Challenge yourself in this hard-boiled arcade shooter. Choose from 3 different bounty hunters in this classic arcade setup. Run, jump and take cover in a futuristic city environment. Hail bullets at your enemies with a great variety of guns.
Huntdown is a 2D retro action shooter in the vein of old-school Contra and other shoot’em ups; with sleek retro look and throwback to the action heroes of the 1980’s, Huntdown retains its own identity from previous retro shooters. You play as one of three unique bounty hunters, blasting through a slick 1980’s cyberpunk/action-hero environment that’ll put a smile on your face. Let’s break down what’s good, what’s bad, and what makes it worth playing.
Huntdown’s visuals are gorgeous and eye-catching in everything from the backgrounds to the enemies. Often when reviewing a game with great visuals, one can end up writing a rambling mess of shilling wankery, but simply: I like the presentation. It exudes grungy, punk-rock attitudes and blends them perfectly with the cyberpunk action-schlock of the 1980s.
Each major enemy gang has very distinct designs and personalities that really make you want to gun them down. Despite the popping colors, exploding environments, and bursts of fire, the sprite work is readable and engaging. It has great artistic execution all around.
Controls and Characters
Most of the controls are simple, responsive and snappy, but there’s an underlying “slipperiness” to the movement and limitations to jumping (you don’t go up as high as it might seem). I played this game with a controller, so I can only speak to that experience.
Besides personality, the character that you choose affects what primary pistols you use and what primary throwables you toss, making each control and play differently. You can choose between:
Anna Conda (I shit you not): Her primary pistols fire in bursts. Her primary throwable is a tomahawk axe that flies in an arcing fashion.
John Sawyer: This iron-jawed beast uses a .44 Auto Mag; slow but devastating to weaker enemies. He throws a boomerang that finds itself middling in speed and distance.
Mow Man: A droid with a very posh voice and a semi automatic pistol. He throws kunai knives very fast and very far.
In my experience, these characters feel like difficulty settings. Anna Conda feels very newbie-friendly while John Sawyer takes time and practice to get a hang of.
Differences aside, all characters can dash and make great effect of it. If you are close to an enemy, the dash will kick them a good distance, great for keeping tougher enemies away and grouping enemies together for area-of-effect attacks.
By pairing these relatively simple controls and mechanics with unique enemies, weapons, and environments, Huntdown breaks it’s own mold.
The soundtrack and sound design is simply phenomenal. It’s well executed, fully voice-acted, and elevates the setting. The sounds are heavy and punchy, underlined by a killer soundtrack. Like the source materials, Huntdown‘s background music is a action-breathed synth score that you can’t help but vibe to. The composer of this is Tommy Gustafsson — you gotta give credit to the dude who crafted this fantastic soundtrack.
The game is brutal like the games of yester-year. I would admit that I am nothing more than normie to these types of retro games, but boy, you will die a lot in this game. Those simple and snappy controls make learning from past mistakes much more clear.
The health bars at the top of the player icon can disappear in a blink of an eye if you’re not careful with your movement and enemies. Enemy projectiles are also fast, so you’ll need to constantly be monitoring the screen to avoid damage.
Despite being very hard, Huntdown is also quite forgiving when it comes to check points. You go back to a reasonable spot, but your gathered weapons will be gone and you’ll be straight back to the primary pistol that you started with.
Speaking of weapons, you can pick up weapons from enemies with the simple tap of the pickup/swap button. Weapon switching helps conserve ammo for powerful weapons and maximize effectiveness in specific encounters. As mentioned, Huntdown‘s weapons are quite diverse; rifles, plasma machine guns, portable howitzers, katanas, grenades…
An upside and downside is that the game is co-op, but couch co-op only unless you use Steam’s “remote play together” feature. Outside of Steam, if you are person looking for a game like this with online cooperative play, I got bad news for you homie: this ain’t it.
Huntdown is a fantastic retro shoot’em up that has modern sensibilities and controls. It wears its inspirations like a sleeve tattoo and it never apologies for what it is.
My overall experience, from a normie’s perspective, is that Huntdown is hard. You better learn fast and react faster since this game demands your attention. The cons of the game summed up are that certain movements from your characters feels like ice skating and the jump is a bit weak. There is no integrated online play but there is couch cooperative play where you and your buddies can play and chill out.
Overall my experience with this game is net positive and I recommend this for your system of choice (which is basically anything: Xbox One, PS4, Switch, Linux, Mac, PC, iOS).