E3 2015: Moon Hunters Hands-On Preview Find the moon, become a legend. 06.29.15 - 6:08 PM
Kitfox Games' Moon Hunters was available for demo at Sony's E3 booth and I got a chance to play it while talking to designer and producer Tanya Short. Moon Hunters is an isometric action-RPG where a band of up to four heroes embarks on a journey to find the moon that has gone missing from the sky. The game's setting and themes are inspired by ancient Mesopotamia and mythic literature like the epic of Gilgamesh.
Combat in Moon Hunters felt quick and engaging on the PS4 controller. I played a swordsman who had a regular sword strike, a dash attack, an AOE push-back attack, and a long range tornado that he could shoot from his sword. Other characters include a long range shooter, a druid, and some kind of battle monk. The swordsman's skills were balanced to give him a variety of options to handle his enemies, which tended to swarm in diverse groups. In addition, as you collect gems in the field you can use them to level up your abilities and become even more effective.
One of the great things about this game is the ability to play local co-op, online, with up to four people. I played with another journalist on the showroom floor and we quickly found a synergy between the druid's ability to crowd control enemies and the swordsman's DPS. I imagine playing with a party of 4 would be a complete blast.
Outside of battle, players can interact with NPCs and are frequently given choices that will affect their reputation and character. As you develop your reputation, the NPCs begin to react accordingly, so a vengeful character will inspire fear while a compassionate one will be greeted warmly. If you play in co-op, the party will vote on how to respond to NPCs – an interesting dynamic. In addition, players can also rest at campfires and have the opportunity to run through short, choice driven events that can raise their characteristics and stats. I chose to hunt, and a result received some meat and a boost to agility.
The game is designed to be short, about an hour and a half per playthrough, however it is also designed for replayability. With each playthrough you will learn a little bit more about the mythos of the world, the fate of the moon, and how your character's reputation and legend will build. Also, the world's areas and dungeons are randomly generated, so each run will feel fresh. This form of iterative world building is meant to mimic the process of evolution inherent in ancient oral histories.
Moon Hunters comes out in February of 2016 on PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita. Until then, you can check out the teaser trailer below.