DISCLAIMER: I also reviewed the game for IGN Greece (you can find said review here). This is NOT my review translated into English. I have added more personal opinions and fluff.
An issue many people have with new games is that the worlds they take place in do not feel alive. You often feel like the only actual person in the world, since everybody else is like a robot, sitting at the same place forever, just waiting for you to come by. Of course, there are exceptions. One of the brightest of these is certainly Moon Hunters.
Moon Hunters is a game made by Kitfox Games, a Canadian game company. It’s a roguelite RPG that promises different gameplay based on our personality. In Moon Hunters, we play as one of six characters (four available from the start and two unlockables). We are already established heroes in the world, especially in our towns. The game starts when we arrive in our town for the Moon Celebration. It is on that night that we come to find out that the moon has vanished. As heroes, our job is to journey across the land to find out what happened to it and return it to its place, since the moon is not only an important part of nature in this world but also a godess. What’s more, with the moon’s vanishing, new powers have appeared. King Mardokh has declared the Sun Cult, seeking to replace the moon.
It is in this world that we begin our journey. Every playthrough of the game takes about an hour to complete, but you have to play many times to see everything. Since the game is a roguelite, everything is randomly generated, meaning no area will ever be the same. What is the same is the process you go through in every playthrough. Our hero has five days to travel the world and discover the moon’s whereabouts. In the fifth day we get to fight Mardokh himself in the game’s bossfight. Depending on how that bossfight goes, we get a different ending. During the rest of the five days, we visit a new area on each day. We have to explore that area and clear it of monsters. We might also find merchants to upgrade our attacks and also a few events on our way. After each day, we get to rest and upgrade out stats for the next day.
What really matters for me in the game is really the exploration. Since there are more than five areas in the game, to explore everything you’ll need to play for quite a bit. It is, however, worth it. You can find tons of events on your way that land you in interesting situations, as well as new towns and a few neat secrets. The world, although not drenched in lore, feels very alive, since there are other entities actively living in it and travelling. It’s honestly refreshing, seeing villagers and travellers not revolve around you but doing what they think is best.
Regarding our characters, each one has his own strenghts and weaknesses. The spellblade can do some very good melee damage but might be a bit squishy. The Ritualist is great from a distance but has to constantly teleport to keep enemies away. Generally, gameplay in combat changes completely with every character and it can take a while to get used to them.
Sadly, not everything with the game is great. For example, combat is very repetitive, since all the enemies do is charge you head on. This is true for everything bar the final boss, which requires some tactics. Moreover, that whole “gameplay based on personality” pitch is a bit lacking. Basically, when you get an event in the game you get to decide a response. After that, you get a personality trait based on the response you gave. This trait allows you to interact differently with various objects in the game, allowing you to influence events such as the final boss fight. Be that as it may, the system is quite boring. I can easily understand what response I have to give in order to get the trait I want, so it devolves from personality gameplay to “choose the right answer”. I’d rather the game didn’t give you dialogue choices but change your personality based on actions. For example, if I kill a monster’s babies I’m cruel. If I leave them alone, I’m merciful.
So there you have it. Moon Hunters is a game with a fantastic, vibrant world but repetitive and lacking gameplay. In other words, it’s a divisive game. Personally, since I’m a lore and world buff, I really enjoyed the game and the world it offered me. However, if you are someone who prefers gameplay more, you might not like the game as much. It’s entirely up to you. If you found the game interesting, check it out on youtube or on steam, see if you like it.
Moon Hunters is available through Steam and costs 15 euro (11.2 with the current Steam Sale).
Moon Hunters is a charming game with a world that truly feels alive. If its gameplay was a bit better, it would give any roguelite out there a good run for its money.
–Philip “Snowchill” Alexandris