Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
On paper, everything about The Hunted sounds just fine. A dual-stick shooter, a genre very popular on mobile, with competitive multiplayer elements? Why not? Unlike other genres, that premise doesn’t immediately raise any flags. Unfortunately, the execution is where the game falls flat, and that’s apparent from the moment you press play.
The Hunted takes the modes players would find in a typical competitive shooter, like deathmatch and team deatchmatch, and has combatants battling it out from a top-down perspective rather than a first or third-person one. It’s a small change but it still makes the skirmishes feel unique compared to either a standard FPS or survival-based dual-stick shooter. The seemingly sole map is littered with power-ups and teleporters that zap players around the field to hunt or be hunted. But what really gives the game its identity is its character variety. Each hero, whether it’s a cowboy or a walking whale, has a unique set of projectiles and melee moves. Want a Gatling gun and the ability to burrow underground? How about a shotgun and powerful short-ranged swords? The way these differences affect the game is almost MOBA-like.
But as I said earlier, these promising ideas don’t quite hold up when actually playing the game. And that’s if players can even find a match. The user base is still pretty small and entrants tend to drop out. However, the lackluster gameplay itself could be to blame for all those disconnections. No matter what character players choose, shooting feels janky and sluggish. Also, at times bullets seem to do nothing even when they clearly hit their target.
But the biggest offenders are the visuals. The Hunted's art style is basic, flat, and totally devoid of personality. However, the real problem is that players can only see what’s in front of them using a flashlight. While a mechanic like that makes sense in a tense horror game, which is maybe what the hunting theme is trying to evoke, here it just leads to players aimlessly flailing around for a needlessly long amount of time since they can’t find anyone and don’t know what to do. All the while they are also forced to look at a screen mostly made up of an ugly black pixelated mess covering the obscured areas.
There are good ideas in The Hunted, but it would take a lot of polishing to get them to shine. Here’s hoping it cleans up nice.