Thirty minutes of itching… EverHunter

So, here it is. The first game I picked from the “new, free Windows games” page from… EverHunter. It’s a 2D rogue-like platformer that uses what I can only describe as twin-stick-shooter-but-keyboard controls.

So how was it?

Really fun actually. Which is good – starting this series with a squib would have really put a damper on it.

From the itchy page:

EverHunt is a Challenging Action Packed Rogue-like/Platformer game in which you play as an Experienced Hunter who has come to a Legendary cave looking for a Mythical treasure that Legends speak about. You will have to use your knowledge from previous runs, your reflexes, and Many Different types of Arrows to survive and go deeper into a Legendary Cave. Be careful tho, every time you play the Level’s layout will be different, 4 Different zones contain new beautiful terrain and challenging enemies. Every 3 levels you’ll have to face a new Ruthless and Unique Bosses.

The free download is a demo of one zone containing three levels, culminating in a boss fight. That squirmiform chap shown above in fact.

Unlike the writing in the description the game shows real promise. The controls are tight; WSAD to move, keypad to fire an arrow. Your bow has a pleasing amount of heft to it, the arrows surprisingly impactful. You do have a limited number of arrows available, and at one point a loading message told me I could use the melee attack to conserve arrows, but that never became an issue. Enemies drop ammo and you can recover your own arrows, so in practice I always had way more than I needed. Which was good, because while the bow is powerful and fun to use, the melee attack is… not. It takes just a little too long to swing, the reach is tiny, and you stop moving while you attack. The fact that it’s bound to the ctrl key makes it as awkward for you to use as for your little pixelly character. Arrows then. Arrows and me are a team.

Not shown: the frankly disgusting amount of health this worm has

As mentioned above, the game is divided into zones and at the end of each you face a boss, in accordance with ancient traditions or local bylaws. The one I saw was a giant worm with more health than seems reasonable for something that lives in fear of the early bird. It only seemed to have a couple of attacks so the fight quickly got repetitive. Even so, me and that squirmy devil are due a rematch. Giant worms with lasers are a crime against nature that shall met with grit and steel.

Movement and jumping are good; the character is responsive and nimble. Jumping, double-jumping and wall-jumping are all intuitive and exactly as you’d expect. Firing arrows down into enemies as you leap over their heads is roundly satisfying and you often find yourself playing peekaboo with other ranged enemies. Pleasingly, projectiles from ranged enemies also hurt other creatures, adding an extra little element of either humour or skill, depending how tactically you can play.

There’s an XP system that lets you unlock additional skills for use in future runs; you can select up to three at a time, allowing some variation in play. There’s also a rudimentary quest system, which so far seems to be of a one-per-level “kill five bats” school. It’s a bit of flavour right now, but will be interesting to see if and how it gets fleshed out further into development.

I described it at the start as a “twin-stick-shooter-but-keyboard” game. It works well enough like that but the developers have promised gamepad support is in the works and I think that just that one feature would really take the game up a notch.

All told, it’s a fun little game – engrossing enough that when I loaded it up again to get a screenshot I was two levels in before I remembered why I was there. Go check it out.

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