Moon Hun­ters


EDGE - - GAMES - PC Out now Kit­fox Games

How em­bar­rass­ing. The Sun Cult have burned all of the forests, and we’ve been pre­par­ing to fight their leader, King Mar­dokh. But hav­ing al­ready seen two war­riors van­quished, we didn’t re­ally fancy our chances in bat­tle, and so opted to charm rather than at­tack him. Now he’s fallen for us and is im­plor­ing us to run away with him. Our fel­low moon wor­ship­pers will be dis­pleased, and we’re rather sab­o­tag­ing our own leg­end, but how can we stand in the way of true love?

Kit­fox Games’ mys­ti­cal RPG ad­ven­ture gives you only about an hour to forge a last­ing legacy through your ac­tions, in a world where the stars are no longer in equilibrium. A feast to cel­e­brate the ar­rival of the lu­nar queen goes awry when she fails to show up, leav­ing the Sun cult to take over. You’re given three dawns to set­tle your affairs be­fore Mar­dokh ar­rives to an­ni­hi­late the tribes who would defy his rule. It’s a nar­ra­tive with a fixed desti­na­tion, but re­gard­less of the out­come, you have plenty of say in how you’ll be re­mem­bered when it’s all over. Jour­neys end, as the game tells you, but sto­ries live on – and not only in a writ­ten post script. The myth of your cho­sen war­rior will en­dure in phys­i­cal form: over sev­eral Knowl­edge gained across mul­ti­ple playthroughs will in­form the choices you make in fa­mil­iar sce­nar­ios – and the traits you’ll ob­tain after­ward. But learn­ing how to play the sys­tem rather cheap­ens the ro­mance of the fa­ble at­tempts, the night sky will steadily fill with com­mem­o­ra­tive con­stel­la­tions, and you may even find a statue herald­ing the achieve­ments of a pre­vi­ous hunter.

It’s struc­tured as a Roguelite, as you move be­tween nodes on the map, mak­ing dis­cov­er­ies and mow­ing down en­e­mies un­til you ei­ther reach a safe place to camp or run out of health and are forced to pre­ma­turely call it a night. The key dif­fer­ence is that rather than gain­ing a deeper un­der­stand­ing of a world and its sys­tems over sev­eral plays, your ac­tions make it a big­ger, richer place. You’ll dis­cover new recipes that can be used at rest stops to boost your char­ac­ter’s stats (on one run, we con­cocted a broth that in­creased our en­ergy re­gen­er­a­tion for the sub­se­quent ad­ven­ture) and open up new area types, mov­ing from forests and deserts to moun­tains, swamps and rivers.

It’s a novel and mor­eish hook for a while, and if your ac­tions don’t prompt an im­me­di­ate re­sponse, they’ll of­ten re­sult in an amus­ing foot­note: how were we to know that bring­ing a bird to a vil­lage would curse it with ten years’ bad luck? But all too soon the same vi­gnettes re­cur, and the myths blend into one – in­deed, you’re forced to choose which hero should be hon­oured by a sin­gle con­stel­la­tion. There’s some­thing to be said for a game that lets you elope with the fi­nal boss, but oth­er­wise Moon Hun­ters’ light wanes a lit­tle more quickly than we’d hoped.

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