Moon Hunters Review – Praise The Moon (PS4)
It’s always a bummer when a port of a game adds more issues than it fixes. Typically it’s understandable and happens when a game is ported to a way less powerful system like Borderlands 2 on Vita. In the case of Moon Hunters, it’s far more baffling. There is really no reason why the PlayStation 4 version of the game should be missing features and running poorly.
What is tragic about Moon Hunters receiving a poor port on PS4, is that the game is really rad. It’s a short, top-down action RPG that takes about an hour to play through. While that might seem short, there are many different endings to see and different paths to take. Each one reveals more about the intriguing world that the game takes place and shows more of its narrative.
The story focuses on a struggling world that is nearing a state of chaos. The people of the world either pray to the Sun or the Moon. Sadly, the two groups aren’t exactly friendly towards each other, and it’s up to the player to find the missing Moon goddess before the Sun cult does irreversible harm.
Black Hole Sun
The story is intentionally vague at first, but it did more than enough to pique my interest. The rest of the story is told through interactions with different NPCs. Typically it’s not as easy as just talking to them. Most of the time you’ll need an ability (like being patient or being able to talk to animals) or have to make a difficult decision in order to view the scene. This made me eager to continually jump back into the game and have different playthroughs than I had previously.
While talking to Moon Hunters‘ cast of characters is interesting, so is the game’s combat. Each of the game’s different character classes has three unique abilities and play wildly different from each other. For example, the agile character slashes enemies up close, has a dash to quickly get out of the way, and a stun to startle foes. Meanwhile, the druid character can sprout vines to slow down enemies, shoot leaves from afar, and transform into a powerful wolf. Nothing is reused, and every character is completely different. It’s awesome, even if I had a hard time figuring out one of the unlockable characters.
A campaign in Moon Hunters lasts five in-world days, and can take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half. It mainly depends on what levels the player selects, and if they battle enemies or just run past them. Victorious or not, once the five day journey ends players are treated to a neat cutscene that fills in your character’s life after the game. It makes up story based off your own choices, and it’s really awesome in theory.
Sadly, in practice this storytelling doesn’t always work. I often had had contradictory messages right after one another. While I guess this can be attributed to the entire game being told as a legendary tale and how myths end up having a life of their own, it just seems sloppy. It makes no sense for the game to tell me that my character was incredibly kind and giving, only for the next line of narrative to say that he stole everything not nailed down.
That said, it’s still a nice touch and does a good job of letting the player know what choices affected the outcome of the story. Players also will receive new unlocks after a game is completed, which range from new starting points in the story to alternate costumes. Moon Hunters constantly gave me another reason to go back into its wonderful world.
Well, it kept giving me reasons to come back until it turned me away due to its constant technical issues. While Moon Hunters looks fine and has a nice art style, it doesn’t seem like a game that is really pushing the PS4 to its limits. Despite this, the game constantly would freeze for a moment while the game would continue, leaving me vulnerable to enemy attacks and unable to really defend. It’s not unlike the issues that Broforce was plagued with at launch, and it’s very frustrating. Every time the game would send multiple enemies at me, the game would skip frames. This led to me taking damage I didn’t deserve to take, and made the final boss fight even more ridiculous.
The other huge issue is actually an omission. Moon Hunters is meant to be played cooperatively, but there isn’t any online play. Well, not on PlayStation 4, as the PC version does have it. It can be played locally on PlayStation 4, but getting four friends together to fully experience the game as intended isn’t something that will happen often for most.
Moon Hunters is worth playing, just not on PlayStation 4. The lack of online play is a devastating blow to the overall package. Throw in the constant technical issues, and you have a bad port of what is a really interesting game. Check this out on PC if you can, as it’s more fully featured and runs better.
Review code for Moon Hunters provided by publisher. Reviewed on PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.