remain a piece of the palace enshrouded by snow and demonic mysteries, or will you escape the overshadowing blizzard with your life and defeat the chaotic souls that rule the pits of this Dante Alighieri's "Inferno" inspired Hell?

For a combat system that seems so simple, it offers a lot of variety in how you strategically approach each foul demon of Hell encountered in this strange palace. Tapping attack gives you quick but weak swings with your metal spear in rapid succession, whereas pressing forward in time with a swing performs a heavy lunge attack. As useful and strong as the lunge attacks are they leave you wide open to counters and should be saved for a final blow. Pressing back in time with a swing creates a quick back-step maneuver that the player will be forced to rely on to time and escape deadly blows and create the perfect opportunity for a counter attack.

While it may not be as deep or flashy as the Dark Souls series, Malebolgia is clearly striving for the same kind of slow and calculated approach to long and brutal encounters with single diabolical creatures ranging from slow, lurching ghouls to terrifying and majestic chimeras. Endurance is the key to your survival as you go toe-to-toe with your enemy blocking, bashing, and taking only the most ample of opportunities to lunge and make your final strike.

Malebolgia has a striking visual style and while many will find the minimalistic, archaic design of the palace to be drab it provides a deliberately moody and heavy atmosphere all around you. The muted and dull colors with black and white checkered floors bring out the distinct red found in various books or curtains, all looking like something out of Twin Peak's dreamlike "Red Room" scenes.

The chilling ambiance of the background music fits the harsh imagery, sounding like something straight out of the torture chambers of a medieval castle. The monsters are brought to life with ghastly grunts and haunting chants from later magical enemies that ring in your ears as you attempt to focus your energy into dodging beams of their evil energy.

Malebolgia is a game that clearly puts an emphasis on atmosphere in the end, and it succeeds in providing a genuinely strange and creepy encounter many times over. The combat provides just enough engagement through your exploration of the surreal surroundings to keep you on your toes and wondering in fear which frightening creature will be around the corner to greet you next.

With an already considerable amount of love and care put into patches and overall polish to the look and feel of the game, this is proving to be another one of the finer examples of exciting Early Access experiences to be a part of. Malebolgia's halls are already a deranged pleasure to explore and clearly hold even more potential for odd secrets and other cryptic strangeness, I'm eagerly anticipating what other surprises Jochen has in store.
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18 of 19 people (95%) found this review helpful
12.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 10, 2015
So I just finished playing through the game and thought I should write a review for it. You play as a man named Leopold confined to the Palace Malebolgia. You fight for your life battling demons who have took over the palace and now rule it.

  • Amazing looking game and environments.
  • Cool story with satisfying ending.
  • Spooky and is full of mystery.
  • Fun yet challenging boss fights.
  • Can have your health and attack upgraded.
  • There isn’t much telling you what to do or where to go. Can leave you wandering around for a while.
  • Combat is hard to get a hold of. But similar to the Dark Souls combat system.
  • Healing is based off lighting candles. Only found in doorways and sometimes there are none. You will also need to light a couple to get back to full health.
  • Map system is hard to use and read, yet sometimes necessary to use.
Other things in the game that really could be good or bad.
  • Confined to one weapon, your halberd.
  • Save system is based off finding a clock, only a few within the entire game.
  • Can find “shields”. Locations of them will change and sometimes are necessary for boss fights.
Overall this game was a lot of fun and made me wanting to go back and beat it. And I will probably be going back to play it again soon. But like I said, it is hard to know what you are supposed to be doing at first and it can be easy to get lost. By the end of the game you should know your way around fairly well and have a good idea of what’s going on. I’m not sure if it’s worth the base price but on sale is totally worth it. Dark Souls fans give it a try!
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16 of 17 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 28, 2015

- Gameplay is interesting enough to make you want to finish the game.
- Boss fights have varying mechanics which actually require some thought
- Game is visually striking in artstyle. Dev has done a good job compensating for lower modeling and graphics.
- Decent playtime of around 6hr


-Combat can be dull for normal enemies and controls can be a bit wonky at times.
-Story can be a bit hard to follow and the objective hint is not always helpful, though I find it rather refreshing to have a game that doesn't just put checkpoint arrows everywhere you need to be. Pacing your gameplay can leave you wandering around wondering where you left off however.

