Hunter’s Legacy (Xbox One Review)
Hunter’s Legacy is a Metroidvania-like platformer from Mexican developers Lienzo. While it’s been out for a while on PC and Mac (garnering overall Positive reviews on Steam since July 2016), Hunter’s Legacy is taking the leap to Xbox One on the 20th January and the PS4 a few days later (24th January). I joined the main character, Ikki, on her quest to free the Kingdom of Iripur on Xbox One.
Going in to any Metroidvania game, there’s a certain expectation and familiarity that most will know straight away. An open interconnected world is a must, the larger the better, and we want to do some serious platforming, obviously. These elements are improved if the abilities we earn throughout the game allow us to traverse to new areas and defeat difficult enemies. Well, fans of Simon Belmont and Samus Aran can rest assured as Ikki, the great huntress of Un’Amak, takes her feline wiles on an adventure throughout Iripur.
The Kingdom is threatened by the evil Morodir and it’s up to Ikki to make her way to his fortress and undo all of his darkness. To achieve this, you’ll need to make your way to different areas and gather power ups by defeating mighty bosses; the power ups let you access areas you were previously denied entry. The areas you explore on your quest are a fairly standard affair, as is the formula itself – I dislike the term generic, as it carries a connotation of boredom and repetition to me, and Hunter’s Legacy isn’t a boring game.
The first area Ikki will explore is a run of the mill forest, but by the time I had made it to the game’s second ‘level’, the Volcano, I realised that the forest was really more of a tutorial than anything else. The snowy volcano area had large patches of ice and lava that you can traverse, but rather than a typical ‘ice makes you slide, lava burns you’ set up, both types of terrain were capable of inflicting damage to Ikki, but only if you stand on them for too long. If Ikki looks like she’s about to start taking damage from the frost, you can hop on to a fiery patch and thaw yourself out, and vice versa. It’s a clever twist on a tried and tested mechanic that platformers have been using for years, and has it has a moment of brilliance when you reach the areas where the air itself is too hot or too cold.
When making your way through one of these, you need to either take a break along the way to allow Ikki to cool off/heat up, or you can prepare yourself by freezing/burning yourself before making your way through. It takes longer to get to the point of heat damage if you’re almost frozen solid, and the same works in reverse. There are even enemies who can help you make your way through these treacherous patches.
At first, I thought the world was going to be huge, judging by the map and all of the little markers around it denoting separate areas, but after an hour or so of gameplay, the menu informed me I had completed about 29% of the game. Although as the game progressed in difficulty my progress slowed, thankfully and with the adage of hidden collectibles I was set for a good while.
And what’s a Metroidvania without hidden collectables? If you were to ask my friends, they’d tell you I’m not usually the type of gamer to explore every hidden nook and cranny. If you’re like me, then you’ll find Hunter’s Legacy to be, occasionally, very punishing in an ‘old school difficulty’ sort of way. You need to find Ore to upgrade Ikki’s bow, twin swords and maximum health, but the stuff is really difficult to find, aside from the piece you’re given for free at the start of the game. Thankfully you gain some powerful abilities just by beating bosses, but they’re difficult to kill with a basic build, which can lead to some frustrating fights when your enemies just tank all your damage and murder you through perseverance.
The platforming and combat are…fine. They’re nothing special or ground breaking, but I’ve seen a lot worse. Outside of special abilities, there’s no real skill to combat other than knowing when to dodge and when you can get some hits in. It’s actually a little disappointing that, in a genre typified by combat, exploration and platforming, I don’t have a lot to say about two of the three.
However, I really liked the music and art style. The cartoonish graphics are something I really appreciate, and each area in the world as a distinct feeling and personality to it. Music and art that help to set a strong atmosphere are very important for platformers, to help them stand out from the crowd, and I feel that’s one area where Hunter’s Legacy shines.