Cats are incredible creatures. They can seemingly be let out of the house and have the ability to roam about before finding their way back home. They can land on their feet from great height, while also giving the Illusion of being all cute and cuddly.
What cats are not usually known as are incredible warriors, however Hunter’s Legacy proves that cats can actually hold their own against the forces of evil.
Within Hunter’s Legacy you play as Ikki, a ginger and brown feline with a sharp ability to swing a sword. Ikki is her village’s greatest warrior, and as such is called upon in a time of great peril. Her village Iripur is in danger from the evil Lord Morodir, a tyrant who has stolen their most sacred Relic the village possesses, the Fang of Alliance. As such begins your journey in recovering this relic and stopping evil once and for all.
If the story sounds overly simplistic and open ended, that’s because it is. The game starts with a few short continuous pictures with dialogue shown for set up, explaining what this is before sending you on your merry way. No real depth, no character set-up, nor any world building really takes place. It’s slightly disappointing that all you learn about this world is that Ikki’s village wants to retrieve the Fang of Alliance.
That’s the basis of what the set-up is in Hunter’s Legacy, but what do you actually do in it? Well, Hunters Legacy is a type of Metroidvania game. It’s a two dimensional side scroller with multiple paths; some of which are only accessable through means of unlocking power-ups by defeating bosses, and lots of verticality. Ikki can jump, attack with her dual swords or bow, and even roll to help aid you in getting through a levels various obstacles depending on the world you’re in.
Much like other Metroidvania type games, the places the game takes you are quite well done; varied, but if not a little predictable. You have your grass zone type area filled with spikes and not-so-friendly plant life, you have a volcanic fire and ice area that adds a level of complication not seen in the other levels where you have to keep an eye on Ikki’s temperature throughout which is quite interesting, and there’s even an indoor area filled with ghosts and wizards ready for battle.
There is no real hand-holding; the game relies on level design to teach new mechanics. Just beat a boss and learnt how to dash through the air? The game will put you almost instantly in a certain situation where it’s needed; therefore giving you the ability to learn and master your new technique.
It is here where the game starts to rear its ugly side to the player; as while you have all of these options at your disposable, none of them really matter when certain enemies such as the ghosts and wizards can fire at you through the floor and walls. Now usually this wouldn’t bother me too much, considering ghosts are known to be able to do that, but here it borders on frustration, especially when there’s no way out and your only option is to die and restart.
Lucky then that the checkpoint and save system works quite well in that respect, as dying usually isn’t a big deal throughout as shrines are scattered favourably. However what isn’t scattered favourably are teleporters. Now, these are used to navigate the map and return to your village to upgrade – the other portion to this game.
Upgrading, like I just said, takes place at Ikki’s village through two ways, depending on what upgrades you want. Ikki’s dual swords and bow are upgraded through the local blacksmith, while health is upgraded and refilled by the local mage. Like all quality upgrades, money is one involving factor into purchasing these upgrades.
But how do you get money you ask? By opening treasure chests, defeating enemies/bosses as well as being found inside tall grass that you can slash at. The other factor – the blacksmith – requires Ore as well as money to give you more powerful weapons. Ore can be found again in special white treasure chests, and this would all be fine if not for the fact there really isn’t a lot of direction or indication shown to you as to where any ore is. Nor the fact that later on in the game it becomes almost a necessity that you get better equipment and more health.
Hunter’s Legacy definitely gives off the feel of a game going for the old school feel; unfortunately it does it in a frustrating way. Towards the end of the game the difficulty spikes enormously, to the point where I was stuck on the final boss for days, dying each time in ways that felt cheap and unnecessary. It wasn’t until a few dozen tries later I came to the conclusion that I needed more upgrades, however by this time I was a fair distance away from any teleporter, and as enemies respawn I would have had to fight my way back through a lengthy level, the outcome of which may not have even helped because of the lack of map or indication of where any ore chests are.
In the end I did eventually beat the game, it’s just so counter intuitive that I had to do it in this way, to the point where all of the fun of playing Hunter’s Legacy had gotten sucked out, leaving behind bitterness, confusion and questions.
Why make ore so complicated to find if it’s so necessary? Why was the difficulty spike so huge from the last fight to the whole rest of the game? Or even why is there no teleporter or map to help me backtrack?
Theses are all valid questions that ended up souring my experience at the end of my time with the game. Hunter’s Legacy is a good game; it has interesting, engaging gameplay with cool light RPG elements and good level design. Unfortunately, with a lack of any real story or enemies that can go through walls to attack you constantly, coupled with the lack of knowledge about almost necessary upgrades and a difficulty spike that is ridiculously sharp, I can’t whole-heartedly recommend Hunter’s Legacy as a purchase for people unknown to what they might be getting in to.
What I will say is, if you know and are excited by any of what I’ve said, definitely check out Hunter’s Legacy.