Dev set out to make an indie Dark Souls-esque and Malebogia accomplishes that goal. I'd reccomend picking up on a sale.
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14 of 15 people (93%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 9, 2015
This game surprised me.

I hated this game when I first started playing it. The difficult controls, unforgiving block system, and confusing map left me scratching my head. However, I am one to always try to finish a game, no matter how bad it is, so I pushed on.

I'm so glad I did. This game really comes into its own later on. The map design becomes more intuitive as you continue to explore and the layout of the castle begins to take shape. The story, while rather confusing, had me intrigued. The combat became more fun and intense once I began relying on dodging instead of blocking.

Cel-shaded graphics style
Interesting and unique story
Satisfying combat
Great map design
A great developer who interacts with the community
Fantastic enemy design that keeps you on your toes

No graphics options besides resolution, windowed, and shadow settings
Vague story
Frustrating combat and exploration at first
As of this writing, the game's achievements are not working properly.
(EDIT: There has been an update that apparantly fixes the achievements, so you can ignore this last point.)

If you're willing to ride out the confusing and frustrating first half hour or so, then I highly recommend this game, particularly to fans of the Souls series. This game deserves significantly more attention than it has received.
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27 of 41 people (66%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
7.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 22, 2015
*Atmosphere is decent
*Good enemy and boss variety, though normal enemy attacks all fall under the categories of fireball, swipe, or grab

*Only one weapon with only two attacks: horizontal and vertical
*Awkward combat that takes getting used to
*Slow movement
*Stiff animations
*Little direction
*Map is difficult to navigate
*Bland and repetitive visuals
*Story is conveyed very infrequently and vaguely; most bosses don't seem to have any in-game background
*The player is forced to fight the tutorial boss every time he starts the game (see UPDATE 1 below)
*No obvious sense of character progression
*Cannot use weapon outside of battle
*Health bar isn't visible unless the player is hit or heals
*Neither player nor enemy attacks feel impactful


4-7 hours, depending on how often the player gets lost, becomes confused about where to go, or dies to bosses. I took around 6, though nearly an hour of that was trying to find a specific boss to progress.

3.5 out of 10

Even though I started this game with great interest, I truly struggle to find positive things to say about it. Despite what other reviewers have said, this is a far cry from Dark Souls. But even without that unjustified comparison affecting my expectations, I would have been disappointed.

If the combat weren't so bland and unpolished, I could tolerate some of the other negative aspects of the game. Having to explore to figure out where to go isn't necessarily bad, repetitive visuals make sense in a castle, a story told vaguely or indirectly can still be good, and animation isn't everything. But all of these things become noticeable cons when the gameplay itself consists only of using the same two attacks and backwards dash (and occasionally timed blocking) against every enemy. It doesn't help that, despite having a halberd, the player's attacks don't seem to have much greater range than enemies' claw swipes, or that a lot of combat takes place in confined areas with little room to dodge or make use of a halberd's range anyway.

I realize that the developer is one person, but simple changes like faster attack and movement speed and a sideways dash (see UPDATE 2 below) would go a long way to improving the combat, though it will always probably be clunky and bland. This in turn would make some of the other negatives more bearable. The trouble is that, right now, no feature of the game is impressive enough to distract from the other shortcomings.

For its bland combat, meager story, poor direction, and repetitive environments, I give this game a 3.5 out of 10.

UPDATE 1: Apparently, the tutorial boss fight on each start-up is a sort of loading screen. If one waits long enough, the game loads. However, this is not made clear, so it is still a misstep.

