Fairy tales and legends transpire from centuries of rumors, myths, and retold stories. Over the years, details and aspects of these stories change, for better or worse, from more realistic to more fantastical. In Kitfox Game’s Moon Hunters, you take control of the heroes of ancient lore. Set on a five day quest to make your mark in history and find the missing Moon Goddess, no two playthroughs are entirely the same. Moon Hunters is an ambitious take on the action rpg genre, that comes off like a more engaging version of the original Gauntlet game, with the same emphasis and importance on cooperative play. Though less of an RPG and more of an in-depth hack and slash, there is fun to be found in this lore rich adventure.
Moon Hunters can be played with one to four players, who can pick from a variety of characters and backgrounds for said characters. Who you pick and what you pick as their history changes both your starting location as well as some of your interactions in your adventure. Moon Hunters is touted as a “personality test” and rightfully so. This game needs to be played in co-op for the best experience, as single player is ill advised and does not let the game see its full potential. With that said, every decision made in Moon Hunters is in theory a group decision. When approaching NPC’s, each player can choose a different response to the NPC as opposed to one sole decision. While the character with the highest charm’s decision is the one the other party will react to, each player’s individual response will have different effects on their personal stats and titles. While one response may raise your charm, another may label you as “impatient”, which can potentially allow you to interact with a different individual down the line. While it is hard to put into text, it is a cool feature that comes off as almost a hybrid between Gauntlet and Oregon Trail, with the decisions impacting your stats as opposed to the outcomes.
How you play into these stats will all depend on your style of play. Each base character has a different fighting style, with some being close ranged, long ranged, or magic dependent. The “Witch” class has a nice balance of all three styles, while “Spellblade” soldiers are much better at getting in close to deal damage then dashing away to safety. The “Druid” and “Ritualist” classes are also great to have in multiplayer sessions each for their own reasons. The druid can slow enemies by growing vines around their feet, which is incredibly helpful in situations where your team is out numbered. Pair this with the “Ritualists” strong ranged moves and you will clear an area of enemies in no time. While the characters and their combat is varied, do expect for it to grow a bit tiresome if you have a party of players that is not fully vested in seeing the game’s outcome, as this combat is repetitive. Like I mentioned, it is less of an rpg and more of a hack-and-slash.
Visually speaking, I like the art behind Moon Hunters. Each time a new story is started, you are greeted to the same introductory video that stylizes hand drawn graphics with one emotional song to prepare your adventure. The character portraits follow this same hand drawn style, mirroring an almost “Avatar: The Last Airbender” type feel with popping colors and visually emotional faces. During gameplay, you will notice a more bit-style graphical structure, which suits the core gameplay. Most of the characters are well drawn, save for a few npc’s that boast some crude facial designs. It is well rounded in these aspects, being both lighthearted yet engaging when using visuals and audio to drive your tale.
The real selling point, once more, is the lore behind the game. Though not always groundbreaking, the amount of choices and outcomes you have from the scope of the game’s DNA is praise worthy. There are different veins here and there that will change the outcome of your story, and as similar as the adventure may feel, the conclusions and interactions that take place during them are often different. When you beat the story, your hero is idolized in the main menu, with your actions being documented for that character. This system is limited to particular titles which you would have the option of over writing if you had a similar outcome with a different character, but the choice is yours. There is this whole nifty space in the main area that lets you visit these as well as other relics that coincide with what you have achieved across your multiple journeys. There is a lot to explore here, if you feel willing to do so. Structurally, the game is just bland solo, but if you can round up a few friends willing to give Moon Hunters a try, there is fun to be had. I really like the direction of the game, both from a narrative stand point and a replay ability stand point. Moon Hunters gets a lot of things right, but falls a bit short on engaging combat, which can use more polish. If you have a dedicated pair or trio of friends that are open minded about new experiences and are down to beat up creatures and villains with you, Moon Hunters is a tale worth telling, but if you are solo there are most definitely better suited games in your fate.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
FINAL SCORE: 6.5/10
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