Hellmode ~A Hardcore Gamer Becomes Peerless in Another World with Retro Game Settings~


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Kenichi Yamada was a 35-year-old salaryman. As a hardcore game enthusiast, he was saddened by the modern trend towards casual games.

So, when a site claimed to be “for people who like to do things the hard way,” he just couldn’t resist. Thus, he was reincarnated into another world as Allen, playing on Hell Mode.

This is fantasy light novel about Allen’s journey as a summoner.

Reincarnated as a serf, he starts from nothing.

His journey begins with absolutely no knowledge of the world around him, just like those games he played 10, 20 years ago.

Associated Names
One entry per line
Hell Mode: Yarikomi Suki No Gamer Wa Haisettei No Isekai De Musou Suru
Hellmode ~Gamer Who Likes to Speedrun Becomes Peerless in a Parallel World with Obsolete Setting~
Hell Mode ~The Hardcore Gamer Dominates in Another World with Garbage Balancing~
ヘルモード ~やり込み好きのゲーマーは廃設定の異世界で無双する~
Related Series
Garbage Brave: Isekai Ni Shoukan Sare Suterareta Yuusha No Fukushuu Monogatari (LN) (3)
Moto Sekai Ichi’i no Sub-chara Ikusei Nikki (2)
I Was Reborn, but I Was Told That the Popular Standard Skills Were No Good, so I Chose the Skill of Collecting [Title] (2)
Going to Another World on Your Own! ~a Story That Begins With a Not-so-sweet Upbringing (2)
SSS-Class Suicide Hunter (1)
Garbage Brave: Isekai Ni Shoukan Sare Suterareta Yuusha No Fukushuu Monogatari (WN) (1)
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42 Reviews sorted by

Fluffums rated it
August 29, 2020
Status: c218
Hell mode refers to the difficulty setting, but other than increasing the required exp for leveling up (and improving skills) there's no effect other than something that makes it easier for him later on.

Yarikomi is more "restricted play". Not bondage, it means things like "I'll win with only the starter weapon" or "I'll only increase my Strength stat" or "I won't use any consumables". Speed runs are included, but if they talk about those specifically in JP they use the term RTA (real-time attack). This is important because it takes... more>> almost 200 chapters just to meet the real enemies. The majority of the story even including that is grinding exp. The restriction here is "hell mode" and "must start as a serf".

Anyway, this story is super slow, with most of it being a loop of grinding levels and skills -> growth slowing down -> finding a new way to grind -> grinding levels and skills. Relationship progression is slim to none, and even when a beautiful girl he is fond of wants to get closer to him, the main character's only thought is "More importantly, how should I grind my levels next?"

At some point he'll get a party, so it will evolve from just grinding his own levels to grinding the party's levels. And getting equipment for everyone. So exciting!

Get past the first 150? Chapters or so and they'll take a break from grinding for a war, but somehow I feel like the grinding will come back with a vengeance around the part I last read. I don't mind grinding too much so I rated it a 3 but the main character is too machine-like for my tastes. The villains are also fairly weak as characters and only serve as methods to force the protagonist to do something other than grind levels every once in a while. <<less
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LittleFox21 rated it
April 28, 2021
Status: c25
There's no "speedrun" at all so far, more like "sluggishly crawling through thick mud with amputated limbs while wearing goku's weight suit but you're a random 5 years old villager". I don't know about you guys but when the TITLE said "speedrun" and the initial 25 chapters are the exact opposite of that key idea...

Story wise... Well I can't judge. It's painfully slow progress even blind playthrough seems lightning fast. Manga skips BEEG portions for a very very good reason. It's too slow that a slow paced slice of life... more>> looks like a legit speedrun. Too many repetitive chapters and topics, too focused on crippling "un-cheat" (what's the opposite word for cheat btw?) and grind.

