Check out our review of Huntdown’s brand new Arcade mode…
Find out if this addition to last year’s indie sensation, as well as its long awaited port to PC, lives up to expectations.
Hey how’s it going guys, and welcome to our review of the new ‘Arcade’ mode for indie smash hit Huntdown, now available to download on Steam. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know before you play, but before I do, make sure to subscribe for more videos on games new and old every single week. You’re not going to want to miss it.
If you haven’t heard of Huntdown yet, you’re missing out. Heavily inspired by the likes of Contra and Metal Slug, as well as hyper violent 80s flicks like The Warriors and Escape From New York, it sees you mow down waves of enemies in side-scrolling, arcade shooter action.
With gorgeously saturated pixel art settings, as well as tight, satisfying action, it got a lot of people excited, but with only a campaign mode on offer, it perhaps lacked the replayability that fans had been clambering for. Developers Easy Trigger look to rectify this with a brand new arcade mode, launching the same day as the game’s long awaited PC port.
Now this review will mainly only cover the new features and my experience with the PC port. I won’t be talking too much about the campaign or the wider narrative, but it’s definitely worth looking these up afterwards.
But what does this ‘Arcade’ mode entail? Does Huntdown translate to PC gameplay? Will I die more times than I’m proud to admit? Watch on to find out…
Firstly, ‘Arcade’ mode is a completely separate experience to the existing story campaign, in which you traverse through increasingly challenging courses, coming up against waves of unique enemies. Like the campaign, each zone has a distinct aesthetic and enemy gang to encounter, including street punks, ninjas and hockey goons. The three horsemen of the ‘80s schlock apocalypse.
You’ll gain points by defeating your foes in the most impressive ways possible. Multi-kills, weapon swap bonuses and other ultra-violent exploits will see you wrack up a high score in no time, and you’ll be able to share your score on a global leaderboard for true bragging rights.
Not only does this harken back to the glory days of arcade shooters, but your exploits are also semi-narrated by an over-the-top, action voiceover man. This helps to add to the bombastic tone of the game, and it’s just nice to have your own hype man amping you up in the more difficult moments!
So that’s what ‘Arcade’ mode is, but how does it play? Well, for the most part, remarkably well. It carries over the same frenetic action of the story mode, but with a heightened sense of challenge. Each of the four zones gets progressively more difficult, but even the supposedly easy stage shouldn’t be taken lightly.
In fact, when you select ‘Arcade’ mode, a screen flashes up suggesting you complete story mode first, in order to acclimate yourself with the gameplay.
Now full disclosure, I’d not played Huntdown before receiving this review copy, so I was one of the foolhardy who ignored the warning and jumped into ‘Arcade’ mode blind, and to be honest, I died. A lot. And unlike the story campaign, when you run out of lives, you’re given a gameover screen and will have to start from the beginning again. But as with anything in life, after a few failed attempts I managed to get the hang of it and before long I was blasting my way through levels in a gleeful power fantasy.
What was a real pleasant surprise is that there’s plenty of viable ways you can approach the gameplay. You can be methodical, ducking and covering your way through, or you can force your way through like a one man army. Providing you’ve got the appropriate weaponry, both techniques can work, and experimenting with both extremes is really fun.
And for any other newbies like me, I’d definitely recommend starting with John Sawyer as your character of choice. Although you can pick the equally badass Anna Conda and Mow Man, ‘John Boy’s’ pistol has the oomph needed to help you find your feet in those early stages.
While I’m disclosing facts that expose me as a fake gamer, I have to admit I love the fact Huntdown let me play with the directional arrows instead of a mouse. I’m much more of a console gamer, so only having to navigate the keyboard made it much more conducive to a scrub like me.
What’s more, while the game is undeniably challenging, the checkpoints are well spaced out, meaning you’re challenged without the frustration of having to tackle the same areas over and over again.
But if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably end up playing ‘Arcade’ mode over and over again. Gunning for those high scores can get super addictive, and while there’s probably only an hour of two of new content, we’re given near infinite replayability.
I know I said I’d mainly be covering the new mode, but I have to mention the outstanding art style and darkwave soundtrack. Although the HD display and 60fps means it could never run on hardware from the time, it evokes such a sense of nostalgia and reverence of ‘80s sci-fi, I had a giddy smile on my face the whole time. Think the likes of Kung Fury, just not so try hard.
Overall, Huntdown’s ‘Arcade’ mode is a chunk of hugely enjoyable, dumb fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but definitely means business when it comes to addictive gameplay and its squee-inducing aesthetic. It’s the perfect game for dipping into every now and then, whether as a palette cleanser between longer titles, or just a adrenaline-fuelled way to kill 15 minutes.
But the real question is – have you had a chance to play it yet? Are you looking forward to checking it out? Please let me know in the comments below, I would genuinely love to read your thoughts. And while you’re there don’t forget to subscribe for more videos and games new and old every single week. My name is Tom, we’ve been UDS and I’ll see you next time.