Huntsman: The Orphanage – Preview
Follow Genre: Indie first-person horror-mystery
Developer: ShadowShifters
Publisher: ShadowShifters, TIPFIND PTY LTD ATF PD DISTRIBUTION TRUST
Platform: PC

Huntsman: The Orphanage – Preview

Good: The storytelling and the story itself
Bad: Graphics are not the smoothest
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Huntsman: The Orphanage, the creation of a new group of indie developers that go by the name of Shadowshifters. What they wanted was not just a scary game, but a game that gives you an eerie feeling while you’re imagining a world of your own.

Huntsman_Title

We start off on a dark road, you see a small forest path in front of you with an old phone booth a little to the right. Well, this starts off just right! If you didn’t get the impression yet from the screenshots, this will instantaneously give away that this is going to be a creepy game.

You will notice upon getting in the game that you are holding some sort of a smartphone, this will be your flashlight as well as the medium that you’ll use to listen to or see the orphans.

Moving on! The title refers to an orphanage, so let’s find one. When you walk a bit further, you’ll find yourself in front of a big iron gate. Just open it and only a few steps further you’ll find yourself standing in front of an immense orphanage. Once inside, there is a portrait on the floor, you can walk up to it and listen to its story. These portraits are necessary to progress more easily in the game, so you’re going to hear a lot of stories. The voiceovers for the characters are actually pretty good, although some might be less understandable than others. While subtitles are still missing and taking in consideration that this is not the full release, I’m guessing the developers will add these to the game later on. The main idea is that you listen to the portraits, preferably with your eyes closed and start imagining the stories in your own mind and way. It’ll make getting clues easier as well!

If you would get lost on what you have to do next, the chalkboard in the classroom (the second room when you enter the orphanage) will give you hints.

Huntsman_Gloria

The story is about the Huntsman, he’s a time traveler that stranded in our dimension during the Black Plague of 1400. He was attracted by all the negative energy in our world due to the plague. He feeds himself on the misery of people after he draws them into each own’s limbo, a true nothingness. The orphanage is one the places that he visited and assaulted, but the caretaker could manage to set up a maze including the headstones of all victims, so it’s your task to set them free.

Each victim has one object that is closely related to him/her. You have to find these tokens and bring them to their headstones, the preview doesn’t let me enter the maze yet, so it stops here… for now. To find these tokens and to know to whom it belongs as well as to solve the maze and its puzzles, you’ll have to listen to the stories like mentioned before or you can just run through the game and try random stuff, but that kills all the fun of course and you’ll miss out on the interesting story!

You will not encounter physical violence, the Huntsman will try to pull you into limbo, but there will not be physical contact.

Huntsman_Huntsman

The overall gameplay is pretty natural, nothing much to say about that. You can customize the controls any way you want. The only thing is that it keeps showing the standard controls on the menu screen, but I assume that it’s just on the menu screen for new players who don’t go through any configuration.

The game still contains some bugs. For example, it’s possible to get stuck, but one of their latest updates added autosaves, so you can just go to the main menu and restart at your checkpoint.

There isn’t too much music in the game, at the menu screen there plays a nice tune which does give me a somewhat eerie feeling, you just know you’ll be roaming in an old house. For the credits they made a song that fits well in my opinion. I do really like the sound effects that they added while listening to a portrait and it obviously helps you imagining things more lively.

Huntsman_Blocks

Conclusion

While it’s still in beta and of course with the corresponding bugs, I really like the concept. Because of the preview version I only got to roam the orphanage and listen to the stories, I’m eager to know what is still waiting for me. I’d say these newbies (although they aren’t so new anymore now, after this experience) did a very good job for their first game. On Halloween this year the full game releases, so stay tuned!

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