Darkest Hunters – Review
Follow Genre: RPG, Strategy, Puzzle
Developer: ECC GAMES S.A.
Publisher: Ultimate Games S.A.
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Darkest Hunters – Review

Site Score
6.4
Good: Design, Concept
Bad: Repetitive, Extremely shitty controller support, Lack of impressive story
User Score
7.0
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (5 votes cast)

Even though the Switch is a tablet-like console, there are many developers that forget or ignore the touch screen capabilities of the device. While for many games this isn’t a big deal, for some it feels like a missed opportunity or a lazy port from other platforms. Nonetheless, Darkest Hunters, a small indie game does its best to create a mobile-like game that uses the touch screen to the fullest and we were quite intrigued by the core gameplay. While the game may look like a match three game, it is actually a fun strategy RPG that has a few tricks up its sleeve, even though it might become very repetitive for some.

Story

Darkest Hunters doesn’t present you with the thickest plot there is, as you’re simply thrown into the game to fight off the forces of evil. That’s all there is to it. You’ll find the occasional note during levels that should add a bit of story value, but it really doesn’t. Do we miss a proper story? Yes and no. The game works well enough as it currently stands, without an enticing story, but seeing it’s also an RPG title, it could have helped to have a somewhat more enchanting plot to draw you in deeper.

Graphics

Darkest Hunters rocks a pixilated style, ranging from a fun impressive looking overworld, different character profiles to the different levels you’ll be playing in. The layout and appearance of the playing fields of the levels will look very much alike, as there are four differently colored types of tiles which you’ll have to connect in order to forge yourself a path to the end goal, treasures and enemies. Your character is simply a face on a small tile, and enemies, loot and other items are done in the same fashion. The backdrop alters slightly depending in which zone you are. Overall the game’s style is very simplistic, but we couldn’t help but fall in love with the game’s aesthetics.

Sound

The sound design of the game is a bit lacking in nature. The sound effects are there, but they are the bare minimum, and the same can be said about the music. The tunes that are implemented in the game feel decent, but there’s just so few of them that they become repetitive very fast. Overall it would have been nice if the soundtrack was a bit more cinematic than it currently is.

Gameplay

Darkest Hunters is a mix between a puzzle game, a strategy title and an RPG. You’ll have to choose which tiles you’ll wade through, by selecting the same type of tiles that are linked together, to ultimately defeat enemies in your path, find treasures and find the end of the level to finish your current quest. Reaching the end is certainly required, but you’ll also have to complete certain objectives, to score Star points, which will be required to unlock future levels.

Overall the concept of the game is simple. You pick one of the available characters (who seemingly have no real differences, safe from a small bio and the characters’ avatars), and wade through the levels by stringing tiles together. Each tile also has its own effect, yellow ones provide gold, blue ones regenerate mana, green ones replenish life and red ones refill your attack power. If your attack power runs out you won’t be able to attack, the same counts for mana when using spells and if you run out of HP, then it’s game over. The yellow ones are just a bonus, or just fun to collect money if you’re not in a rush to reach the end goal.

Fighting and using spells is quite easy in the game, as you’ll just have to tap your enemies to use your equipped weapon, which can consume attack power or mana. Ranged attacks are also possible. If you run out, you’ll have to make sure to recollect said essence, because otherwise you’ll be incapacitated in combat. You can always try to dodge enemies, but when they have you in their sights, they stay on your trail. You can also combine more than five tiles into a special tile, which will damage enemies when they step over it, or when you make it explode when an enemy is in its blast radius.

The gear system is pretty simple, but very satisfying. You’ll get items, and you’ll get them ‘multiple’ times, allowing you to upgrade them by combining them. You’ll get different weapons, which deal normal damage, or elemental damage, and armors which grant normal armor, or protection against the elements. Overall you’ll keep a fairly stocked inventory, allowing you to switch on the fly. The town, or main hub, has shops you can use, but more than often they aren’t extremely useful.

The biggest problem with Darkest Hunters is that the game is very repetitive and that you’ll be grinding for Star points quite quickly to reach the next levels, and many of the objectives you have to clear are very tedious and often force you to switch weapons and play style, simply to get a point. If you could progress in a normal fashion, with a slow increase in the game’s difficulty, making the stages harder, rather than force you to play through them for the umpteenth time, the game would be a lot more interesting and fun to play.

At the time of testing, the developers implemented normal controls, allowing you to play with a pro controller or the Joy-Cons. Sadly, all controls out of the touch screen controls are atrocious and make the game barely playable, and in many cases simply unplayable. When buying this game, it’s best to play it mobile, as the docked version will only grant frustration. We hope the controls get fixed, but it’s best to just buy this game for its mobile controls.

Conclusion

Darkest Hunters is a fun port of the original PC game. You’ll be treated to a decent puzzle, strategy and RPG experience. While the overall looks of the game are certainly appealing, the sound design and the repetitive gameplay will not sway every gamer into buying the title. If you love playing match three games, with a somewhat different mechanic and RPG influences, then this game might just be a fun pastime for you, especially with the decent touch screen controls. Keep in mind that at the time of testing the controller support was total crap, and that it’s best to steer clear from this title if you wish to play it on your television.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (5 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Darkest Hunters - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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