If you love Metroidvanias, run-ins with strange monsters, and cats, then Hunter's Legacy: Purrfect Edition might just be the game for you. Set in the Kingdom of Iripur, you will play as Ikki the cat, a cunning huntress running through 2D stages that increase in difficulty and change terrain frequently. What starts as a quick exploration in the forest quickly turns into an expansive story and world that is dead-set on stopping you every step of the way.
Hunter's Legacy: Purrfect Edition starts with Ikki exploring a forest filled with slimy slugs and evil wasps that attack as you move forward on the varying levels. Soon after starting the game, you reach Iripur Town where you meet different characters to help assist you with your abilities and weapons. You also discover a key traveling mechanic in Iripur Town: teleporters. These handy tools seem to always be right around the corner when you need them while traveling through new areas. It was always helpful to be able to hop on a teleporter back to town or even to other locations around the map.
The simplicity of weapons is a great feature of Hunter's Legacy: Purrfect Edition. In addition to a basic melee move, Ikki finds different magical arrows and learns a variety of abilities for battling enemies and interacting with the worlds. As is typical with Metroidvanias, you will often encounter world puzzles that cannot be solved without the use of these special abilities. Each type of world puzzle fits nicely in its level and tends to make sense, at least when they rely on newly-gained weapons or abilities.
It is not uncommon to come across other types of world puzzles that can, at times, become frustrating or tedious. One example would be cannons that shoot either bombs or spore bubbles depending on their color. In the Willow Forest there are a couple key puzzles to solve that involve using and moving these cannons in a specific order that, when done even slightly different than intended, can cause Ikki to die instantly. This can be frustrating to understand but as the developer Lienzo states, there is absolutely no hand holding in this game.
Combat feels natural in every instance and allows for some fun and interesting fights with the various enemies that spawn. Each area presents a mix of entirely new types of enemies as well as variations to what you have fought in the past. There always seems to be a balance of both kinds of enemies and there never seems to be too many or too little of them in each location. The boss fights always feel well-balanced as well and, after you take some time to learn what the fight is suggesting you do, they are cleared relatively easy.
It’s worth noting that these boss levels often integrate mechanics from the rest of the level as well to create interesting scenarios and methods of attack. In the fight against the Goliath Treehopper Menla, you must utilize the bubble shooting spore cannons to reach the weak spots on the boss. This integration of puzzle solving in the boss fights makes them more challenging and, in turn, more memorable.
Now let’s talk about art, because one thing that drew me to Hunter's Legacy: Purrfect Edition was the fun, hand-drawn art style. Each NPC and environment has a specific charm about it thanks to this art style. It feels as if the art is a mix between the current popular indie art styles and the classic games this Metroidvania got its gameplay from. Art also plays a big role in puzzle solving, as there is never an instruction or sign saying, “This plant is dangerous,” or “This creature won’t harm you.” All of the cues for what to avoid or what is safe are told through the art of this game in a way that allows the player to need no second thought.
Story definitely plays an important role in this game. There are bits of lore integrated in a way that is both subtle and intriguing. In addition to small scenes where Ikki and NPCs interact to cover the main story arc, there are many different cultural statues placed throughout the levels. These statues give information about the world before the evil ruler Morodir began taking over. These interactions with the statues are short and sweet but help give more context to both the overall story and the areas you are exploring.
Overall, Hunter's Legacy: Purrfect Edtion was a fun experience that I could play for bite-sized chunks or long periods of time with equal enjoyment. The unique puzzles, wonderful art style, fun combat and interesting story will keep you playing for hours on end. There's also the option to go back for the recently added New Game Plus.
While I did not previously play Hunter's Legacy, this edition feels well-fleshed out. Ikki is such a fun cat to play as that you will certainly be wanting to uncover all of the secret of Iripur in this ferociously fun feline game.
Michelle reviewed Hunter's Legacy: Purrfect Edition on the Nintendo Switch using a code provided by the developer.