Have you ever looked at a game and just instinctively known what to expect from it? I feel like the overall art style perspective and UI of Battle Hunters ($4.99) is a great example. Fledgling developer Phase Two Games has served up a pretty bulky RPG for its sophomore offering. For their first game of the genre, they have nailed the look and feel of a true hack and slash adventure. What it may lack in some expected frills and systems, it makes up for in overall game play excitement and a wide selection of characters to play.
Battle Hunters is a squad based RPG where you command a team of 3 adventurers plunging their way headlong into dungeons, caves, forests and swamps all in an attempt to stop and evil being from taking over the land. Yes a trope this old really doesn’t deserve to be pulled out of retirement but I don’t think we’ll ever stand over its grave and say what a great trope it was. No, in keeping with about 90% of the RPGs out there, you have a bad dude that needs to be killed deader than dead. Luckily many of the characters you can play as have clever designs that allow them to specialize in unique ways. When one of your characters gets low on health there is really no need to wait around or use healing items. Swapping another person into your team will let an injured teammate sit on the side lines and slowly heal. This means the more teammates you collect, the more healing your team can passively dole out.
The balance between the different characters you can play as seems a little lopsided. For instance, some characters have healing abilities that massively increase their survivability with no downside to compensate. Other characters have interesting auto attack effects, or large area affect spells, and some can even summon minions or have high defensive stats. Eventually I settled on keeping any character around that had a healing ability and then others that had minion summoning or high defense. The overall strategy remains the same though regardless of your team. Play keep away from the enemy or hit the defend button until your abilities are ready to be used, and keep your non-melee characters moving around to kite enemies as much as possible.
If you love Battleheart ($3.99) but get frustrated with the reaction time needed to micromanage your team, Battle Hunters provides a very suitable replacement. Just a cursory glance at the user interface of Battle Hunters shows why it draws a comparison to the iOS classic, Battleheart. There are, however, some pretty big differences that warrant a deeper look. While Battle Hunters has a slightly more interesting story line layout and more characters to play as, it completely lacks an inventory for equipable items. It has a more strategic approach to combat since you can pause the action to issue orders to your team, but that complexity is watered down by the lack of items to equip them with.
Battery consumption seems like it may also be an issue. At the time of this review, I’ve found that after each two hours of play I have to retreat to a charging cord to replenish my iPhone 8+’s battery. Load times are a little on the slow side, but not horrible. Ultimately the technical performance of the app could use some improvements but it is stable enough to pass muster. It may be a good idea to look for reviews from your specific device if you have concerns.
What I would ultimately like to see from Battle Hunters is a slightly lighter running app that has meaningful loot or a reason to gather the gold you collect in game. As it is, we have a dungeon delving game without any loot. It just doesn’t make sense to me. If they end up adding a little bit of content I would say it’s a really good game that has the potential to be great if they were to also expand the story line and start to mix in some dynamic story telling aspects, maybe even have some sense of choice or non-linear exploration. As it is, I really have fun in the combat portion of this game. It is a LOT of fun, it just needs more substance to back up the hack and slash. What we have in Battle Hunters is a great frame work for a full fledged gaming experience, but at $5.99 some may expect more.