Moon Hunters is a Gauntlet-style esoteric mystery game. That’s a lot of words. Okay, Moon Hunters is a rogue-lite twin-stick time-crunch adventure. No, no, too many hyphens. Moon Hunters is a peaceful action RPG by Kitfox Games. There, that sounds about right.
Whatever you want to classify it as, Moon Hunters is a little game that isn’t quite like anything else. Sure, it shares a lot of gameplay DNA with tons of other indie titles, but for every similarity, there’s a twist. And I mean it when I call it a “peaceful action RPG.” As odd as that may sound, every little detail of this game…relaxes me? Whether that’s the intention or not, it’s a welcome change from its top-down 2D peers.
Sit back and relax
Despite being told there’s only a certain amount of time to unravel the mysteries presented, I never felt rushed. The game encouraged me to explore its world, albeit a small one, and interact with its inhabitants. It encouraged me to examine what was in front of me at every turn. Most importantly, its unique progression system, even if it felt a bit inconsequential in the grander scheme, made me want to see how each scenario would affect my character.
Rather than leveling up by grinding away at battles, I enjoyed watching my stats increase by way choice alone. Would I be kind or cruel? Would I take or give? Would I spend my “downtime” simply resting or would I choose to engage in a fulfilling activity? Each decision would impact my character’s stats and reputation — a design choice that makes a short game in a small world feel much more impactful.
The world itself is procedurally generated with each play-through, but hardly feels thrown together. Enriched with deep mythology and esoteric imagery, Moon Hunters is a winner on the battlefield of lore. The presentation is stunning, with lush artwork and a gorgeous ambient soundtrack washing over the player from the very start. Top all of that off with a dash of pagan mysticism and some of the most excellent implementation of distinctly feminist ideology I’ve seen in a game and Moon Hunters will have you hungering for Kitfox’s next project.
Moon Hunters is far from a perfect game, but what is? Part of me wishes that my choices and actions held more weight in its wondrous world, but I’m really just glad to have spent time in that world at all. This is a title more about the journey than the destination and at its short length, it’s a journey that’s easy to experience over and over again. If you’re looking for a game to sit down with and simply sink into, Moon Hunters is for you.
Moon Hunters is available now on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.
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