Well now about the grind. Yes speedrunners grind hundreds of thousands of playthroughs to determine and find ways to beat the game, if possible break the world records. This title has none. It's not about trying to clear a game in the fastest fashion, it's more of a "era of the first MMORPGs grind to level" thing where I personally experienced months to raise one level. This is it. Repeatedly swing your sword for thousands of times over the span of years only to find out the next level requires tenfold of the said repetition. Not even fighting against slimes or goblins or wolves. No. Just swing swords or play knights or throw stones.

tl;dr very very very slow you feel like you're grinding yourself. I have no idea what market is this novel is aimed at. Slower than slow SoL, grindier than old MMORPGs, no comedy, weird turns of life, strays from the title... It's not terrible, just painfully sloooooooooooooow <<less
29 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
Sweetsuns rated it
August 14, 2020
Status: c264
A very well thought out, planned, and written novel that I highly recommend.

This one reminds me of mushoku tensei. If you liked that then this is definitely something you'd enjoy.

As the title says the MC goes to isekai in try hard mode where it takes him 100x more effort than normal Character to level or skill up. But in return MC gets unlimited potential on growth aspect while others don't.

The author doesn't rush the story, MC starts from when he's born and each Arc walks you through his life and... more>> progress in the isekai world. It's slow but exciting to see the growth of MC and the new skill he obtains. Story does skip through time fairly fast, month at a time, but it's written in such an organized and thoughtful way that it makes sense it's the number one rank on 'syousetsukaninarou' right now.

Not sure if there are any translation out for this, and hopefully it's up to par with the wn, but I highly recommend this WN. <<less
19 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
Asf rated it
May 2, 2020
Status: c190
The gamer MC whos possesed on getting stronger for the sake of it.

Most of what happen in the novel is just MC grinding dungeons like mad, get more powerfull, solve problems that comes his way and get back to griding.

You wont find any impossible situation or intense life and death moment here either.

Its just MC grinding his cheat class and how it pay off in the end.

Its okay enough for a passtime isekai if youre bored.
18 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
ErikHarrison rated it
April 25, 2021
Status: c187
It's boring. Ill sum up the ENTIRE novel for you right now"

"40 chapters of MinMaxing explanation followed by 'Who's that Pokémon?!' "

The characters personality, plot and conflict are either no existent or boring. The world building which at times I like has nothing to go on and is wasted.

... more>>

I LOVE the system of a finite karma. The higher your inherited position in society the less likely/powerful job you have. However if this is true, it makes 0 sense to keep a demon lord hidden. They prevent the majority of 2-star serfs/commoners from fighting. How could it even be a secret when any average merchant could pick up on the countries extremely militaristic spending habits.

When Rosenheim the Elf nation is invaded the MC mentioned they don't have a supply line and eat elves to sustain their army. Why the f*ck are the elves fighting constantly and not using scorched earth tactics?

It's these constant breaks in logic that prevent me from fully enjoying the world building (which is generic but above average)


The whole thing is too basic of a formula with an underwritten story. After it repeats enough times it becomes unbearably boring. <<less
15 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
SproutlingUnderARoof rated it
September 10, 2021
Status: c87
Timeskip: The novel.

Every chapter is basically 'a month later' or 'half a year later and it's March now'. Quickens the pace of the story from very slow to moderate, which is good on its own way, given the premise is literally that the MC is supposed to grow slower than any other person. 'Supposed to', at least. However it doesn't lend any help in connecting with characters outside of the MC. Any relationship is built away from the reader, the per-chapter timeskip keeps any natural subtext to form. We don't... more>> see them become good friends, we're only told one paragraph and characters immediately change into that.

A good thing, despite the lack of knowing the character, is that they're not cardboard cutouts or caricatures of themselves. They have depth, not a lot of depth, but there is depth.

Although I can say a lot of negative things in the novel, I still enjoyed it, given the sh*tty novels I've read. In a sea of rotten food, even stale bread can gleam in the eyes of a hungry man. <<less
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RNGezeus rated it
April 14, 2021
Status: c19
I'll be honest. 80% of my score is because I'm very disappointed over the misuse of the term "Speedrun" which doesn't seem to refer to what we colloquialy know as "Aiming to beat a game as fast as possible" but instead just the the act or mechanics of "A metric ton of grinding".

I came for a perfectionist seeking to push things to the limit and experiment with possibilities, instead I got something lukewarm in the form of mindlessly farming skill xp without thought.

