Pixel Hunter – Review

Title   Pixel Hunter
Developer  Lemondo Entertainment
Publisher  Lemondo Entertainment
Platform  PS Vita (reviewed), iOS, Android, Windows PC
Genre  Action/adventure/arcade
Release Date  November 20th, 2015
Official Site  http://www.lemondo.com/

pixelhunterrev1Pixel Hunter by Georgian dev team Lemondo, is yet another 8-bit styled arcade title that has found its way onto the PlayStation Vita via iOS and Android. The game mixes 2D gameplay with a 3D voxel engine, which sounds impressive on paper but this run-and-gun shooter doesn’t take too many chances with the formula. You play as the hunter, a weird Mario clone, who runs from left to right through the game’s five worlds, shooting any animal unlucky enough to get in his way. The shooting is pretty simple: you fire forwards and beating a level unlocks some better weapons (and some less than useful ones). For the most part, shooting an animal involves getting to the right height, however, the twitchy jump and shoot buttons make this somewhat tricky, especially as the animals in the game can move at quite a pace (who can blame them?).

That said, their movement is usually pretty predictable and they behave like any enemy in a standard platform shooter. That’s right, there’s also some platforming in this game but, again, it’s nothing particularly problematic. At least until you get to the predictable difficulty spikes. When the game decides to get tricksy with you, it can get quite frustrating, but the game kind of needs those moments as it is often far too pedestrian for its own good. The shooting isn’t particularly satisfying and the platforming is mostly unremarkable (although there are some nice twists, such as a section with rotating tower that echoes the old 8-bit classic Nebulous) but as a pick up-and-play game, Pixel Hunter isn’t too offensive.


Of course, as a game with its roots in mobile gaming, there are some relics from the game’s IAP-laden history in there. When you shoot an enemy, it drops meat, and one hundred meat will give you one continue. You start with 500 meat but the rate at which you gain it is much slower than the rate you lose it, so when the game gets more difficult you’ll need those continues to flow far quicker than they do. On iOS and Android this can be solved by simply buying more meat (if you’re an idiot who hates money) but there’s no such option on the Vita, and so you may find yourself grinding earlier levels in order to give yourself a better chance on the harder stages, which is something I particularly detest about this post-mobile world.

pixelhunterrev3Each level ends with a boss battle, which can be pretty frustrating, and it’s rather underwhelming to see an in-game tip tell you to ‘check out YouTube to see how to beat the bosses’ in the game. Hmm. You play as a hunter, which explains half the title, but the ‘Pixel’ part of it refers to the deliberately blocky 8-bit graphical style (which apparently uses voxels – whatever the fuck they are). Sadly, the game is pretty bland looking, and the 8-bit look seems to be an excuse for some very mediocre and plain design. On the plus side, the game was borderline unplayable on the mobile, so the physical controls will be a real bonus to fans of the game. Also it is immediately playable and takes a while before it gets difficult.

The problem remains that if you’re going to rip off an 8-bit game, you should at least try to match it for playability, and your presentation should be a true step up given that we’re thirty years removed from that generation. Unfortunately, when compared to games such as Contra, Metal Slug, Green Beret and pretty much any coin op run and gunner, this is almost offensively simple in both gameplay and aesthetics. As a free-to-play/free-to-ignore mobile game, it barely registers in the gaming consciousness but as an arcade-style game on the PlayStation Vita, it should be perfect for an oldie like me, but instead leaves me entirely cold. It’s not terrible, although it has some questionable design choices to answer for (such as why not tailor the game to non-IAP formats), but it adds so little to a genre that is so well-established that it makes you wonder why they bothered in the first place.

  • Simple to grasp gameplay
  • Okay for pick up and play mini-sessions
  • Mediocre graphics.
  • All the grinding of an IAP game but with none of the shortcuts.
  • Repetitive, and bad, music.
  • Rudimentary shooting and platforming that never really satisfies

As a modern take on the old Metal Slug style of gameplay, Pixel Hunter is more Dick Cheney than Ted Nugent. Repeatedly failing to hit the mark but without asking too much of you if all you want to do is jump and shoot a bit. It's not a game we can recommend but if you really want to check it out, download it on iOS and then go and see a doctor. You may have a problem.

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