Hunt the Night is a new action-adventure game developed by Moonlight Games and published by Dangen Entertainment. It takes inspiration from the Zelda and Souls-like games and is very hard.
The story revolves around a group called The Stalkers who discover how to use the powers of darkness to fight the “Night”, a power that dominates the nighttime. They used the Seal of Night in exchange for blood to stop the Night. Yet that only stopped it temporarily. You now play as Vesper, a member of The Stalkers, attempting to stop the encroaching darkness.
Hunt the Night has 2D pixel graphics with an over-the-head view reminiscent of the Zelda games. It has gothic trappings, so birds, blood, wolves, and monsters are present, which players of the Castlevania series will be familiar with.
It is Souls-like in that it is a demanding game and open world in some regards, and you can also carry on after death. Meaning you can grind Noctilium, the main currency. It also means all enemies respawn when you go to the save point. However, the main difference with that game is that you don’t lose any Noctilium when you die.
The first area you explore is a castle-like area of Ravenford. Here you learn the basics of the game and story. As you explore, you solve puzzles, fight enemies, and practice the art of dodging. The over reliance on the dodge’s ability in progression, crossing holes and platforms, becomes frustrating.
After an hour or more, you come to the first boss, a monstrous wolf called The Devourer. At first glance, this boss is intimidating, though I managed to kill it on my second attempt with the two-handed greatsword. Afterwards, you carry on exploring and meeting a few survivors. One of which sells you a crossbow.
Not long after that, you come to the second boss called Adelram, the Fallen Crow, and this is when the game asks, “If you have the skills?” and I reply, “No.” I have managed to get the boss to below half health, but like other bosses in similar games, the second phase is faster and more complex than the first, and making it worse, is the limited healing.
You only have three healing “Roses,” healing potions that solely heal three health, and you only have ten, to begin with (with a certain Moonstone item). You have nineteen health in total to kill a boss with about thousand health, and you can die in two hits. I am unable to do it.
I have tried to beat it countless times, and that’s when I decided to give up for now. I was hoping to do a review of the game, but the amount of time I would have to spend to “get good” would be unenjoyable and time-consuming when I have limited time as it is. I wouldn’t want to give a game a bad review because of my inability to complete it. You could argue it is the game’s fault.
I have several game saves of different points in the game, yet I don’t want to use this as it would mean: I am cheating, not getting the proper experience, and not knowing what the hell is happening.
I have only ever played the first Dark Souls, and while that game and the rest in the series are challenging, they allow you to grind to buff up your stats to make it easier when you come back. Hunt the Night at this early point doesn’t let you do this. There isn’t a way to boost up your character at that point. You have to beat the boss without any extra help. While you can use different weapons, combat suits, and Dark Powers, there isn’t enough variety in character builds compared to Dark Souls.
After you beat Adelram, the Fallen Crow, Ravenford becomes your hub base, where you can upgrade your Roses and weapons, buy new items, go on Hunt contracts to fight bosses and improve your health, and much more. However, this is after the difficulty spike and would be helpful beforehand. I know they did this for story reasons, but unless you have the persistence and skill. Many won’t even get that far.
I have nothing against demanding games. I often prefer playing them this way. Recently I completed Expeditions: Rome on hard with Ironman mode and character deaths on. You have one save, a more clever and formidable AI, and your companions could die. Nevertheless, this felt fair, as you have plenty of time to gear up and level up between arduous encounters. It also rewarded clever thinking and tactical use of the environment.
There are plenty of punishing games I have beaten in the past, like the Monster Hunter series, the XCOM series, and Hades. Maybe it is my age, and I have never been good at action, bullet hell games, like Nuclear Throne and Enter the Gungeon.
That is not to say Hunt the Night isn’t a good game. I don’t have the time to get better. I may go back to it and do a review in the future, but I have cut my losses and decided to give up.
If you like challenging games like the ones mentioned, you will enjoy Hunt the Night. It has plenty to reward for people who have perseverance. Unlocking a large base with loads of NPCs by beating a boss is one example of a reward.
Just be prepared if you are like me.