UPDATE 2: In response to popular demand, the developer implemented faster player attack speed and a sideways dash, which does indeed improve the combat practically, but also aesthetically, as the player character can move more fluidly. I have boosted my score (originally a 2.5 out of 10) accordingly. However, this does not drastically improve the game as a whole, so the boost in score is small.
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16 of 21 people (76%) found this review helpful
6.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 27, 2015
The recent update has improved this game for me significantly. My initial problems were never with the world, or atmosphere. The dark castle makes me want to explore and uncover its secrets, and there is a foreboding of dread as you open each door. The gameplay is reminiscent of the souls games, but without the high grade of polish. However, the recent update has addressed some of its issues, and I hope more will come to fully flesh it out. The update has added side-stepping, which expands your combat options, and also increased the speed of the players attacks, making combat more reliable. It has grown from an experience that I had to persevere through in order to see what is truly a compelling world to something much more enjoyable. In a future update, I think the addition of unlocked combat would truly complete the system (the ability to attack and dodge without having to be locked on). I recommend this game and look forward to any future improvements.
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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 8
Tldr; simplified dark souls style game, narrative is pretty good, atmospheric and striking visuals, good music.

I am really impressed that an indie game company has been able to develop a game with mechanics similar to Dark Souls. I enjoyed this game for the most part.

The visuals are beautiful and very clever. I really enjoyed the striking contrast of the colours with the simplistic polygon style. Malebolgia comes off as clean and never overpowering or crowded. I loved the use of light and the torchlight really lent itself to the atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed as the game progressed through the acts, the atmosphere became darker without being too obvious. If there's any critique to be made, I feel that Leopold's model could play with light and shadow a little better, as he was a bit awkward looking at times. I also understand that it's much more difficult to have light interact with dynamic objects though, so I am not too bothered. I also thought that important NPC's could have more defined models, as some of them share models with regular monsters.

I enjoyed the OST for this game. Very atmospheric and well done. I also enjoy a game that can appreciate silence as important in setting tone for a scene or area.

Narrative is great. I enjoy games that don't necessarily hand you the entire plot. The game trusts the player to remember small details and connect the dots themselves. The pacing is good, apart from the one of the last portions of the game, where it requires you to set specific things on fire. I thought this was so out of place, especially right after a big boss battle. It was easily the poorest part of the game in terms of pacing and mechanic.

Gameplay is good. It differs from Dark Souls in that there is no customization or weapon/armour collection. The fighting system is particularly simple, probably because it takes a great deal of work to code this type of game. This game can be quite difficult if the player isn't acquainted with Dark Souls style gameplay. I found it to be a bit too easy at times, as some mobs could be defeated by backstepping > attack > backstep > etc. I didn't utilize the block function very often. I found it frustrating that I couldn't unsheathe my weapon unless there was a mob around, and that when fighting multiple enemies, I couldn't choose which one I wanted to target with ease.

Overall, I enjoyed Malebolgia and I look forward to seeing future projects from this game dev.
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17 of 25 people (68%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 9
Great atmosphere punctuated awful controls.
Could be fantastic, but the handling of the game ruins it. Honestly, I wanted to love this, but can't reccomend until something is done.
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Recently Posted
0.9 hrs
Posted: August 20
A great aesthetic but ruined by poor gameplay.

Malebolgia cribs heavily off of the Dark Souls series, high risk high reward gameplay where death is going to be common. Sadly, the controls are way too clunky for paces it puts you through. Movement is very basic and the controls match, you have a Lock-On button, Guard and Attack button. The game falls apart when it comes to combat, your guard and attack buttons won't do anything unless you're locked onto an enemy, this is bad because there's some enemy attacks (grabs) which will automatically break your guard, and locking back on doesn't always work. All of your attacks are slow and cumbersome and you don't get a dodge roll. Dying in the game doesn't feel like you messed up, but rather the character didn't do what you wanted it to which is frustrating at best.

