HunterX by publisher Orange Popcorn, not to be confused with HunterXHunter, let’s you play as a young teenage girl named Tsuki who wields a katana and hunts demons and monsters.
I was provided with a free digital Nintendo Switch code for HunterX for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.
As a demon-hunter, Tsuki also has a demonic guide that briefly appears during certain parts of the game named Marka. As Tsuki hunts her prey she dives further into the world of hunting while also gaining new abilities and items to help her along the journey.
As intriguing as the premise sounds, this action-adventure platform feels quite off and best suited as a mobile game rather than an actual title for the Nintendo Switch. On the first boot-up of the game, I was confused that there was zero introduction to the world that Tsuki inhabits. I felt like I was placed into a fictional scenario with no explanation of… anything really. It just made things feel awkward. Don’t get me wrong, being a katana-wielding uwu school-girl protagonist is always fun in a video game. But at least give me a sense of the character’s thoughts, personality, or backstory as to why I’m even here.
As for the gameplay, there are minor puzzles. While navigating a map of the area, featuring multiple dungeons, it tasks you with killing enemies, locating locked doors to make shortcuts and traversing easier, or arranging statues in a certain order to progress. But it all just felt more of a chore than an exciting exploration.
Tsuki begins with several basic abilities: a dodge, a sword slash, jumping, and parrying. These are her “bread and butter” skills which the game will very quickly ask of you to utilize efficiently as you go further.
As you collect purple essence strewn along the entire map of the game, called, “Karma” you develop her skills and abilities such as damaging enemies when you dash, increasing damage after successfully parrying, and also giving her a powerful slashing move to make quick work of her foes.
The skills tree grows bigger and bigger as you defeat powerful enemies. You also can adjust her stats akin to roleplaying titles as she has points you can choose to place in areas like damage, stamina, and vitality. And while it felt nice to get stronger on paper, in practice I feel as though those skills didn’t really amount to anything as the enemies also grew stronger and more difficult to face as you progress in-game. While facing enemies, I never really felt the boost in damage or that my survivability improved. The skill tree’s improvements always felt minimal and nothing game-changing, which was disappointing.
The music was not memorable either. The maps stick to one or two songs and just loop in a repetitive fashion, doing the game no favors. I found the visuals to be average. The enemy design was lackluster. However, the boss design was pretty cool, especially the Fire breathing demon. Fighting that demon and the Priestess Battle was definitely the best this game had to offer.
Another annoyance I had was the save and level-up statues that rise from the ground at certain parts of the game. Nothing felt more frustrating than losing to a boss battle over and over, only to respawn frustratingly quite far, location-wise, to the Boss fight. Especially when having to fight or avoid enemies so as not to reach the boss at less than full health. It all just felt so frustrating that this forced me to have to put the game down and do something else because I couldn’t be bothered to retrace my steps three or four or even more times without taking a break.
Coming back to the story, it’s barely there. At some point when you’ve filled ten to fifteen skills, collected multiple potions and empowering accessories for Tsuki you start to question why you still have no answers to really anything involving the narrative.
Why are we traversing portals? Where are we being brought to? What is my demon familiar’s purpose? Where are the rest of the demon hunters?
It was at this point that I started to just see HunterX as something better suited as a single-player side-scrolling mobile game where you just turn off your brain and swing your sword without needing a deeper narrative.
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend HunterX as a must-have title for your Nintendo Switch even if you’ve completed your long backlog list of games. Despite the interesting premise, the title is unable to properly satisfy players interested in the demon-hunter gaming niche.
Author: Micah Carrillo
Micah is studying English and Digital Design. His love of geek culture spans across diverse mediums and genres. Comics, anime, films, you name it! He enjoys video games on the Nintendo Switch and Xbox.
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