‘Hunter’s Legacy’ Review – A Purrfectly Challenging Tail.
Hunter’s Legacy is a 2D metroidvania action-platformer featuring a feline heroine. It’s an old school style game by indie dev studio Lienzo. Hack and slash through waves of enemies, upgrade powers, and save the day. It’s challenging, nonlinear, and features huge bosses to fight in each area. For those looking to spend a few hours in an original franchise, this is one to put on the wish list.
The plot of Hunter’s Legacy is pretty straightforward action adventure fare. There’s a powerful MacGuffin that keeps the world at peace. Evil guy steals the MacGuffin and heroic person (cat) steps in to go save the world. There’s a village of NPCs full of flavor text and a few upgrades, but no actual questing. Ikki, huntress of Un’Amak, must chase down Morodir and retrieve the Fang of Alliance. It’s a cool game and it features a cat-person, so what more do you need?
Ikki is skilled with twin swords and a bow. These will be her bread and butter throughout the course of the game. Except when absolutely necessary to kill an enemy, I will always take swords over the bow in Hunter’s Legacy. However, not grabbing the first bow upgrade came back to bite me in the ass against the final boss so don’t be like me. Regardless, combat in the game is pretty classic hack and slash with some jumping and eventually a downward thrust. Rapid button pressing leads to combo strikes, so the learning curve is almost negligible. I’m a fan of easy and satisfying combat mechanics in my action games.
What really worked for me was the diversity of the interconnected areas in Hunter’s Legacy. There is no direct, linear path through the game and no handholding to find the next area. Thankfully there are a number of teleporters strewn about to help players move quickly from one area to another. This is most helpful after finding or upgrading a power that was needed to clear a previous obstacle. The map is also helpful in giving a general sense of direction, but isn’t comprehensive. Players need to explore and backtrack at times to succeed.
Most areas have a gimmick that makes them interesting. The snowy volcano, for example, is full of areas that are either too hot or too cold. There’s an annoying enemy that attaches to Ikki and can bog down her movement if they accumulate. But the little jerks also absorb elemental properties from whatever they touch first. So if you make them cold, then you can more easily traverse larger areas of heat while they’re attached. Each zone requires a different skill set to traverse it. Floating on a leaf through a spike covered maze was probably my second least favorite area.
What was my most hated area? It’s in the final level and involves a grid of electrified nodes. Imagine a hallway with a five by six grid in the background. Every couple seconds three of squares on this grid light up and a second later arc electricity in solid lines to one another. It’s a pain in the ass because there’s no pattern to learn. If there was something to memorize and time, I’d get that. I’ve played enough games with crushing pillars or spike traps to be able to find a pattern and work with it. But this? Fuck this. It gets on my nerves when the path to victory is largely a matter of luck instead of skill. I nearly threw my controller after half an hour in one particularly unkind section like this.
Hunter’s Legacy isn’t a particularly long game. I clocked a bit over eleven hours on it over the course of a weekend. Two hours of that was the final boss, so I’m sure experiences will vary and may involve less swearing. (Seriously, upgrade the damned bow because you’ll need it for the ghosts.) At least the randomness of Morodir’s final form is just a matter of which attack pattern it chooses to use at what time. Each attack has a tell and is avoidable with a bit of skill. I’m sure it’s doable in eight hours or so for people more skilled than myself. On the downside, there’s no real replay value after getting a 100% clear. In fact, the only reason to replay after finishing is to get that 100%.
Priced under $7, Hunter’s Legacy definitely gets a thumbs up from me for value. This is the first entry in the “Universe of Something” game series that Lienzo plans to create. I’m hoping that we’ll either see further Ikki adventures or at least more games in this style. Anyone in need of a challenging yet satisfying old school adventure game should pick this up.
Hunter’s Legacy is currently available on Steam (PC and Mac), Xbox One, and PS4.
Dorkadia was provided with a review copy by the developer.