Other than that the art and sound create a great atmosphere but the palace itself is too copy and paste, and rooms get reused a lot, leading you to become lost easily. Animations on everything are also very poor and look incredibly amature. With a little extra polish the game could be a nice little jem. As it stands I can't recommend it. Dark Souls gameplay stems from it's high level of execution of mechanics, everything is very responsive, but that can't be said for Malebolgia though it gives it a college try.
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6.7 hrs
Posted: July 20
One word for describe malebolgia is: surprising.
This game deserves a LOT more attention.
Yes, at first look this game looks cheap and unpolished, and it is, in his special way.
But after the first couple of hours, the fantastic atmosphere, the tricky but very solid combat system, and the exploration overcome the first look.
It is obviusly Dark Souls, but a very minimalistic one, focusing on the essence of is peculiar gameplay. Only one weapon, no customization at all, take away all the rpg element and concentrate on the exploration, the timing in combat, and the lore (dante alighieri's inferno is the inspiration for the story).
This game really surprised me more than once, and if you let him try, closing an eye on the occasionally bugs and the first look, maybe can do the same for you.
For the Dark Souls lovers out there, it is an absolut must try.
If really you can't overcome the graphics, at least put it in your wishlist and wait for a price drop, -really, really deserve it-
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5.8 hrs
Posted: July 17
So lets get the bad stuff out of the way first:
Malebolgia is a one man project and it shows. From the clunky and janky control and combat, to the very simple design of the castle and repetition of assets.

However, if you can get past all of that, you will find a very interesting and creative game.

Its a mixture of Dark Souls with Resident Evil, where you explore a castle not unlike the mansion of Resident Evil 1.
It takes inspiration from the imagery of Dante's Divine Comedy, more specifically the Inferno part.

You are a knight trapped in what seems like a feverish dream or purgatory and you must deal with the mistakes of your past while facing and avoiding beats and demons from your own personal hell.

The story is vague and very unintrusive, but it gives you just enough detils to make you search for the answers and get a full picture of what exactly is going on in this castle.

But really what shines is the atmosphere. The castle truly feels haunted , with paintings of religious and mythology motifs hanging everywhere, giving you subtext and suconscious details about the story, and you are forced to use a torch in this pitch black place. And the janky combat system serves its purpose as well, like Silent Hill or other japanese survival horror games, where the difficult controls are used to enhance the tension and dread of facing every enemy.

If you find this game on a sale, do pick it up if you are into cool experiences, I truly wish that the guy who made this had a bigger budget/team to take it to the next level.

But, if you are the kind of person who gets extremely frustrated from wrestling with controls and backtracking, then dont bother.
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13.4 hrs
Posted: June 24
Malebolgia is a simple slimmed-down game in the spirit of Dark Souls, with challenging combat, obscure story and deep references to Dante's inferno.
The art style, while simple, is actually very striking and beautiful. This is complemented by the brilliant sound design, which, with the shadows and darkness of the castle, creates a genuinely spooky atmosphere.
The atmosphere is the highlight of the game. You explore this castle, fighting demons and holding your torch to the shadowy halls.
The combat feels clunky at first, but it's ok and actually quite fun when you get used to it. Definitely use a controller and disable invert-look when playing.
The game has some minor quirks and bugs, but nothing game-breaking. For a one-man dev team, and the fact that this game only costs a couple bucks, I must say I highly recommend it for anyone who is a fan of the genre.
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1.5 hrs
Posted: June 23
It's a slightly easier, slimmed down Dark Souls clone with a simplistic, yet aesthetically pleasing, art style. Controls aren't really that bad at all if you're using a controller, so I'm not gonna jump on the "controls are bad" bandwagon. Picked it up on sale, and I don't regret it at all.
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7.1 hrs
Posted: June 18
I highly recommend this game!
While it may be slow at the beginning, the map might be a bit confusing and places often look very similar, the game has a striking atmosphere, epic, and I mean EPIC battles and an intriguing Story. [While the Story is very Dark Souls-ish, as you are told only little vague bits and pieces, but it gets very exciting at times]

The gameplay
is, I think, best played with a controller. [Funny, because Dark Souls is also best played with a controller.]
But anyway, you have a quick light attack, a heavy attack, a quick block and a back/side-dash. While, as I said, at first it will seem slow, the enemies repetetiv and akward, as well as the combat. But only at first glance. After you have played it for a little bit and have killed some Monsters, you will get the hang of it. You have to leran the moves of your enemies and you have allways the choice, to block, dash sideways or back. One of those options might give you another chance to attack,but not allways, sometimes you will even get hard. Because of that, the bosses are by far the best part of the gameplay.

