Moon Hunters is a procedurally generated game that allows players to roam an ancient world as a potential person of legend. This role-playing game (RPG) allows for up to four players at once and local co-op becomes an experience of weaving myths together as a team. The motivation of the game is to write one’s self into the ancient world in order to be remembered for the actions you take over the short five-day span of play; the goal is to live out a “great” story. The world is built over time as you replay these five days with different characters — building onto their myth or choosing another character to explore.
The game creatively explores story-telling conventions and complexly portrays grand narratives. When you first begin, you are welcomed by a priestess that explains your journey to remember the history of five days in history that changed reality. The game advertises that you can build your own mythology and explore different worlds. As you play through each time, your player’s legend is remembered and so becomes a part of their tribes developing history and heritage.
“Along your journey, your decisions show your personality and create your reputation,” asserts the game designer, Tanya Short. “Donating blood to a dying stranger shows you are Selfless. Flirting shamelessly with everyone demonstrates you are Flirtatious. And so on — we will support over 50 different personality traits in the final game, each of which has its own effect on the world around you.”
Music and art combine for beautiful gameplay. The music is a collaboration between composer Ryan Roth and vocalist Haling Heron, two independent musicians; together, they’ve created an orchestral album with a focus on percussion and ethereal, haunting vocals. As for the art, there is even an art book for the game itself – showcasing the beautiful characterization and style work done by Short’s team.
The characters are diverse and well-rounded: the Witch uses Blood magic (“the element of life and death”); the Spellblade learns the art of Bronze magic (shaping of metals); the Occultist uses Shadow magic (using it to bend the fabric of space and time whenever); the Druid uses Wild magic (primal knowledge from before fairness and language, back to the “laws of instinct”); also a character you can unlock that is essential to plot is an initiated priestess of the Moon, the Songweaver who uses each of the elements together through music (“bring together Wild harmonies, Dark dissonance, and Bronze strength”).
What’s really cool about this game is its accessibility. You can sit and play through one five-day set for 15-30 minutes and then come back days later to build on the story with another set — it does not take grinding for hours to reach other levels, just replaying and exploring new paths in these short sets. It’s a great choice for both casual gamers and hardcore ones, because you can play quickly, but also work your way into a complex world of myth and exploration.
Overall, Moon Hunters is a unique gem. It’s affordable, accessible and works with Steamplay, Mac and PC. The art and music are beautiful, and the exploration of myth and culture makes for a worthwhile adventure.