Beyond my obvious disappoint in mismarketing theres nothing... more>> really unique to say about it or the translation. It works. Do read it if you want a MC thats gonna "struggle" a bit early on but obviously reach god tier later and just steamroll forwards. <<less
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boltpl rated it
November 6, 2021
Status: c200
It starts nice, especially first two volumes, school arc is way worse, lots of time skips, not as much world detail, world becomes to centric about MC.
At the end of school arc it feels like writen by different person, transformations, day once use skills, more 'game like' than in first 2 volumes (it being real world, not game, was topic of first vol, now it all went to tr*sh...).

At elven continent novel it is at tr*sh level, MC slauthering milions of enimies alone, while saying he is not that strong. And whole world centers around MC person...

B grade summons are written in complety different style than previus ones, skills ar not well thouht. And "cute transformation" is for sales / manga adaptation – complety does not mach previus climate of novel.

Would give 4.0 for first 2 vloumes, 3.0 for first half of 3 vol, strong 2.0 for elven continent and beyond...
10 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
demongordon rated it
December 25, 2021
Status: c158
Generic "game" slice of life novel, you want to burn some time that is ok.

I dropped.

  • Quick Review:
(Interesting) MC Powers, (Good) Fight scenes, (Ok) MC, (Ok) plot points, (Bad) Grinding Powersystem, (Glacial) pacing, (Terrible) character Interactions. With boring in between fighting scenes as there is little plot and no characters.

  • What the story is about:
... more>>

Don't get fooled by the "Speedrun" on the title, this novel is glacial on it's pace. The MC get reborn into fantasy world, where he have to grind ridiculous amout to gain any power (hellmode) be lvl or skill lvl, there he will learn that the world need him to eventually kill the "demon king" with his broken "summoner" class that start tr*sh but at the higher the skill lvl the more broken his summon utilities and power are. He face common problems with his limited skills, his status as serf, the noble intrigue and powerful monsters. But you better forgo any hope of good characters/character interactions because they are at most token effort by the author.


Longer review:


Good Things

    • Good power system, summoner system is always adding new utilities that make interesting fighting. (If broken on higher lvls).
    • The MC personality fit the world, that proven to be resourceful and competent to growth and fight enemies, if he is kind insuferable some times.

Bad things

    • Terrible characters/character interaction, is so swallow that he just time skip their relationship despise they seen to carry enough importance for him "carrying" then despise offering no advantage for him and because the author skip 99% of their interactions they utility on the story is nil.
    • As well the, Incredible boring "grinding powerlvl system" that add little to the story, is literally "repeat action 1billion times" to lvl up and each lvl the number get ridiculous bigger. (Ofc this force the MC to solve some problems with low lvl skills and slow the inevitable powercreep, but still ridiculous solution)
    • The Whole Story revolves around "Mindless grinding" from grinding skills to grinding exp by killing monsters the author forgo everything else, and somehow filled the "In between" with the most mindnumbing boring filler, while giving crubs of new information. Even making money or getting new weapons is framed as "grinding" as compeling as you imagening after the first hurdle.
    • This whole story could been told in 1/3 of the words, without losing anything.
    • The overall and also side plot are really generic and only when the MC is "hunting" is that interesting things happening.
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RedCobra75 rated it
July 7, 2022
Status: c275
the tittle just click bait.
it's not hell mode it's easy / normal mode your tipical overpowered MC in easy mode in isekai, the tittle was made because MC pick hell mode difficulty before get isekai.

the main problem is the "hell mode" that mentions in this novel not that hard compare to a game like " Dark Souls or not even super hard like DeadCells, because MC can summon hundreds of minions that very powerfull plus you can use them to buff your self with their passive buff.

if you still don't understand what im saying, the MC is literally "Overpowered Man That can summon his own Army".

lower your expectation when reading this novel, it's not dark souls, just your tipical overpowerd MC that grind level plus he can do something that everyone else cannot.

if you want real dark soul or real hell mode please read "Vermillion" or better read isekai with good twist "The Latest Game Is Too Amazing" or other hidden gems you can find in this website instead.

if you like "summoner class type MC that wreck everything" then it's recomended, why I give 1 star and why everyone else giving low star is, because this novel does not deserve the tittle, very missleading and anger specific people like me.

