Mist Hunter is a high intensity first person shooter where you battle through waves of enemies with an arsenal of magical weaponry at your disposal. You travel across the universe, fighting the immortal warlock R’axa and his countless minions, all the while trying to rack up the highest score possible through quick kills and skillful aiming. Or at least, that’s the plan for when the game fully releases.
In Need of a Good Polish
At the moment, the playable build over at itch.io is just a very barebones demo of its ‘endless war’ mode, but it shows some real potential, as I discovered when talking to developer Flox Studios. It’s hard to avoid Mist Hunter’s early demo state though, as the first thing you’ll notice when playing Mist Hunter is that it’s sorely lacking some UI polish. Most of the text boxes that you’ll interact with will be broken, with placeholder text of ‘weapon1.description’ or ‘card.jump_first_more_points’ displaying instead. However, these placeholder texts are but a mere scuff on the perfect polish that is the rest of the current build as everything else flows beautifully. A special mention should go to the gameplay mechanics, which work seamlessly together to create a fluid play experience that almost makes you forget about weapon1.description.
The Lowdown on Loadouts
At present, only a single world and loadout of weapons are available, as well as one of three planned modes, ‘endless war’. In this mode your only task is to survive, as well as rack up the highest score possible, as you’re pitted against increasingly powerful waves of enemies. Despite this limited scope, Mist Hunter is still a blast to play and is remarkably engaging. Thanks to the generous jump height and dash ability you’re able to gracefully dance around the combat arena, evading enemy blasts with ease. As you become aware of your surroundings you can dodge all the incoming shots with a well-timed dash and a jump before blasting away your opponent in an amazingly gratifying combat loop which lets you keep on top of your enemies.
The loadout of weapons that you have access to successfully caters to different playstyles while also presenting a challenge in the form of limited ammo, meaning that you can’t stick to just one weapon and you must either switch weapons or throw yourself into the fray to pick up more ammo.
In order to keep the combat varied, there are cards which you obtain when you level up. Flox Studios explained the mechanic by stating that ‘the cards work like items in other rogue-likes, they can drastically change the weapons you use and the character itself. For example, there is a card that gives you a chance to stun an enemy if you jump close to him.’ Thanks to these cards each run is unique, as every time you level up you are given a choice of one of three random cards. The unpredictability of these cards stops your character from being forced into a corner with a pre-set build while also offering a challenge in that you never know what cards will come up next.
Whilst the selection of content is rather weak in the current build, with only four weapons currently available, more weapons and worlds are in the works as Flox Studios confirmed with ‘Yeap, there [is] going to be more worlds (thematically different levels) and weapons’. Whilst they couldn’t share any details specifically about what they had planned, since everything is very much a work in progress, they did say they’ve ‘made the game modular [so], if it does well we can easily add more content and modes.’
Much More to Come
It’s not just weapons that you’ll be able to choose between in the final version of Mist Hunter as also planned are a selection of abilities which are central to the loadout, each of which will further change the way that you play. Whilst there’s only two abilities to choose from at the moment, Flox Studios gave an indication of what more there is to come as they specified that the abilities will ‘either be active (activated by the player, like a Ult in Overwatch) or passive (always activated like a buff).’
It’s not just the score attack of the endless war mode that you can look out for in the final version of Mist Hunter as there’s also two other modes available: Chaser and Maze. In the demo, these two modes are sadly locked off with little description other than flavour to their name. Thankfully, Flox Studios were able to elaborate on what they had planned, saying that ‘Maze is most likely to be similar in its structure to the games like Ziggurat, Immortal Redneck etc. but we want to make levels shorter, faster and hopefully more interesting.’ Flox Studios also added that ‘Chaser is less defined right now. But I see it like a campaign(story) mode, similar to the first Quake, where you have several worlds with a set of levels with a boss at the end.’
Not Just the Pretty Face, but it Has One of Those Too
The captivating gameplay of Mist Hunter is complemented by its striking cell shaded graphics which uses colour brilliantly to create a wonderful atmosphere, as the twilight of the world we have access to sets itself against the gothic architecture to create a cohesive aesthetic. On top of knowing how to set a scene, the developers over at Flox Studios know when to use colour, keeping vibrant neon colours to your weapons and on the enemies, so the look remains consistent and clean.
It’s not just fixated on looking pretty, as every bit of design also serves a purpose. The neon shards that stick out of the enemies don’t only look good, giving the enemies a mutated feel, they also stick out of the background to clearly let you know what you’re meant to be fighting. Throughout all of Mist Hunter the same design philosophy is followed, elements don’t exist on their own as they all serve a dual purpose to create an interwoven cohesive experience which feels fluid and responsive.
If you’re interested in Mist Hunter you can currently play the demo over at Itch.io with a release planned for Steam as a priority according to Flox Studios, however it being too early to promise anything. For now, they’ll ‘keep updating the demo and, maybe, when we have other modes in place will opt out for itch.io refinery program to polish them up’ so keep your eyes peeled there.