Devil’s Hunt is a mess of cliché story and awkward combat. Its art direction and camera work are not impressive enough to redeem it.
Arcade action games, especially ones with a solid story, are always a joy to play. Devil May Cry and God of War are among the very best in the genre, and indie game Devil’s Hunt takes a bit from both. Unfortunately, it fails in execution, and the result doesn’t do justice to its sources of inspirations.
Between Clichés and Confusion
Devil’s Hunt begins with something that resembles a 13-year-old’s power fantasy. We play Desmond, a rich and handsome adult with a large house and a job at his disapproving father’s trade company. He also takes part in underground boxing matches, which is why the combat focuses on boxing.
But when Desmond finds out that his fiance is cheating on him with his best friend, he decides to commit suicide and lands in Hell. He realizes that he regrets his death and signs a pact with the devil to bring him back to life as the savior and destroyer. He then becomes Lucifer’s executioner on Earth, taking back the souls of those that have crossed the devil.
From there, the plot keeps getting stranger, and not in a good way. Throughout the game, Desmond continues to take more morally confusing decisions, while enemies and allies trade places regularly. It almost reminds me of the stories I used to make up while playing with my Legos and action figures as a kid – stories that only I enjoyed and understood.
Devil’s Hunt offers an updating codex of character entries, describing their developing stories. However, it’s still hard to keep track of who’s on your side, and even harder to understand why. Desmond’s choices throughout the story never made sense to me.
Shadowboxing at the Gates of Hell
At the core of Devil’s Hunt’s gameplay is the combat. Since your character is a boxer, it revolves around punching enemies. Unfortunately, you can’t control which enemy to lock-on to, so you punch the air half the time. Even when they connect, the hits don’t give a very good indication that you’re dealing damage to enemies. The combos are also unrewarding to execute. Together, these make the combat a dull button mash.
In his adventures in Hell and back on Earth, Desmond unlocks three combat trees which he can upgrade for new abilities and combos. You can switch freely between combat styles to quickly dish out super moves in battle, or stick to the one with your favorite abilities.
Most of those abilities require aiming before use, but due to the lack of proper lock-on, you can easily miss many of these special attacks. You can’t change your direction after the animation begins. If you aimed at a spot and an enemy dodges, you would need to wait until after the attack’s animation ends before you can return to punching your foe.
Devil’s Hunt also allows you to unleash gory finishers, but these executions don’t vary a lot in animation and aren’t very rewarding. I preferred to take down most enemies with my fists or abilities instead of watching the same execution animation over and over.
Don’t Look Back, Orpheus
In between pummeling demonic creatures, angels and possessed humans, Devil’s Hunt offers nice-looking levels to explore. Much like the recent God of War, we can’t jump and instead rely on mounting ledges and occasionally teleporting to reach where you need to go.
Locking on to these ledges doesn’t allow for a lot of freedom. You often have to move from side to side until you find the sweet spot that lets you mount it. You can’t go back down most ledges, blocking the option to backtrack to search for secrets.
But Devil’s Hunt’s collectible secrets aren’t very interesting to find. They range between pieces of artwork and souls that you use to unlock new abilities. The only items that are worth collecting are notes from the fallen executioner Muriel. These notes let you unlock more abilities in one of the three skill trees.
Devil’s Hunt also has some simple puzzles, but like the rest of the game, they aren’t very sophisticated. In one of them, you have to push a box in a straight line so you can climb up to a ledge. In another, you go around activating a series of switches.
While exploring, Desmond’s walking speed is slow, but not to the point where you can’t bear it. However, exploring Desmond’s estate was my least favorite part. In his house, Desmond’s walking speed is unbearably slow. Furthermore, the camera was uncomfortably close and right on top of Desmond. It’s both disorienting and annoying to control.
Grade A Interior Design
The only strong side of Devil’s Hunt is its level design. The detailed interior design of Desmond’s home is fascinating and makes you want to keep exploring (if it weren’t for the uncomfortable controls). The environments in both Hell and Earth have unique and clear art directions, with an emphasis on scale. The large buildings and caves give an epic feel to everything you do in the game.
Devil’s Hunt’s camera work is also very impressive. The shots are cinematic and make the cutscenes fun to watch, even when they don’t make a lot of sense. However, the music rarely pops up to make the action scenes intense, which feels like more untapped potential.
The character animations themselves don’t match up to the environments. Desmond and Lucifer look decent compared to modern games. However, many of the other characters look like they were kidnapped from a game from the previous decade. These characters lacked facial features that would have made them look distinct or interesting.
Devil’s Hunt is a very disappointing game. It tries to reach a little too high but ends up falling way, way down.
From a story that ranges between clichés and confusing decisions, to the button-mashing combat, Devil’s Hunt lets you down in almost every aspect. Its art direction and level design were the only things that can keep you interested while playing, but not for very long.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.