yeah me and everyone else that know after playing darksoul 1, 2, 3, elden ring and s*upid deadcells with 5 BOSS CELLS " We Know THE REAL HELL IS Like, don't treat us like babies dear author.

im just saying this novel kinda does not age well specially for today generations, I mean The new generations of "GAMERS" like today.

not saying this novel bad, still "Really Fun to Read", if you still have " just for fun mind set". If you expected " this must be dark souls and hard because hell mode " I will say stop right there you will be get dissapointed then will write 1 - 3 star review like me.
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Visser rated it
December 21, 2021
Status: c155
interesting, decent slow life type start
starts to go off the rails pretty quick, power levels for the living beings on the planet make no sense

as mentioned before hellmode just means excessive grinding for same results. ive played games before where hard mode is just damage modifiers (not a great game design), this worlds modifier is merely the amount of times you have to do something...... (pretty boring game design...)
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Blood-Lust rated it
September 4, 2021
Status: c300+
Good time waster but extremely boring if you lose interest later on. Re-read this and barely remember this aside from the fact it was enjoyable. Being more interested in hardcore difficulty the 2nd time around made me way more disappointed. Kept baiting myself into thinking some exciting scene would happen but it was lackluster and is probably the reason why I didn't review before.
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yamibae rated it
August 10, 2023
Status: v11
Eh, started off ok but gets more and more boring as time goes on due to how Allen's skills work and also the sheer nothingness of the overall plot. Allen's summoner skill is quite interesting but it just gets boring later on compared to other summon type novels because the summons are mostly nameless monsters ie Bird A or Bird H even at higher levels later on in the story with a handful of named ones. There is also no romance on Allen's side of things he's essentially a forever... more>> virg*n and looking like he's going to have a harder time losing that than defeating the demon king.

Moving on to other characters, they're all fairly boring and unmemorable, Cecile started off as a Tsundere and later on became a idk what, anyway forgettable, other friends are kinda ok but they're all fairly lame IMHO with nothing really drawing you to want to remember them.

Enemies in the story are pretty much s*upid and power levels are all over the place, there does not seem to be any real point in reading into any of the plot because the author just keeps extending it with nonsense powers anyway. Even the stats after a certain point mean nothing, like who can even imagine what a 100000+ in stats does when the enemy can do the same lmao?

Anyway, overall review is it's a pretty average story, nothing that's worth reading. <<less
5 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
August 4, 2022
Status: --
It's quite a good story, but as the story progress it getting boring and more generic.

The biggest question i've got about this novel is the number of the demon lord army, how could it get to more than 10million, it more than half of the total active army in this whole world.
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HappyLulu12 rated it
September 19, 2021
Status: c15
Trully disappointing, the tittle is hellmode but I dont see hell anywhere. MC have a lovely family, an op skill (create beast from nothing with almost no restrictions). Even if he has difficulty in level up, those cheats make those restrictions seem like nothing. What about the despair player will feel in the introduction of the game. The status system is also kinda bs, offend??? Really.

And the skill system is too simple that it kinda lame, you just grind do stuff (even a 3 year old child with 100 times... more>> harder to get a skill restriction can do normal stuff like throw a rock to easily get a skill) over and over again to gain lv. And the game dev also nice enough to respond to some of mc's needs.

The chapter is kinda short too, more like a pure slice of life that u will find it hard to get exciting moments when reading it. I feel like the tittle should be hard mode, not hell mode tbh. Like someone said: hell mode should have more restrictions, some handicap like u can only use beginer weapon, starter skills or only increasing specific stat etc not be able to get something. The only downside MC has is he slow in level up lvl and skills, that it, and he can get all the skills if he has enough time and effort (not really need brain and talent just effort)

i know I only read 15 chapters and it kinda too few to judge something but the beginning of this novel is just too boring that make me dont want to read anymore. (And mostly because I feel betrayed by the tittle "hell mode"). If u find slice of life and grinding stuff enjoyable, this novel is for u. <<less
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l2aYz rated it
April 17, 2021
Status: c200
The novel's pace is quite slow and mostly it's just grinding even with the time skip.

overall, It's okay to read when you've nothing to read or just kill time. There is barely have an interesting or thrilling moment in the story so far.

