HunterX
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

HunterX is an impressive indie-developed Metroidvania title with a sprawling map and a very skilled devil-hunting protagonist. However, players have their work cut out for them as the game is also filled with vicious enemies and massive bosses that don’t show any mercy. While some players might find the hard-hitting foes a bit frustrating, the game offers plenty of weapons, accessories, skills, and abilities that when mastered makes it easy to turn the tables on enemies. Overall, HunterX doesn’t bring anything drastically new to the genre, but it knows what fans expect and isn’t afraid to challenge them in the process.

Gameplay: The game is tough, but players who take the time to learn all the intricacies it has to offer will find the combat to be very satisfying.

Graphics: The 3D visuals mixed with the 2D gameplay gives HunterX the look and feel of a lost Playstation 2 title and definitely make it stand out from the current crop of titles.

Sound: The game features a memorable soundtrack and great sound effects, but sadly no voice acting

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HunterX

Developer: ORANGE POPCORN | Publisher: ORANGE POPCORN | Release Date: 2022 | Genre: Action / Adventure / Indie | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam

HunterX opens on a night with a deep purple moon as the devil hunter, Tsuki, chases her prey through the city. Armed with a deadly katana and accompanied by her familiar, Tsuki sets out to unravel why the devil’s force feels stronger in the area. She soon discovers a crack leading to another world and that’s where her adventure really begins. Faced with a plethora of devils, as well as massive bosses, Tsuki must hone her skills, find better weapons and unlock new abilities to survive in this hostile new world.

HunterX itself feels like a game that slipped through a crack in time from a different era. At its heart, it is a Metroidvania title, complete with a massive map that slowly opens up as players learn new skills. However, thanks to its rather cryptic storyline and 3D art style, the game feels like it would have been right at home on a Playstation 2. It is by no means a bad-looking game and the art style allows for some truly impressive-looking bosses, but there’s no doubt that the look and feel of the game will catch some players off-guard if they are not used to this style.

Another thing that sets HunterX apart from the competition is that enemies are no pushovers. Even ordinary foes can make short work of Tsuki if players are not careful and each boss encounter requires careful use of all her abilities to survive, let alone win. Fortunately, Tsuki is more than capable of holding her own thanks to her ability to perform combos, dodge, guard, and parry. In addition, she has a large skill tree to unlock that can help even the odds a little. Instead of experience points, HunterX uses karma, which can be used at statues to level up Tsuki. Karma can be found in crystal form floating everywhere and as a reward for slaying enemies. Once players have gathered enough karma they can level up Tsuki and increase her vitality, strength, mind, or activity. Vitality increases her health while strength makes her hit harder. Mind dictates how often Tsuki can use magical abilities and finally activity is related to her stamina and how often she can dash, dodge, and so on. Each time Tsuki levels up players also receive a keystone, which is used to unlock things on the skill tree. The twist is that the amount of karma required to level up increases every time and if Tsuki is killed she loses all the karma that she is carrying. Thankfully, these can be regained by returning to the spot where she died and collecting them again.

All of this makes HunterX a game that players can really customize to their own style. Players who like to hit hard and dodge away quickly can focus on Strenght and Activity, while players who prefer magic can push more skill points into Mind. Players can customize things even further thanks to a large number of weapons and accessories that can be found in the game. Most bosses tend to have elemental attacks, so wielding a weapon that they are weak against while wearing accessories that offers the right type of protection can make a huge difference in battle. Although battles can feel a little unfair initially due to how much damage enemies can do the responsive controls and the fact that they tend to telegraph their moves means players always have a fighting chance.

A lot of time in HunterX is spent fighting enemies, but there’s also some platforming to be done. These sections are easy compared to the combat as there are no bottomless pits or traps that can cause instant death. Some areas are inaccessible until players have the correct moves, such as double jumping or air dashing, but the map makes it easy to keep track of where to go next. Players can only save or level up at designated statues, but these are spread evenly throughout the large map. The inclusion of portals that can be used for fast travel also makes traversal a little easier. Like most Metroidvanias, HunterX is divided into a series of rooms and all enemies within these rooms respawn as soon as players leave the area. This is great for grinding karma, but a little annoying if players get lost and wander around aimlessly. Luckily, Tsuki is such a nimble character that it is easy to dodge and dash past most enemies without having to engage in combat. We would have liked the option to add some notes to the map, but the game only allows players to place markers. We ended up using these to keep track of areas we needed to return to once we learned the required abilities to proceed.

One thing that might disappoint Metroidvania fans is that HunterX doesn’t spend a lot of time on the storyline. Right from the start players are thrown straight into the action without much of an explanation of who Tsuki is and why she is hunting devils. Players do encounter some NPCs throughout the adventure, but the short conversations with them don’t really flesh out the plot that much. The game does have a rather impressive archive with 3D models of every enemy and boss that players encounter in the game. This archive lists in which area players encountered these creatures as well as what they dropped, which is quite useful as there are more than a hundred of them. The 3D models are also great for getting a closer look and seeing just how detailed some of the enemies are, which is easy to overlook while fighting for your life against them. Enemies range from the mundane skeletons, bats, and giant spiders to more exotic ones like ghosts, goblins, golems, and even dragons.

Even though all the action in HunterX is confined to a 2D plane the use of 3D models for everything is a nice touch. The game also makes good use of lights and shadows for the various dungeons, caves, towers, temples, and castles that make up the map. Most of the areas are indoors, but there are few brief forays out into the city and through a village. While there’s nothing here that hasn’t been seen before in the genre the overall look and style of the game is very cohesive. It is even more impressive considering that HunterX is an indie title in a genre where low poly visuals or pixel art is more commonly favored.

HunterX also delivers in terms of audio with plenty of decent tunes to accompany the 10-hour+ adventure. Sound effects are likewise very solid and connecting with a good combo or parrying an enemy attack is very satisfying thanks to this. Unfortunately, the game lacks any voice acting despite the brief number of conversations. Combat-heavy titles can live or die based on their controls, but thankfully Hunter X has no issues in this regard. Tsuki is very responsive to control and even after unlocking multiple jumps and air dashes we had no trouble maneuvering her around the screen. The game is best played with a controller as the rumble adds a nice tactile layer to things such as successful blocks or parries.

The Metroidvania genre has grown a lot more crowded in recent years and many titles still try and capture the magic of Symphony of the Night. HunterX is no exception and we noticed plenty of homages to the Konami classic. However, the game is also not afraid to do things its own way, which prevents it from feeling like a cheap knock-off. Exploring the large map is an enjoyable experience and we rarely found ourselves at a loss about what to do next or where to go. The inclusion of optional puzzles that requires a bit more thinking than simply killing everything in sight also provided some additional enjoyment. Finally, after spending about eleven hours completing the game also provides players with some new incentives for going back. Fans of the genre will find HunterX to be a challenging and enjoyable title that is well worth checking out. Newcomers might be scared off by the difficulty, but this is something that is already being addressed by the developers via updates. Overall, HunterX effortlessly kept us hooked from start to finish making it an easy game to recommend.

*Review based on version 1.0.0.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E4400
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1GB of video RAM
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 3 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: 16:9 recommended
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 2GB of video RAM
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 3 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: 16:9 recommended

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