Right, adventure time is over (while I type this) – how did Battle Hunters for the Switch go? Aiiight. Last week I was pretty stoked up to play over the weekend, and it didn’t disappoint for almost arcade-like RPG action for a wealth of heroes.
Some wrong ‘un has appeared in the Kingdom, and a lesser Gandalf is in charge of keeping him in check, while your party of heroes head out to support him. The thing is, you’re quite a way off, so have to battle through multiple terrains battling uglies until you can save the day.
On your quest, your team of three will expand to include a motley crew of skilled vagabonds – from melee to ranged, magic to generic. There’s a hero for everyone, and that’s not some corny line – there really is a character here for every persuasion.
Battle Hunters Switch Review
Story-wise, it’s pretty generic – neither good nor bad, just typical shenanigans in a fantasy world. After a brief intro sequence, Battle Hunters set the bar on expectations pretty early on with its lack of voiceovers and instead, text-based dialogue.
It’s no big deal really, but I did find the sound side of things a bit on the weak side. The music was a little forgettable, sound effects a standard affair, and with the grunts here and there, I wasn’t rubbing my thighs in delight at anything memorable.
A shame for first impressions as visuals usually take precedence as you see them before hearing anything significant. Fortunately then, I’m a fan of the character designs and overall aesthetic. The maps in the game, a.k.a. level design, is not much different than any other fantasy RPG, but it looks real pretty.
Characters run flawlessly through the opening forests with grace, and once they dive into battle, these actions are equally fluid and somewhat impressive, without being in-your-face JRPG setpieces. Sure, there’s a little bit of amateur dramatics, but if that weren’t present, I’d be writing a letter of complaint.
It’s A Matter Of Class
When the adventure begins, you take command of the soldier – a decent all-rounder not limited to hand-to-hand combat, but pulling off a pretty decent ranged attack for crowd control. Only you have to charge it up first as it’s part of a cooldown mechanic.
Once you get a grasp of the controls, you’re joined by your resident wizard for powerful magic attacks, followed by a Robin Hood-like archer that utilises rapid, but weak ranged attacks. It’s a good tester for the fundamental classes, but as you progress, you unlock others that fine-tune the basics to offer a dedicated party member.
But there’s no need to get in over your head with complicated mechanics, lore or cleaning your worktop to roll some dice as Battle Hunters is very user-friendly. While it isn’t a casual game or overly arcadey, it’s much more accessible than most and intuitive to drop in and out of play.
Predominantly the game plays in real-time as you control your party directly around the scenes, only you’ll come across visible circles, that once you enter, will be able to enter combat mode. By design, it’s somewhat turn-based, but you can still be attacked if you dawdle.
A Flick Of The Wrist
PC gamers thrive on hotkeys and effortless automation or multi-tasking. The same isn’t as much for console gamers – especially with strategy titles. Fortunately, you can quickly select your party members with the d-pad and take control as you see fit – bear in mind that cooldowns are in place, so you need to act quickly.
The controls do feel a little restrictive, and it doesn’t surprise me that you can pick this up on mobile. Mobile gaming gets snubbed by a lot of gamers, and I understand some of the reasoning behind this, but Battle Hunters – whether a mobile game or not is very well suited on the Switch and more than enough depth to keep you entertained. Just don’t expect a wealth of items and apparel to customise your characters.
That, of course, is countered by the number of characters. While they are fundamentally made up of the three starter classes, they all have unique abilities, and you’ll get your fair share of playing them all. In the later game, some more than others might be on the bench – a bit like Pokémon games.
Unlike the latter, only your active party will level up, so you have to swap them out continually, but it’s part of the design anyway, and you won’t find character over or underpowered. Heroes can die, but they’ll be revived after the battle with next to no health and no XP from the battle, so expect to carry some health replenishments on your person.
Picking A Fight
Battle Hunters, from Phase Two Games, isn’t a quest-like adventure like conventional RPGs – it’s all about having a scrap, so the combat has to be tip-top for this to be a success. The pseudo-turn-based element does work in its favour, but some aspects are a bit questionable.
For starters, you can move your characters with the battle arena, but other than dodging the odd projectile, it mostly wastes time, and I found myself grimacing and just taking the hit. One tactic is getting characters to defend as this reduces damage but also helps while waiting for an ability to fire up. The downside is you can’t attack.
Additionally, the AI is a bit redundant as you have to set commands. If you leave a player, they won’t do anything and will continue to take an axe to the forehead or an arrow to the knee unless you do something about it. Kind of the point of the game, but it would have been nice for them to show some initiative while you get your hands dirty with your favourite players (the Barbarian, anyone?).
Battle Hunters is an enjoyable game, and despite being only three real classes, the number of characters is a highlight, as is the character modelling and animation. While it doesn’t make a game entirely, it would be great if the soundtrack wasn’t so barren and that the sound effects weren’t as limited. In fear of being contradictory; being a minimalist and hating a lot of corny game soundtracks, I do wish they had topped it up a little bit with some more oomph to complement the presentation.