"Hellmode" doesn't feellike hell mode at all He just needs way more EXP point than others but MC has higher level ceiling than others.
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Firehearty rated it
January 30, 2023
Status: c424
It's not the most original story out there, but at the same time it manages to avoid all the usual negative tropes of a self-insert isekai, thus making it a fairly enjoyable story.

Let's start with the Pros:.

  • MC isn't an edgy teenager set to conquer the world, he's fairly reasonable and makes strategic choices.
  • The world building is great there's separate continents for humans, dwarves, elfs, demi-humans, mermaids, each having their own culture and the story explores them really well.
  • It's not an harem, there's no romance, except maybe one or two characters having a crush on MC.
  • Rest of the major characters are also fairly likeable. MCs teammates behave like his friends, the female cast aren't jumping into MCs pants. The Hero isn't a narcissistic show-off, the elfs aren't racist against humans.
  • The nobles in the world behave reasonably as well, except the supposed evil Prince, but he becomes less relevant as story goes on.
  • MC isn't the only one carrying the team. Rest of his teammates play vital roles and are strong themselves. Infact sometimes they take the help of hero and other strong characters for battles.

  • Plot convenience - They win battles against dungeon bosses & demons by a pretty narrow margins each time, with ass-pull power ups mid-battle like hidden skill activating or some god granting her powers.
  • The Demon side story is completely unexplained and after 400+ chapters they're still are cardboard cut villains.
  • The story never explains why demons suddenly gained overwhelming powers, while every other species are

    level capped

  • The gods side story is also unexplained,

    why refuse to completely wipe out demons when demons themselves are willing to kill both gods and other species.

4 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
Raubtier rated it
March 1, 2022
Status: v3c199
A good time sink, not that bad but not that good either.

The story started getting worse for me after the "war" started.

... more>>

I've gotten used to a lot of details getting skipped so when the author attempted to add more 'detail' to the story. It instead started to show some plot holes that I wouldn't have thought of.

Really, the war arc is just a mess. Troop logistics, movement, morale and all that? Doesn't exist. Suddenly, the MC is supposed to be a tactician and the Demon King's army doesn't have a single competent commander? Sure, every veteran gamer would surely become a competent war leader just as much as an fps game player would become a fearless experienced soldier.

The war which has been a hopeless situation ten years ago improved only because of the appearance of the Hero. The war was supposed to be a grim affair with casualty rates being as high as 50%, and that was only after the Hero showed up.

Then the MC shows up.

There's just no built up tension even when the author mentions that the Demon Army has 10 million soldiers. After the story progresses where the MC arrives to help the elves, those big number don't mean anything but just that. Big numbers.

Oh they wiped out an enemy army of a hundred thousand in a single night. Oh they defeated an army of more than a hundred thousand strong with fewer numbers. Oh they stopped the advanced of an army numbering in millions.

There's no suspense at all. Oh well...


I'm still gonna read it and see if it improves though. <<less
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FrodosBeutel rated it
March 23, 2023
Status: v6c312
I feel like the author put things people like and put them all in a story. And I kinda like it.

Most prominant Tags (No order) : Weak to strong, Academy, Dungeon, Politics, War, Reincarnation, Level System, Summoning Magic.

Even though this novel has the "Harem" tag, I don't really see any harem. So if you don't like harem you don't have to avoid this novel.

Why I only gave 4 stars is because the writing style is not the best. The 3 main things are:

  1. Sudden situation Jumps. You are in Situtaion A and suddenly in Situaion B and it sometimes can be hard to follow.
  2. You have to guess from the content of what someone is saying, who is saying it. It is like "xxx" "yyy" "zzz" but it doesn't say who is saying it. It makes it sometimes hard to read.
  3. Sudden time skips. First is situation A then Situation B. And in the middle of Situation B is written "It is 3 days since situation A happened" even though it feels the situations happened back to back.
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Kekkan Seihin
Kekkan Seihin rated it
February 18, 2023
Status: v5
A truly MID series, more on the positive side of the spectrum rather then the negative, but still MID. The 1st and 2nd volumes were pretty fun, but it gets pretty boring after that. There's too many characters, and they are as bland as they can be. Half of them are truly arbitrary and forced, and all of them are 100% formulaic in a very simplistic way.
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