Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan – Review
Follow Genre: Platformer, Action, Adventure
Developer: COLLECTORVISION Entertainment Games
Publisher: COLLECTORVISION Entertainment Games
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Tested on: Xbox One

Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan – Review

Site Score
Good: Greatly succeeds at making a retro game on a modern console
Bad: Boss fights are not all great to play
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When people grow up in a certain era of gaming, the look, touch, and feel of those games will get engrained in their brains. Later, once the necessary skills to create games are obtained, those same people will find a way to implement whatever influenced them back in the day in their own games. Playing Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan, we are feeling a lot of good stuff from back in the day coming back to us.


Sydney Hunter is an adventurer, as you can see by his Indiana Jones-like outfit. During a routine inspection of the land, Sydney finds a Mayan pyramid that he has never seen before. Unable to control his curiosity, he runs inside only to find himself trapped as the door shuts behind him. Inside the temple, there are a couple of Mayans who are still alive and ask Sydney for his help. Their great Mayan calendar named the Haab (a calendar stretching over a single year in Mayan tradition) has been stolen by Kukulkan and scattered into multiple pieces. On top of that, the God of the Sun has been freed, and it’s up to Sydney to stop terrible things from happening by going through the temple(s) he finds himself in and retrieving what once has been stolen.

Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan has mostly written text to guide the player and you’ll progress the story as you talk to Mayans scattered throughout the levels, but there are also some cutscenes now and then. The story does not take itself too seriously and often incorporates a dad joke type of humor into the conversations you have.


Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan tries to emulate playing on an old-school console as much as it can when you look at the game as a total package including the graphics and sound. We think that when it comes to these aspects, it succeeds brilliantly. While playing, we got flashbacks to classics such as the Castlevania series and we really appreciated the variety in graphics throughout the different levels. The layers with parallax backgrounds and beautiful shading on top of the great pixel art brought us something amazing. That said, the game also knows how to keep something unique by combining pixel art with characters that look like they come out of (Belgian) comic books. We appreciated this a lot, as it’s a very defined style that feels fresh compared to what’s already out there. This way the game feels like a classic we haven’t played before.


The sound design and the music for this game are sublime and really add to the feeling of playing an old-school game. The sound effects perfectly replicate any hits, pickups, and other effects you expect in video games from the old days. All music is adventurous and upbeat, and while it might not be the most memorable music by itself, it feels great while playing the game. Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan is not strong in just one aspect of the game, but it’s strong as a total package.


Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan is an action-adventure platforming game, where the player needs to get from point A to point B to progress. Often at the end of the level, a boss fight will occur, though we have to say that the boss fights are perhaps our least favorite part of the game. While going through the levels themselves, we enjoyed figuring out where to go next, we were curious about what we would find on the next screen, and we were trying not to miss any hidden treasures that would aid us in our quest. Boss fights, however, were either rather simple in their A.I. or had some attacks that would kill you instantly, no matter how many hearts you would have. This made for a rather frustrating experience at times.

There is one “main” level that functions as a level select system. To gain access to new levels you need to collect enough skulls to unlock them. Skulls are scattered throughout each level and also add something for completionists, as revisiting levels is not uncommon. Normal treasure can be used in a shop to pay for extra heart containers, potions, and other items. The game also has some new weapons for you to find, which can help defeat a variety of foes that get progressively harder as you get ahead in the game. The levels also get harder, though later in the game we started to see some repeating factors such as the same set-up of traps or the same halfway boss every now and then.

Eventually, what we liked most and what made the game feel most like a successful retro game was probably the fact that it kept our curiosity alive while limiting itself to a certain simple type of gameplay that we saw in the 8 and 16-bit eras. It’s clear what you need to do, but the game can still be challenging at times and still has many secrets for you to find. On top of that, the relatively simple gameplay also makes the game feel very accessible in a way that you can enjoy your surroundings and the adventure while playing, while also making steady progress. When a game manages to give you that feeling, it’s always good.


We loved what Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan did to make the game feel like a retro adventure that you never played before. The graphics and the sound are absolutely on point, and while the story is simple, it ties everything neatly together. The gameplay is accessible, yet complex enough to make you feel like an adventurer who will be surprised by what’s around the next corner on the next screen. Overall the game simply has the right atmosphere to make it work.

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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
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I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for since 2017.

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