From the moment you enter the gothic world of NeocoreGames’ action RPG The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, a warming sense of familiarity begins to creep up the back of your neck. The controls, layout, and look of Van Helsing invites the obvious comparison to Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III, but this indie title manages to stand up to its triple-A inspiration and provide hours of fun at a fraction of the cost.

Inspired by the monster hunter from Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel, and thankfully not the caricature portrayed by Aussie X-Man Hugh Jackman in 2004, players take control of the legendary Abraham Van Helsing’s son in an attempt to continue his father’s legacy. As if living up to your parents’ expectations wasn’t difficult enough, Van Helsing also has to face armies of werewolves, hideous half-man/half-spider hybrids, and a myriad of other menacing monsters looking to do what they do best- mash.

Aiding Van Helsing Part Deux in his quest is the ephemeral entity Lady Katarina, whose usefulness increases as players earn points to improve her health, damage, and treasure finding capabilities among other skills. Depending on your play style and how you place earned points on Van Helsing’s own skill trees after each level, chatty Lady Katerina can be molded into a suitable supporting class or tough tank so gamers can clean up the field. If you don’t want to bother building up her stats and gear, Lady Katerina can also just be placed in a passive state that adds damage resistance to Van Helsing.

The ultimate question you have to ask yourself before navigating the dark noir world of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is whether you’re willing to exchange the few ounces of polish the game lacks in favor of a fun and cost-effective hack-n-slash click-tacular gaming experience. Van Helsing does manage to build up a story with some depth, where “monsters” aren’t necessarily sporting sharp fangs and those who do can become great allies. Where the game unfortunately lacks though is its often troubling multiplayer connectivity. Even if you manage to connect with others for 2-4 player co-op, the niche audience for this indie title might make it difficult to find others to fight by your side. That’s why, as with all indie games, the best way to show your support is to encourage others to join you.

For an indie game, The Adventures of Van Helsing has a whole lot going for it. Considering Diablo III’s multiplayer wasn’t running on full blast upon release, Van Helsing offers a comparable single-player action RPG experience though its character customization and skill options aren’t nearly as robust. Pour yourself a frosty flagon of mead, dim the lights, and enjoy The Adventures of Van Helsing for what it is- an exciting gothic gaming experience that will definitely give you your money’s worth.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is available now on Steam and Xbox Live Arcade.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Trailer

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Trailer