If I had to say something bad about the game, it would be, that exploring the castle is pretty much pointless. You only need to find the next story-parts [keys, bosses etc] and the only thing you may find is a little sideboss or health.

The atmosphere [and story]
is stunning: You are going through your castle, inhabited now by some Ogres, monsters and demons, most of the time the only lightsource being your torch. The atmosphere is just amazing. As much as the story goes... dont expect [to understand] too much, but dont expect to little.

So, it is a bit rough around the edges, but a very enjoyable experience. I mean, I got it for 1€, though in my opinion it would be worth the full price. Oh, and it is quite hard.
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4.1 hrs
Posted: June 17
[This is a hybrid review for both Malebolgia and the sickness spreading on Steam]
*there are better dedicated reviews around here ^.^*

Hi there! ^.^/~
I noticed something here recently...
Bought this game while it has "blue rating" both overall and recently.
Suddenly it gets into sale and voila!! 'Mixed' in less than a week. VOI-LA!! \^o^/!!

NOTE: **I bought this having finished both Dark Souls and Dante's Inferno.**

When I finally bought Malebolgia w/ an indie price, I was expecting an indie-level gameplay that has rich story to back it up.
I bought it FOR those. And it delivers.
The whole concept being a metaphor of Dante's Inferno while giving the feel of Dark Souls.
And a lot of negative reviews attack both elements, mostly the latter.

'Backtracking'? 'Clunky animation when getting hit'?
^ Those are called for. They are present here!! nuuuuuuu!! \@o@/!!
But to downvote the game!? the WHOLE game!? @O@!!!??

Some even say the gameplay is too hard.
Oh, please.... :)

i could whine and ramble on, but--

please, just go play your "i know cheaper games that are better than this". Yes, please. ...srsly ^.^

Want a dark theme story? ✓Check!✓ \^o^/
Interested in the story of the famous litera of Dante Alighieri? ✓Check!!✓ \^o^/!!
Interested in the Dante's Inferno console game? @.@....
... "but it's an arcade hack&slash".....
..."I want a game more focused on the story of the Inferno than making combos!!! (/´△`\) ..."
Right!! Hell's demons aren't meant to be combo'ed!! silly~ (≧∇≦)
Facing them should be hard like in Dark Souls......... .....@.@.......... @O@!!!!!!!!!!!

Malebolgia offers a *unique* mix of 2 *rare* contents at an *original* ratio, w/ the final product's quality more or less in justice with the price.

(btw, if you're curious how "broken" the "controls" are, search a gameplay vid, you'll uncover why this game is getting a lot of 'not recommended' reviews, albeit undeserved)

***Don't buy the game if it's not your type just because it got such an attractive discount, sooner or later you're gonna break the rating system***
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Munithe EXT
5.3 hrs
Posted: June 16
hi i bought this game because it can open a real life portal to hell
and guess what it did
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prof dresser
1.8 hrs
Posted: June 11
I'm sad to say that I don't really want to recommend this game. I appreciate the aesthetic, and I knew it was meant to be challenging going in. But the game fundamentals didn't work for me. Ultimately, it boils down to the incessant pausing that occurs throughout combat. It makes the combat frustrating and clunky.

Combat works fairly simply: a basic weapon attack, a strong weapon attack, and an attack with your torch. A lot of the combat is built around the timing and maneuvering of your attacks versus the enemy's. Reading their attack signals is important as it lets you know to move out of the way or try to time your block. Okay, it's all fine so far. That's not a bad system. The game also seems to try to add a claustrophobic tension by having you fight often in cramped quarters versus large opponents. Again, a fairly neat idea.

