In a game that takes the beat ‘em up route with a game style that is similar to hack ‘n’ slash, you would think that there would be a lot of promise to an entertaining and challenging adventure. Unfortunately, it seems that Layopi Games have brought the concept together and just failed to execute it into Devil’s Hunt in a way that made me want to keep going. In fact, I felt like I couldn’t wait to reach the end just to be done with the game. Let’s dive into what went wrong.
Here is where they had things going pretty well. You play as Desmond, a boxer in the big leagues and a name to hold. After losing a fight, you come home to find your fiance in bed with your best friend and in your chase to get revenge, you drive off a bridge. This death sends you to hell where you then make a deal with Death and Lucifer to work for them as an executioner. Constantly referred to as the Savior and Destroyer, you make your way through your missions before finally crossing paths with angels which leads you down a road of rebellion and abandonment from your newfound responsibilities. What actions are you willing to take in order to stand on your own and not be a puppet in the never-ending battle between heaven and hell?
I do have to say though, there were a few lines that didn’t make any sense. Sometimes it seemed like Desmond didn’t know what mission he was really doing because there would be times where he would threaten to kill someone he is supposed to be extracting or simply referencing something that doesn’t fit.
It really seemed like these developers know what is supposed to go into games like these, but have no idea how to properly execute them. Let’s start with the main part of the game, the action. Desmond has a base combo move set that includes both light and heavy punches. The heavy punches are so slow and don’t do as much damage as the much faster and heavier hitting light punch combo, so there is literally no point in using this unless in a combo you unlock later. This combo will be the repetitive spam that you will use throughout the game with and without the other abilities that you unlock.
They also included the skill trees idea and let you choose from three different styles that unlock as you progress through the game. The Executioner tree is stronger for typical fights against bandits, demons, and so on, but the Unholy tree is best used against angels. Lucky for us, we are able to purchase and sell back these skills at any time so once you have enough souls to purchase one full tree, you can just sell back all of those skills and buy the other tree to swap as needed. You can only fight with one skill tree equipped at a time, so this is just a matter of who you are fighting.
As for the abilities that these skill trees provide, they are pretty basic with a variety of range attacks, lunge attacks, and stat increasers. Due to only being able to use one tree at a time, you can’t have the benefits of a bigger health bar from the Unholy tree while using the bigger fury bar ability options from the Executioner tree. I don’t know why the stats part of the trees were limited based on which one you were using to fight, but that is what they decided should be your limitation. Another issue with these abilities is the sheer trash that the most expensive options were. For Unholy you can summon a “creature” to fight with you, but really it’s just a silly orb fountain that does next to no damage against your enemy. This was the TOP SKILL of the tree… which I, of course, choose to go with the spear and throwing knives instead.
Truth be told, even with the abilities unlocked you will stick to one set of skills because they are the only ones worth it. As Executioner, you have the wave for ranged damage, thrusting punch for quick movement and heavy hits, and then the sticky bomb for the up-close plant-and-run. As Unholy, you have the self-heal, throwing knives, and throwing spear. Mix that with your spam light hit combo, which now has a total of five hits instead of three and a three-hit combo with the heavy hitter version thanks to your upgrades, and you have what you will fight with the entire game. It is crazy repetitive and takes no skill at all, at least until you reach a boss.
Boss fights seemed to be the only fun I had with this game. Here you had to learn their moves, find your openings to attack, be able to dodge incoming attacks and put some actual thought into the game. Taking a break from the constant left-clicking of the mouse, this is where strategy comes in. However, even these fights felt like they lasted longer than they should have. The health meters for these guys was pretty huge, but there aren’t any phases to them so the moves you see at the start of the fight will be the same used when they are near death. Don’t expect any tricks to be pulled because all the bosses are one-trick ponies.
Graphics and Sounds
The visual experience in this game is rather well done - for the cutscenes, which there are a lot of. When it comes to the actual gameplay moments, they took the cheap road and gave you bare minimal to provide the experience. This includes electricity looking like Microsoft paint lines flashing to make different patterns, blurry fire, and just enough texturing to pull off the atmosphere. Not to mention repetitive enemy designs, cheap jump scares (that are highly ineffective might I add), and the same character models reused everywhere.
I would say they got the sound effects and music done well though. The battle music wasn’t bad and gave the intensity that the gameplay lacked while all the different sounds you would expect to hear were all there.
If you want to go around and find all the secrets or destroy all of Lucifer’s mirrors, then yes. Otherwise, you will just be going through the same spam city all over again.
What Could Be Better
The combat was very lazily put together. It felt like they threw the idea of what needs to be added to the game into a pile one day and then just mashed it out the next. The variety is slim, the abilities are not as great as they could be, and simply don’t give off the feeling that I am a hellspawn executioner, aside from actually turning into the demon fury form - which is temporary.
So many cutscenes and so little game time in between theme. Unless you have a crazy intricate story that needs to have the plot filled in, there is no reason to have me do two things and give me another three-minute cutscene. There were times it felt more like a movie game than an action game, especially through the first hour and a half of the game.
Visually the game just looked lazy. You could see in the cutscenes that there was some care put into how everything looked, but that same energy was not reflected in the game around the player. Just bare minimal assets to be seen everywhere.
Devil’s Hunt is a game that showed great promise but failed to deliver. The story was a little interesting but awkwardly progressed, the gameplay was all there but without flavor, and the heart was there for the cutscenes but lacked everywhere else. I had hopes that this was going to be an enjoyable challenge that I hated to have to end, but instead, I was so glad when it was finally over that I uninstalled immediately. It just goes to show that just because you know what should be in a game doesn’t mean you know how to properly apply it to a game.