An ancient world of Gods and Legends.
Moon Hunters is a 1 to 4 player co-op adventure game based in an ancient world, an era based in magic and spirituality. There are four different clans who each have a unique philosophy regarding these powers, and at the center of this power is the Moon Goddess. However, on the night of the Full Moon Feast the Moon Goddess doesn’t attend but has mysteriously disappeared. Simultaneously, a fifth clan called the Sun Cultists accuse the tribes of being part of a stubborn old world and their leader, King Mardokh, plans to declare war. Your group of four warriors must investigate the Moon Goddess’ no-show and stop the Sun Cultists all within five days. Sounds like a whole lot of story and whole lot to do in a short amount of time. But that’s exactly the point.
With its interweaving narratives and branching story lines and dialogue trees, multiple playthroughs are the golden key in Moon Hunters. There are several staple events that happen in every playthrough, but there are many choices players have to make that change the story and its outcome. Deciding what places to visit on the map, which characters to talk to, and choices in dialogue options can either help or hinder your journey. There are so many different options and decisions to make that each time you play Moon Hunters you’ll reveal a different part of the story.
The story is also influenced by the player’s individual characteristics and skills. During the nighttime your team will set up camp where you can increase certain characteristics or skills of your character. You could stargaze to increase your intellect and faith, or you could go hunting to increase your spirit and strength. Increasing certain abilities unlocks new events or dialogue branches that can further affect the story. Having all these variables in the game creates a narrative with depth and stories that interweave with each other. Giving a real sense of exploration.
The problem is, when you want to revisit a certain story, or person, it can be a hassle to try and remember what dialogue options to follow. Then you need to remember what skills you are required to upgrade for the event to happen. Throw in the procedural generated map and its almost impossible to try and find a particular story line to follow. It adds to the replay ability value, but stunts any want to pursue a particular story.
Playing alone is fully supported in Moon Hunters, but the game is best realized with friends. The campaign is short, enemies are relatively easy with bigger numbers, and the amount of decisions and actions that your team needs to make furthers the fun. Combat is made up of four abilities that you can upgrade and there’s no real structure to the enemies. So, you and your party can just hack and slash your way through areas.
What further elevates Moon Hunters is its setting and visuals. The ancient world of Moon Hunters has four different clans, all of which have their own philosophies, ways of living, and lore. You can also seek out the many secret ancient legends and gods hidden in the narrative. The ideas the game emphasizes about myth and legends surrounding your character are well thought out. While the poetic dialogue from different characters and the haunting soundtrack reflects the archaic time. The visuals when traveling, and in combat, are pretty, but it’s the hand-painted portraits that bring the characters and story to life. For example, these paintings featured below are part of an old history book.
Kitfox Games kickstarted Moon Hunters and had an overwhelming response. The Kickstarter smashed its goal allowing the studio to add more characters, a PS4 and PSVita release, and a promised local co-op in the works. Kitfox Games pitched it as a “cop-personality test” each decision you make contributing how your character is remembered and how you weave your own myths. But really, you don’t create the myths. It’s less about the individual creating a legend and more about discovering the story through multiple characters and playthroughs. You are part of something bigger over which you don’t really have any control. Each playthrough has you following individual strands of a much bigger tapestry.
The world of Moon Hunters keeps you playing. The story seems short and straightforward at first, but actually conceals a variety of branching narratives. You can set out to find all these hidden secrets in multiple playthroughs or just grab a couple of friends and enjoy the combat and decision making as a team. It has an interesting setting, great visuals, and stellar soundtrack. Moon Hunters was released in March for Windows for £9.99/$14. The developers are still updating and improving the game and have recently released it on Mac and Linux.