Hunter’s Legacy: Purrfect Edition Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Lienzo

Publisher: Lienzo

Release Date: 13th December 2018

Price as of Article: $6.99 USD, £6.29 GBP

Game code provided by Lienzo for review

Story
The story here is somewhat derivative. You play as a hunter-slash-adventurer who must return a sacred artefact, which a bad person has stolen from a temple. Sound familiar? In Hunter’s Legacy, you take control of the feline, Ikki, and must track down the Fang of Alliance. It has been mysteriously stolen, plunging the kingdom into disarray, and now it’s your job to find the thief and retrieve the Fang.
 
Put simply: the story is forgettable and can largely be ignored. It’s a shame, but I don’t know of many games under $10 with a gripping masterpiece of a story, so it shouldn’t be judged too harshly, based on this.
Gameplay
Hunter’s Legacy is a 2D action-adventure platformer. If you’ve played anything from the Metroid or Castlevania series, you’ll  know what to expect.
 
Certain areas will regularly be blocked off, and you won’t be able to access them until you collect a new weapon or upgrade. This leads to a lot of backtracking – a lot. Though traditional metroidvanias relied on this too, it feels very restricting when it’s featured today. Though this may be more of a comment on the climate of modern gaming, I found that the constant backpedaling hindered my enjoyment.
 
Though there is a nice amount of diversity in the levels’ environments – ranging from swampy marshlands to treacherous volcanoes – they, too, end up feeling too familiar and don’t offer enough to keep the core gameplay feeling fresh. Fortunately, you can make use of teleporters to jump back in at specific checkpoints throughout the game, reducing the need to redo entire levels over and over. These double as respawn checkpoints when you die, which are incredibly handy. I also greatly appreciated that falling down a chasm didn’t instantly kill you, and instead spawned you back on the ground, albeit missing a chunk of health. Dead Cells had the same feature, and it makes platforming more enjoyable, in my opinion.
 

KILL, DIE, REPEAT

Dying is something that will likely happen quite often. Not necessarily due to the enemies being incredibly difficult, though. Instead, I found most of them were just plain annoying to fight. Some required you to reflect projectiles back at them before you could damage them, and others teleported around at will. I quickly concluded that most enemies weren’t worth trying to fight unless they halted my progression or there were too many to run from.

There are bosses dotted throughout the game, too. Though these offered a nice challenge, they often had frustrating attack patterns, too. I didn’t find myself having fun avoiding their attacks and sneaking sword swings in while they’re incapacitated, as you’re supposed to. In fact, I very rarely had fun with the combat, which is a mortal sin for a metroidvania. 

That’s not to say the combat is necessarily bad; it isn’t. The sword swings and bow shots all register nicely, and there are sizeable hitboxes to all your attacks – which help to keep you safe in a pinch. The issue is that the combat didn’t offer anything new or exciting, it was very… routine. There’s little reason not to button mash for the sword, but you at least have to aim your arrows with the left stick, which alleviates the repetitiveness. Both can be upgraded in the first town you reach for a hefty price, but they only really increase your damage output. In addition, you can also unlock special abilities, such as a dash, which substantially increases your mobility.

NOT JUST A PORT

Hunter's Legacy Review Screenshot 2

Thankfully, there are a number of improvements to Hunter’s Legacy that have been made for the Nintendo Switch’s Purrfect Edition. These include updated animations, combat, story, and the addition of a New Game Plus mode, once you finish the story. It’s good to see that they’ve made some improvements over the base game, and not just done a lazy port from the PC and console version that was released in 2016 and 2017. The overall cost has remained pretty low too, which is the biggest asset this game has.
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Audio

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the audio, good or bad. There’s an upbeat soundtrack that plays for the majority of the levels, which gets noticeably agitated and energetic for boss battles. Unless you’re an audiophile, you probably won’t form much of an opinion on it, though. It’s unobtrusive and doesn’t really add a whole lot to the gameplay or story. 

Something that did interfere with my enjoyment were the sound effects. In particular, Ikki’s constant yelling during her attacks got increasingly annoying as my journey went on. By a few hours in, I was happy playing the game on mute. Your tastes may vary, and you might find the audio to be pleasant and a welcome addition, but I wasn’t a fan.

Visuals & Performance
Hunter's Legacy Review Screenshot 1
 
Despite the game’s other flaws, the graphics are quite nice. The cartoon visual style is surprisingly detailed, with a vibrant colour palette to boot. The backgrounds were often somewhat dull in comparison to what was going on in front of you, though. As I mentioned previously, there is a range of locales to explore, all of which suit the art style well, even if there wasn’t enough visual variety for me.
 
In terms of performance, I didn’t run into any issues, as expected. The game doesn’t appear to be very taxing, and this translates to a smooth experience whether you play it on a TV or in handheld mode.
Value

The value is what holds Hunter’s Legacy: Purrfect Edition up. The fact that you’re getting 5 or 6 hours of gameplay for $7 is pretty good value for money, and there’s even a New Game Plus mode added to the Nintendo Switch version, to give some replayability. Considering the gameplay is serviceable and not exactly a chore to play, this brings the overall score up considerably. Personally, I won’t be returning to it, but if you enjoyed the first playthrough, then I’m sure you’ll love the ability to jump back in again.

The biggest issue Hunter’s Legacy has is its competition. We are spoiled for choice when it comes to metroidvanias on the Nintendo Switch. For consumers, it’s a blessing, as we have wonderful titles like Hollow Knight, but it’s a curse for developers as lesser titles get outshone. In my opinion, it’s well worth saving your money for titles like Hollow Knight and Dead Cells, but if you’ve already played these and are eager for more 2D platforming adventures, Hunter’s Legacy might just be for you.

Pros

P

Good value for money

Cons

P

Lack of meaningful originality

P

Repetitive gameplay