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Hunting a Better Game — Pixel Hunter

 

A tl;dr Haiku

Gun safety advice:

In the event of gun theft,

Shoot some animals.

 

Don’t you just hate it when a pack of giant, pixel mountain goats steals your dynamite? It’s one of my Top Ten pet peeves, easy. Add to that other random animals stealing all my guns, and it just makes for a really stressful morning. Luckily, there is a game out there which empathizes with such plights: Pixel Hunter, an indie action adventure game developed by Lemondo Entertainment for PC (and iPhone, evidently? What is this a mobile game review series? Bigger stuff is coming soon, I promise.)

 

Gameplay 7.5 / 10

Pixel Hunter runs with a basic control scheme. Directional arrows for movement, a button to shoot, a button to jump. Player health operates on a ‘three strikes, you’re out’ system, only instead of strikes, the player loses their hat, hair, and life in that order. Keeping with the rule of three, the player gets three lives before a Game Over. But running out of lives isn’t particularly harsh in Pixel Hunter and the player is given an option to simply continue from exactly where they left off at a cost. That cost is meat. Meat which is picked up by shooting every thing that looks like it could die. There’s also an option to restart, but even that only pushes player progress back slightly.

The level design here was nice. It was made mainly of the stock level types: forest level, ice level, fire level, etc. But they each swapped up the gameplay enough so it didn’t feel like running the same map over and over again.

The game was mostly without annoying, flow-breaking flaws. Mostly. There was one in particular which regularly annoyed me, and it concerned the moving from one zone in a level to another. Rather than having the shoot button, or jump button, confirm readiness to advance, the game forces the player to click and confirm with the mouse. Yes, it’s minor. But its still annoying and breaks from the flow of the game.

 

Story NA / 10

So, yeah. Not much of a story here. On the main menu, there’s a button that says “Story” and tosses up a quick comic about a hunter, returning home after a slaughter, with nothing on his mind but how much he misses the guns he hadn’t been directly using to kill things. He arrives home to find a note (from ‘Bosses’) informing him that his guns have been confiscated. The hunter takes the only rational course of action, and immediately embarks on another expedition for hunting and/or revenge.

More than anything, this raises some serious philosophical questions. Animals can write now? They have the self-awareness to recognize themselves on a personal level and the observational awareness to not only recognize a hunter, but to recognize his tools as well? I want to see what happened behind the scenes here. One of the ‘Bosses’ is a freaking snowman. A snowman scouted this dude out, broke into his house, and stole his stun gun. That’s terrifying. That’s Frosty the Snowman meets every heist movie ever made. And we’ll never know the truth of how that caper went because the titular Pixel Hunter straight murdered everyone who had anything to do with the theft. I can tell this game holds some secrets. Dark secrets.

 

Graphics and Art 8.0 / 10

The game actually looks pretty good. It’s pixels, but in 3D. With simple games like this, I like to go by a simple scale: are things easily recognizable? Yes. I could tell what everything was, and I only mistook an enemy for a randomly placed rock, like, three or four times, max.

There were some bug issues with Pixel Hunter. A big one was that it would try to link to outside sites. This may not be the case for all computers, but for mine, my anti-virus software was totally not okay with this. It was so not okay, it deleted the game’s executable file from my computer, requiring me to download the game all over again. Now, the game is like, 200 MB, so a re-download takes all of ten seconds. But still. It’s annoying.

 

Average and enjoyable gameplay coupled with a few annoying bugs means Pixel Hunter comes in at a solid 7.5 / 10 for THE Score. For being unmemorable, getting old fairly quickly, and forcing me to contemplate a nightmare scenario in which I am hounded by a snowman version of Keyser Soze, THE Hammer hits Pixel Hunter down to a 7.0. Only very softly recommended due to it being less than five bucks for the PC and, last I checked, free on the iPhone.

 

THE Score(Critical): 7.5 / 10

THE Hammer(Personal): 7.0 / 10

 

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