Huntdown
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 9

Huntdown is a side-scrolling run-and-gun shooter featuring three bounty hunters on a mission to take down various criminal gangs. The presentation of the game is great and the beautiful pixel art visuals coupled with the synth-heavy soundtrack make for a very enjoyable, not to mention nostalgic, experience. Huntdown can be challenging and each of the twenty levels ends in a tricky boss battle, but the game remains fair throughout and fans of the genre will definitely not want to miss out on this one.

Gameplay: Non-stop action and some of the best bosses that we have seen in the genre since the 16-bit era.

Graphics: The beautiful pixel art visuals really shine thanks to incredible animations and detailed levels.

Sound: Huntdown features both an incredible synthesizer soundtrack as well as top-notch voice acting for all the characters

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Huntdown

Developer: Easy Trigger Games | Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing | Release Date: 2021 | Genre: Action / Side Scrolling Shooter / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

In the mayhem-filled streets of the future people have a choice between working for the profiteering megacorporations ruling what is left of society or joining one of the street gangs that are competing for power. However, there is a third and much harder path, which is becoming a bounty hunter working for the highest bidders. Huntdown casts players into the role of one of three bounty hunters hired by the Shimamoto Corporation to take down four of the biggest criminal gangs. Players can choose between an ex-commando named Anna Conda, an ex-special forces cop named John Sawyer and a modified recond roid named Mow Man before taking to the streets and wreaking havoc.

Huntdown is a throwback to an era when over-the-top action movies lined the shelves of every video rental shop and run-and-gun shooters ruled the arcades as well as home consoles. Anyone who fondly remembers titles such as Alien Soldier, Contra, Gunstar Heroes, and Metal Slug will feel right at home with the explosive action of Huntdown. Players can choose their character and difficulty as well as one of two gameplay modes. Story Mode is the most lenient and weaves together a typical 80s action-movie style narrative for the levels whereas Arcade Mode is all about the challenge and getting the highest scores for the leaderboards. Both modes feature the same levels and bosses, but starting with Story Mode is recommended to get a feel for the game.

Choosing a player is more than an aesthetic choice as they each have their own primary gun and throwable weapon. Anna Conda favors a machine pistol and tomahawk, while John carries a hand cannon and likes to throw around boomerangs. Finally, Mow Man packs a semi-automatic and resorts to throwing knives. All three primary weapons have unlimited ammunition, but the throwable weapons have a short cool-down timer. Of course, the game is also packed with special weapons and throwables that can be collected from downed enemies. These include machine guns, laser weapons, shotguns, flamethrowers as well as grenades, Molotov cocktails, sentry turrets, and much more. In addition, players who are brave enough to get within melee distance of enemies can also make use of weapons such as baseball bats, crowbars, katanas, and even electric guitars. Only one special primary and one special throwable weapon can be held at a time and these all have limited ammunition. It is however possible to switch back to the primary weapons and save the special weapons for the numerous boss battles in the game.

Huntdown is a side-scrolling run-and-gun game featuring beautiful 16-bit pixel art visuals along with hand-drawn animations. The look and style of the game, coupled with enabling the CRT filter, makes it look like it could be right at home in an 80s arcade running on the latest CPS or Neo Geo hardware.

While players only have to take on four different gangs, they each have their own section of the city. These all look very distinct and each of the five levels that make up an area ends in a unique boss fight. The levels are fairly short but very enjoyable and the boss fights are undoubtedly the highlight of the game. Pattern recognition is essential to take down these bosses, but the developers have done a great job of making these encounters memorable. For example, the “Misconducts” are a band of hockey hooligans run by bosses like “TNT Randy” who loves to throw around explosives “Unholy Goalie” who is a hulking minigun-wielding maniac. In contrast, The Heatseekers is a motorcycle gang making their lair in the industrial complex, and The NO.1 Suspects style themselves after ninjas and samurais while residing in the downtown area. Each gang has its own unique look and enemies range from ordinary thugs to dogs, ninjas, snipers, and more.

As mentioned earlier, the game looks beautiful and the overall presentation is great took. Mission briefings are shown on a small monitor in your chosen bounty hunter’s car and the levels feature plenty of incredible background animations. The developers have also thrown in lots of great easter eggs that pay homage to the classic action movies from which this game draws inspiration. Huntdown is also a very violent game, so seeing enemies explode into bits of blood and gore or running around on fire is not uncommon.

The audio in Huntdown is another highlight and the game features plenty of great synthesized tracks to accompany the action. The overall quality of the sound effects is very high too and the developers even opted for full voice acting. Characters not only speak in the cut-scenes but both bounty hunters, as well as enemies and bosses, can be heard making quips during the game. A lot of the one-liners spouted by the bounty hunters will be very familiar to fans of cheesy action movies, which adds to the appeal of the game.

Huntdown can be played with either a keyboard or controller, with the latter being highly recommended. Enemies hit hard, so it is encouraged to take them down from a distance, preferably while taking cover. Enemies can also use cover, so it is often best to use the environment to your advantage. Along with the usual exploding barrels the game also has heavy pipes that can be dropped on enemies with a careful shot. The bounty hunters can only shoot horizontally, so players don’t have to worry about shooting in all directions. In addition to jumping and shooting, players can perform a dash move to evade enemies or bullets. This dash can also be turned into a slide, which is handy for taking cover behind boxes or cars. Pressing “Up” in doorways causes the bounty hunters to duck into the shadows from where they are immune to enemy bullets. Pressing attack while close to an enemy performs a push kick, which is great for knocking them off ledges or flushing them out of their cover. After taking damage, players can regain health from the painkillers that dot the levels, and mobile surgery vehicles serve as checkpoints in the game. The placement of these checkpoints is quite generous, especially considering how brief the levels are. Overall, our only gripe with the controls is the fact that the bounty hunters get knocked back quite far when taking damage which can result in falling off buildings or taking extra damage from other hazards.

Even with three difficulty settings and a fourth, unlockable one, Huntdown is not a very easy game. It is however very fair and seeing what lies around the next corner or what the next boss will be is a great incentive to keep going. Twenty levels might not sound like much, but everyone is unique and players are also challenged to find the secrets as well as hidden briefcases in them. Even better, Huntdown can be played in co-op mode where two players can team up to take down the gangs.

Huntdown is an easy recommendation to fans of run-and-gun shooters, as well as anyone who fondly remembers the classic 16-bit titles in the genre. However, thanks to the difficulty options, generous checkpoints, and infinite lives it is also very accessible to newcomers. Everything from the visuals to the audio is highly polished and the game was clearly a labor of love. It can be frustrating at times and a few more levels would have been great but Huntdown really impressed us and deserves a spot amongst some of the best the genre has to offer.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (32-bit versions)
  • Processor: Intel Core Duo E6600 @ 2.4GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel 4400, GeForce GT 8800, AMD Radeon HD 4650
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit versions)
  • Processor: i5-2500k@3.3GHz, AMD FX 6300 3.5GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 750, AMD R7 370
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • OS: OSX 10.12 Sierra
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 @2.7Ghz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GT 640M, AMD Radeon HD 5750, Intel HD Graphics 6100
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Gamepad highly recommended.
  • OS: OSX 10.14 Mojave
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 @3.3Ghz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 675MX, AMD Radeon R9 M290
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Gamepad highly recommended.
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or later
  • Processor: Intel Core™ Duo or faster
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Gamepad highly recommended.
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or later
  • Processor: Intel Core™ Duo or faster
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Gamepad highly recommended.

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