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Ethan Walton-Jones - Sergeant Llama

13 April 2023

Hunt the Night

Developed by Moonlight Games and published by DANGEN Entertainment, Hunt the Night is a retro-style 2D action-adventure game that combines fast-paced, challenging gameplay with an intriguing and expansive story and world to create a unique experience that is both fun and challenging for even veterans of the action-adventure genre. Playing as a member of ‘The Stalkers,’ Vesper, the player must use all of their skills, weapons, and sharp reflexes to explore Medhram, uncover its secrets, and survive the hunt.


The story and lore in Hunt the Night is impressively vast. You can tell that the developers have put a lot of thought into it and the settings, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit confused by it. The game has a very limited opening, pretty much throwing you right into it without much of an explanation, so it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on or what you’re supposed to be doing initially. However, once you progress past the game’s starting area, it opens up into a much bigger world that feels really nice to explore. I’ll admit, finding all of the feathers and notes around to learn more about Vesper and Medhram is really interesting and has me keeping a keen eye out for them to learn of the lore. The main goal of the game is to progress through each area, taking out the bosses as you go, hoping to find hope for humanity’s scarce survivors of the horrors that come out with the night. The world of Medhram is very immersive - from ancient cathedrals to ruined cities, each part of the world feels distinct and fresh, whilst all suiting the medieval theme perfectly.


As a Stalker, you have a nice variety of weapons and abilities to aid in taking down the monsters plaguing Medhram. Your melee weapons, which can be fast, lower damage assassin blades which are slow, or high damage blades or the middle of the road swords, will be the main form of attack. Each of the weapons that you find around will have its own sub-stat to go along with its damage. These sub-stats range from critical damage, life steal, poison, and more, which are all fun to experiment with to see which one suits you best. You’re also equipped with a few longer-range weapons that can be freely cycled between, as well as 6 bullets. Each of the guns has a different range, damage, and bullet consumption. And a good balance between them must be found to get the best out of them. To recharge your bullets, either damage enemies with your melee blade of choice or find points to restock them.


Finally, you can also have 1 high-damaging skill equipped at one time that is generally great for getting out of a sticky situation or finishing off a tough enemy. Weapons aside, your best friend will be your dash, which allows for quickly traveling around the world, working around puzzles, and most importantly, dodging enemy attacks. Just try not to dash off the edge of a cliff. The combat is very challenging, so be prepared to die a lot before you learn the combat cycles of each of the well-designed and distinct enemies. The dodging window is often very tight and unforgiving, and dodging too early or too late can quickly put you in an awful spot, especially against a large crowd of enemies. One thing that I am not a big fan of is that enemies in the open world will respawn as soon as you leave and re-enter an area. This means that if you accidentally leave an area mid-fight, all the enemies you just finished killing are now back and ready to go again. Also, there are a couple of spawn locations for enemies that are very close to the end of a room, so accidentally going backward through a door can give you very little time to react to an enemy that is right on top of you. Upon starting a new game, there are no difficulty options to speak of other than New Game + or Nightmare Mode, which I haven’t reached yet. This means for a casual player or someone with little experience with this type of game, Hunt the Night may be a bit intimidating and could put them off, so perhaps a lower difficulty might be nice to allow for a larger audience.

Hunt the Night is a game that should be played on a controller, rather than a mouse and keyboard. The game tells you this on opening it up, and after using both control schemes for a bit, I agree. The gameplay on a controller feels more fluid and smooth, and the game feels designed for controller use. The controls are very simple and logical, and, at least for the controller, I hardly ever found myself forgetting which button to press after the first half an hour or so.


I personally adore the top-down 2D pixel art style in Hunt the Night. All of the colors are vibrant, and each of the locations is beautiful, which means exploring them for every secret is really fun, and doesn’t feel like a chore at all. The art style is perfect for the rundown medieval setting, and the pixel art really adds to its retro charm. I honestly believe that anything more realistic would have been detrimental to the immersive atmosphere that is created in each area by the art and the audio. The audio design and OST are done in collaboration with Hiroki Kikuta, who is the composer for other games such as Secret of Mana, Trials of Mana, Soukaigi, and Koudelka. I am a sucker for good OSTs, and the epic orchestral themes for each of the bosses really stand out for me, creating unique, perfect atmospheres for each of the boss fights and adding to the distinctness of each of the explorable areas. It is also crucial to keep focused on the audio, as the audio cues from some of the enemies can really help predict their attacks and allow for an easier time dodging and taking them down. Especially those blasted invisible enemies. Screw those guys. The sound design for the different types of weapons is solid, with each of them sounding how you would expect. For example, the assassin blades sound light and fast, while the greatsword sounds powerful and heavy.

Overall, Hunt the Night is a game that I highly recommend to any fan of action-adventure games or someone looking for a decent challenge combined with rewarding gameplay. I can easily see myself draining many hours into this game, fully exploring each area and delving deep into its lore and story, even if it can be a little frustrating at times, and the respawning of enemies can be annoying. My final score for Hunt the Night is 9/10


The Bad

- Epic orchestral soundtrack
- Rewarding challenging gameplay
- Great character, world and enemy design
- Intriguing lore and story

- Lack of difficulty options
- Annoying enemy respawns
- Easy to lose track of what to do
may not be suited for casual players

The Good

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