You can purchase Eliosi’s Hunt on Steam where it launched at £3.99 on 15th August 2017. It is developed by TDZ Games. Follow them on Twitter! TDZ Games provided me with a review key.
This is a challenging, fast paced and dynamic top down static camera shooter / platformer hybrid with beautiful graphics. Very impressive for a small indie studio and very accessibly priced at £4, but it does have some flaws.
We play Eliosi, a diminuitive bounty hunter who needs to prove that he can be just as tough and fierce as the big guns. You move from map to map (5 total) hunting a target (boss) and collecting optional power upgrades.
The controls are basic but easy to pick up and intuitive both with keyboard and mouse, or a controller. Twin stick shooter style, hold down a button to shoot and then you move, jump and dash. You have a main gun and can collect different weapons and useables, but unfortunately they have very limited uses and then they disappear. They are often very situational for the surroundings. If a rocket launcher appears on the map, you have a clue to look out for a breakable wall, for example. If you collect a jetpack, expect some complicated jumps up ahead. I would have preferred being able to permanently add these to my collection and having a proper loadout, but perhaps that would have been too unbalanced.
It’s primarily a top down action shooter; but has quite a few platforming elements. The problem is the controls aren’t quite tight enough for a real platformer, making it hard to move whilst in the air and not as precise as it should be. I felt the shooting was on point though and would have preferred it simply as a shooter.
The graphics are great! Very beautiful, with each level having a distinct environment. I loved the bright colours and the intricate detail. The art aesthetic feels really special and I would have really enjoyed this in a more relaxing setting. Both the visuals of the gun shooting and the sound effects have impact and feel satisfying. The music works very well with the fast paced sci-fi setting and the cutscenes are interesting and detailed – although there is no dialogue. They manage to give you a feel for the game from animation alone, without needing words. Visually this game presents a very attractive package.
You gain health from exploding health objects in the surroundings but at some points you can easily get one shot by the enemy. When you load from a checkpoint, you always load at one health, not full. You really have to pay close attention and are constantly dodging and shooting. Sometimes monsters can ambush you from the terrain and they always have the advantage in numbers. Movement feels pretty solid and if I died during combat, it was usually my fault for not responding quick enough. It felt very challenging for my geriatric hands and I did end up quite frustrated early on, having to repeat entire sections multiple times. I did get better with time, but I’d personally describe this on the higher end of the difficulty scale and for those who like a challenge and don’t mind repeating sections when they die.
There is an interesting ability of being able to use a checkpoint to save – or destroy it to get a move speed bonus. You may need those move speed bonuses to complete the game in the allotted time, but with the amount I died, I couldn’t sacrifice many checkpoints.
A major flaw in my opinion is the static camera angle. It’s top down and there is a lot of environmental interaction – such as triggering doors, activating things, shooting health, jumping from platform to platform and you can’t change the camera angle at all. No rotation. As such, sometimes the environment simply gets in the way and you are blind. At one point I was jumping from leaf to leaf and there was simply no way to see where I was going other than to guess – this is poor level design at work, and leads to a death that is absolutely not my fault. It is a throwback to retro top down shooters; but some things are better left in the past.
I wanted to love this game but ultimately the high difficulty level coupled with the static camera left me feeling frustrated a little too often. If you’ve got mad skills and like a challenge then the difficulty level may well be a plus for you.