Eliosi's Hunt Review

Difficulty in video games is always a tough thing to discuss. Where is the line drawn between genuine difficulty and questionable game design? How much does opinion have to do with it? At what point can it be generally agreed upon what is or isn’t good in a purposefully-difficult game? Whatever the answer to all of this is, you’re going to die in TDZ Games’ top-down shooter Eliosi’s Hunt. A lot. And there’s going to be a whole lot of mediocrity along the way.

You play as the titular character Eliosi - a young wannabe bounty hunter who is looked down upon by other hunters due to the weakness and small stature of his race, the Zelicyan. Armed with a laser pistol and accompanied by a flying drone, you travel through five levels with multiple paths to take, each of which ends with a boss fight against one of your bounties.

This game combines shooting and platforming elements, neither of which are necessarily bad, but they’re not very good either. The issue with platforming is that it can be hard to judge where exactly you’re going to land. Depth perception is a bit off, and Eliosi himself is rather weighty. You have to do a lot of platforming, and often times it can feel more like a chore than challenging fun. On top of this, it can be inconsistent where exactly you can or cannot go. Sometimes you can fall a nice distance to get on a walkable path, but other times falling a seemingly shorter distance will result in a death.

The shooting aspect is serviceable, but nothing to write home about. You can hold down the shoot button to fire off a steady stream of pistol fire, or you can mash the button to fire more rapidly at the expense of general accuracy. As you hit enemies and pieces of the environment, your drone will pick up bits of much-needed health for Eliosi. Often times, you’ll be able to pick up another weapon, such as a rapid-fire rifle or a flamethrower, but these things will drain their ammo just about as quickly as you picked them up. There’s simply not much opportunity for experimentation.

There’s also a freshly unique checkpoint system. Eliosi is not very fast, and when you reach a checkpoint, you can either activate it as a spawn point in case you die, or you can destroy it to gain a speed boost. Personally, I stuck with just activating every single one. The speed boosts are nice, but since Eliosi can die so quickly, it was preferable to have activated checkpoints nearby.

The checkpoints do offset the game’s difficulty somewhat. They’re quite frequent, and there’s only a couple seconds between when you die and when you respawn. However, there is a bizarre inconsistency with checkpoints. Sometimes there will be two super close to each other, and other times you’re forced to do clunky platforming and lengthy combat sequences back-to-back, and dying will force you to do it all again.

Whenever you complete a level, you have the opportunity to level up Eliosi’s abilities. You’ll gain skill points depending on how well you did, including how many secrets you were able to find throughout the level. This really encourages exploration, especially with how paths branch out so often. You can improve weapon damage, dashing ability, rate of fire, and more. It’s a short game overall, so there’s a nice bit of replay value to be had as a result.

Eliosi’s Hunt is also a very pretty game. The graphics are clean and polished, and the cutscenes have a nice amount of charm to them. There’s no dialogue, but the animations and facial expressions do a great job at conveying the emotions various characters are feeling. The different worlds you visit also manage to stick out from one another, managing to be colorful while having a dark, gritty appearance to them. You’ll visit swamps, deserts, factories, and more.

However, as nice as the game looks, it can sometimes be difficult to navigate these levels due to how much everything blends together. It can be infuriatingly easy to get stuck on some piece of environment (or a dead enemy), which can be especially annoying in the middle of a firefight. This game isn’t easy to begin with, so to have to deal with the risk of stopping in your tracks just because you could barely see something in your way… well… it can lead to some frustrating moments, to say the least.

Eliosi’s Hunt is only $5. At such a cheap price, it’s worth picking up if you’re a hardcore fan of top-down shooters, you’re into speedrunning, or you just want a difficult game to play. But between mediocre shooting, mediocre platforming, and occasionally frustrating level design, there are certainly better options out there.

Hi, I'm James. I like to play video games and then scream at people's faces about them. I started getting into gaming around the PS1 and N64 days, and I've been addicted ever since.