Where it falls apart for me, however, is the way that all strikes and blocks cause the action to freeze for what feels like nearly a half a second. There's no obvious beneficial reason for this pause--my best conjecture is that it's an "action-enhancing" effect--but it results in some serious complications regarding the combat. As the combat revolves around the timing of attacks and blocks, these pauses inhibit my ability to "feel" the timing. Take a common scenario: I attack, but my opponent has also begun its attack animation. I feel that I can still block it once my attack animation finishes. However, successfully landing the strike has caused the pause effect to happen. I now have miliseconds to successfully trigger a block, but now, instead of timing it from the beginning of the attack animation, I have to time it from the end of the pause, which creates an even shorter window and that's if I manage to guess when the pause ends. The typical result of all of this is me missing my window and taking yet another hit.

I suppose if my attacks broke the enemy attack animation, there wouldn't be a problem, but they don't. Also, I'm sure that there are those of you out there who are able to compensate for the pause and still pull of the block. I'm not saying no one can do it. I'm saying I can't. I tried to get better at it, but it ended up just making me mad.

There's some very cool ideas in here, and I really wanted to expore more, but I don't like to spend my free time doing things that make me mad. I know I've got less than 2 hours of play time on the game, but that's split over three play sessions, each of which had to end when I found myself actually yelling at the screen. (And no, that's not a common occurrence for me.) This left me with an upleasant experience and as a result I can't, in good faith, recommend the title.
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0.4 hrs
Posted: June 8
Honestly not a great game. I can't say much in terms of play time, or how interesting it is throughout, or if the story/ending is enjoyable... Because I never made it past the first level. I never got to a point where I even had a weapon, outside of the tutorial.
While I'm talking about the tutorial, I should say, it's quite terrible. It has you fighting an enemy with button promts telling you what to do, but sometimes the prompts are on screen for literally half a second, not even close to enough time to read the. Trying to figure out the controls on your own/reading the promt one word at a time gets annoying, but once you figure out what to do, the game gets no less annoying.
The controls are very clunky and the timing of combat feels rather slilted. Maybe this is something one could get used to, but I wouldn't know as once I completed the short but frustrating turorial and started the main game, I got nowhere. It appears to start you off without a weapon, and I wandered around the assumed castle several times, each time dying because I couldn't figure out where to find a weapon. I even wondered into a boss room by mistake, and it turns out boss rooms lock you in when you enter, so I just had to stand there and let myself die so I could reset. I'm a fan of games not hand-holding more than they have to, bit this was a bit much. Being told what to do constantly isn't fun, but wandering around not nowing where to go and not being able to do anything isn't fun either. The most I could do is walk around rooms and hallways, light candles with my torch (I never did figure out if this was benifical in any way or not...) and maybe unlock a door with a key every once in a while (which resets when you die, by the way). I'd like to tell you if the game gets better, but based on the tutorial fight, I wasn't really eager to wander the dark castle halls for another half an hour to aqquire a sword or something so I could find out if the clunky combat is worth getting used to.
Visually, this game is actually quite nice. It may not be for everyone, but I find the simple, minimalist art design to be a rather interesting one, and everything that I did see looked pretty good. For what I assume is a low-budget indie game, the visuals and art took a smart direction and did what it could with less, and did it well. But bear in mind I did not see much of the game. The animations for your character aren't the best, but they're not game-breakingly bad or anything. I could have easily looked past it if controlling your character at least felt good. The enemy animation that I saw was honestly not too bad, although I imagine I only saw a fraction of the enemies in the game.
I will also note that there is no option to turn down the music volume, only the master volume. While the music wasn't bad, it was a little louder than I would have liked it, and I would have liked to be able to turn it down without also turning down the sound effects of enimies and such.
Overall, I can't recomend this game. It's simply not fun to play. If you really want to give it a shot, I won't tell you to avoid it at all costs. It looks nice and could be fun if it controlled well. But approch with caution.
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