Developers Moonlight Games have worked with publishers DANGEN Entertainment, who have put out a lot of games that I have enjoyed in the past like Cross Code, Evertried, Astalon: Tears of the Earth, and Smelter. Hunt the Night is a game with the 16-bit style of titles like The Secret of Mana, or A Link to the Past combined with the difficulty, and look of Bloodborne. I personally have never played Bloodborne so I was curious to see what was in store for me.
Hunt the Night is set in the Ninth Age of Humanity. During the day when the sun is out, people are safe, but as soon as the night comes, horrible creatures come out to slay them. A group known as “The Stalkers'' are trying to harness the powers of the dark, and fight off these monsters with no success. There is an artefact known as the “Seal of Night” which allows the humans to live in an everlasting day, but this comes at a cost: a blood oath that The Stalkers were willing to pay. So for many generations, the light from the sun kept the creatures away, bringing hope to the people. One day, this all came to an end. As fate would have it, the Night had returned, extinguishing every single source of light — the only thing keeping the humans from being annihilated is the moonlight and The Stalkers.
We see a dark, wolf-like demon jump in and violently kill a person, the humans seem to pose no threat to these vicious monsters. Players take on the role of Vesper. She is a member of The Stalkers and is stained with the sins of her father who was considered a traitor by the group. With a lot to prove, Vesper is armed with the sword given to her by her mother who disappeared 25 years earlier. “The Promise” is a lightweight sword that you start the game with that allows you to swing quickly to get in and out before the enemy attacks. It doesn’t do a ton of damage, but the speed is advantageous so you don’t take too many hits and die. If you get hurt — I should say when you get hurt — you have three Crimson Roses you can use to replenish a small amount of health. If you completely die or fail the hunt, you will restart with all three intact to use again.
Crow Shrines are placed around the levels that act as a save spot and will replenish your health along with ammunition when you save your progress. When you perish, or start a playthrough, this is the location where you start. I don’t think anyone is a huge fan of backtracking, so I made sure to save close to the spot I was exploring, especially since you don’t have a map that you can use to navigate back to that area easily. There are spots called Noctilum Rifts that look like steam rising, which will replenish your gun's ammunition when you stand on them. You only have six bullets, so it is very easy to run out. Fortunately, if you run low on ammo and aren’t near one of these spots, you can replenish your stash by performing three-hit combos with your sword. Attacking enemies or other objects like crates can earn you those precious bullets. Some of the different guns you find fire different amounts of bullets, your base revolver is called the Nighthound. It only fires one bullet at a time and isn’t incredibly strong, but it can be powered up with a Moonstone that you collect while exploring. Vesper obtains a gun called the Purifier, it does a lot of damage, but it uses three bullets with one shot.
Hunt the Night requires a ton of strategy, along with experimenting to find out the best combination of sword, gun, and Moonstone to equip to be successful. Especially when you are fighting against one of the large demon creatures who are ready to tear you apart. The first large creature you fight is named The Devourer. This is the large black wolf you saw at the beginning of the game with exposed ribs and gashes to its skin. It has a range of attacks that have it smashing into you, spraying a poisonous smoke-like substance that kills you if you stand in it too long, or summoning circles all around the stage that do massive damage if you step on them. I’m not proud of it, but it took me seven hours to finally figure out the best combination of equipment to use against it combined with using my dash move to avoid the attacks and wolf dashing around the level. Is it better to use the heavy sword that does more damage, but is slow to swing? Or do I use the lighter sword and try to get in and out quickly only slashing once? When should I throw one of my three grenades? There is so much to take into account when in battle.
When I died I knew exactly why. The controls in the game are crisp and responsive, so it was never because of the game itself, but because of me. Most of the time, I was greedy and thought that I had the time to sneak an extra hit in, but I really didn’t, so I would end up taking damage. The dash ability is really your friend so make sure you use it as often as you can. Each dash uses some of Vesper’s dark energy — represented by the purple bar at the top left. The bar automatically replenishes itself over time. She also has a dark attack called “Phantom Blades” where blades that are infused with a dark energy spin around the user and hit the enemy. This can only be used when your dark meter has enough power, and it has a cooldown period of 12 seconds so you can’t spam attack with it. Using all these attacks, while dashing and finding a safe spot to heal is incredibly challenging!
Hunt the Night is a beautiful-looking game with a great creepy atmosphere and nasty creatures. The soundtrack that accompanies it echoes this freaky world perfectly creating a suspenseful feeling keeping you on edge all the time. You hear moans, growling, and wooden floors creaking at adds to the ambience of the hunt. Hunt the Night is definitely not afraid to show blood, guts, and gore so if you are into that type of thing you will be happy. It’s always shocking to see a demon jump in and rip a human into pieces with little effort. Even The Stalkers, who are trying to save the human race, are easily taken out; these creatures are strong! As you explore you find feathers that have messages written on them from the doomed fighters in the past, these give you hints on how to solve puzzles, or how to survive this world. When you progress, you will learn more about our heroine, the hatred she has to deal with because of her father and the dark secret that she has hidden. I don’t want to ruin any of the main story, but this “secret” really adds an interesting twist to the game.
I am not going to sugarcoat it, Hunt the Night is a freaking difficult game. But it is so addictive and keeps pulling you in for more, no matter how many times you fail the hunt. This is going to be one of those games that will take me forever to complete, but I am having a great time playing it and I have to find out what happens. If I had played difficult games like Bloodborne in the past, I might have been more prepared for the challenge of Hunt the Night, but either way, it’s rewarding to play even if it takes me longer to get through the fights. I haven’t had the feeling of overwhelming rage and frustration that I have had with other games due to the controls being so well done in Hunt the Night. Everything that had gone wrong was due to a choice that I made, or poor reaction times. If you love to be challenged in a game that looks and sounds great, and has an interesting story and characters, Hunt the Night is a title that you should sit down and play.
Hunt the Night (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Hunt the Night is a beautiful retro-inspired game with a haunting soundtrack and great controls. It is incredibly hard, so if you aren’t a fan of difficult games that have you challenging the same section, or boss for hours, this may not be a title you will enjoy.