Game Review: “Hunt The Night” (Steam PC)

A link to the past… few games that were also SNES Action/Adventure also available on Steam…

Looking back, all of my favorite games (Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, Pokémon) in some way emulate what The Legend of Zelda started back in 1986:

  • Flip-screen scrolling / overhead view
  • Health and weapon progression in sync with increasing difficulty
  • Sick art
  • And they all controlled about the same

Assumption: Most of you have played these games, finished these games, and played them again and again. Objectively, these games were badass.

Second Assumption: Most of you would recognize the games you played as a child, just from the background environments and soundtrack alone.

Oh, sweet nostalgia

So… of all the flip-screen, overhead view Zelda-like games, which ones do you remember the most?

The ones with the best world building.

Remember the world of Chrono Trigger? We went back in time to 65,000,000 BC and met a smoking hot cave girl. We also went to a post-apocalyptic 2300 AD, and made friends with Johnny-5, or Robo (I don’t actually remember his name), but each world had its own unique personality and feel.

For its part, Hunt the Night by Moonlight Games feels like the world of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, presented with the art of Final Fantasy III, and the soundtrack of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Sure, there are plenty of elements found in RPG maker, but the world was enough to keep me interested past the hard as f*** boss fights.

Speaking of which…

This Game is Hard as F***

The story of Hunt the Night is about impossible to understand. According to the game’s Steam page, Hunt the Night takes place in the “9th Age of humanity,” where humans rule the day and monsters rule the night. Enter “The Stalkers”, a group of humans who have learned to use the power of darkness to fight back against the creatures of the night. (So… DarkStalkers…?) They have discovered a supernatural artifact know as the “Seal of the Night” which haulted time in place, allowing for humanity to enjoy the protections of endless daylight, until…

Yep, nothing lasts forever, and now a Stalker named Vesper must save humanity from the encroaching darkness, both in her world and in her mind!

If I hadn’t read that breakdown from the Steam store, I wouldn’t really know what was going on, but now we’re all on the same page, right?

The developers at Moonlight Games describe Hunt the Night as a love letter to both The Legend of Zelda and Dark Souls, and they have absolutely hit that mark. Much like a 2D version of Dark Souls, you will be dying in Hunt the Night. A lot. I will say, the respawn time between each death and getting back into the fight is appreciably spot on.

However, in a genre filled with overwrought tutorials and handholding, I miss this type of old-school challenge. You are not hopping on and off a horse every 10 seconds to pick flowers or mix herbs. You are hacking and slashing your way through brutal, dark fantasy landscapes, grinding your way to make enough money to pay for slightly better armor and weapons, and falling into pits and dying on a regular basis.

Aesthetically, the art and enemy design are fun, but not remarkably original. Vesper is a “strong female protagonist” who could easily be swapped with the walking tofu character from the Resident Evil 2 Remake, and it would not make any difference. On the other hand, the soundtrack is badass and helps drive the action and inspire you to keep coming back for more abuse.

Let me repeat: This game is hard as f***.

Is Hunt the Night a masterpiece? Kind of, at least in the sense that it replicates several good aspects of classic games that you’ve already played before. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and the most importantly, I’ve enjoyed my time charging through the dangers of Hunt the Night’s dark world.

If you like your fantasy RPGs to be more or less a series of cut scenes and flower-picking and item crafting, there are plenty of mainstream games for you to choose from. If you want a retro Zelda-style game with a challenge akin to Bloodborne, then Hunt the Night is the game for you.

Hunt the Night is published by DANGEN Entertainment and is available now on Steam PC.

*Disclosure: A copy of Hunt the Night was provided to The Splintering for the purposes of this review.

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