Moon Hunters Review: True Detectives
Kalvin Martinez / Oct 18th, 2016 No Comments
Gauntlet, the old Atari series, has cast a lasting shadow over multiplayer games. Recently, a trend for four-player co-op games has been to follow the classic series’ formula. These games chasing the nostalgia dragon has resulted in some really bland action-RPG games.
While many action-RPGs are content to be pale imitations, Moon Hunters tries to deliver a unique four-player multiplayer experience that can also be enjoyed solo. The game incorporates plenty of modern ideals to create a smart, fun game. Mixing roguelike elements with the story of an old-school RPG results in an addictive and sophisticated experience.
Who Killed the Moon?
The Moon Feast is soon, but there are whispers that the Queen of Heaven is no more. The Sun Cult, led by the cutthroat King Mardokh, is growing more aggressive to those who worship the Moon. Mardokh is driven by starting An Age of the Sun to unite all of the tribes under his rule.
During the Moon Feast, the Moon doesn’t show up and the villagers grow hopeless. Yet, heroes stand ready to figure out what happened to the Moon and to stand against the Sun Cult. It is up to these brave warriors to stop Mardokh and bring the Moon’s light back to the villagers.
Moon Hunters’ narrative is all about repetition. There is a plot — a hero needs to triumph over evil — but every time you play, a new riff on that story forms. That’s because the story has a finite time period of five days. With every new playthrough, the decisions and information you uncover form the basis of a new story.
The coolest part isn’t that a new story constantly forms, but the mystery inherent in the story. The plot has set beats, but the outcome is not always cut and dry. Depending on if you triumph, lose, or do something completely unexpected, the ending is different.
Regardless of what you do, your first time playing may not resolve the mystery of the story. It takes multiple playthroughs, different choices, unlocking new content and discovering secrets to put the final piece of the puzzle into place. Everything about the narrative makes replaying the game fresh.
Hear My Song, Feel My Blades
Five days. That is all the time you have to figure out what happened to the Moon and defeat the Sun Cult. Five days may seem like plenty of time, but with a vast amount of ground to explore and many competing points of interest, it goes by quickly.
Truthfully, you won’t be able to do all you want in those five days, let alone solve the underlying mystery of Moon Hunters. Naturally, you’ll have to play through the game several times to see, unlock and solve everything. Moon Hunters is set up to make each playthrough rewarding thanks to a great rougelike presentation, unique hunters and a world filled with secrets.
Each playthrough starts the game anew, allowing players to choose a hero and a starting village. After attending the moon ceremony, where you go and how you want to approach the game is up to you. Do you want to focus on gathering cooking ingredients? Do you prefer to live dangerously by fighting powerful monsters? Are you more concerned with discovering what happened to the Moon?
Each strategy is valid, and all benefit the game’s larger metagame while still resulting in a satisfying single playthrough.
Moon Hunters is a game about choices. You are constantly deciding between a number of different possible outcomes. Whether the choice you make is a good one for a single run or the game at large won’t be readily apparent at first. The significance of any one choice only becomes clear later. It is exciting to see how those choices ultimately add up and how those choices help you get closer to figuring out exactly what’s going on.
When playing Moon Hunters with others, it changes the way you approach the game. The difficultly is ameliorated with more heroes, and you have friends to watch your back if things get hairy. While this improves your chances of facing tougher challenges, it also means you’ll have three other people to contend with when planning your journey.
No longer are you a singular force making decisions. Now you have to contend with other heroes to make decisions. Every decision gets voted on, and if you’re not advocating for your choice well then you can be stuck foraging for honey all five days.
Moon Hunters takes only one playthrough to hook you. After that first attempt to unravel the story, it is hard to shake. The larger narrative to deduce is the long-term goal, but the extremely satisfying roguelike gameplay will keep you engaged each playthrough.
Moon Hunters was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a code for the game provided by the developer.
tags: Kitfox Games , Moon Hunters , Moonhunters review , ps4