Hunter Gatherer on PC
One of the greatest things about modern gaming is the sheer number and variety of games available due to a wide-open market for independent developers. Created by two brothers, aged 13 and 17, Hunter Gatherer is a simple yet addicting quick-play survival game. Players must scramble for resources at a near-constant pace, all while staying aware of hunger levels or impending nightfall requiring the building of a fire to ride out the dangers of the dark. This fast-paced, bare-bones adventure may not be perfect, but is it fun?
Hunter Gatherer puts players in an interesting role that, as far as I can tell, is the servant of a forest spirit. Each play begins at a central fire, where the forest spirit is standing to issue out orders. This becomes the easy ‘safe spot’ if you’re having little luck finding supplies. Survival – and the first mission the forest spirit sends you on – relies on three basic items. Berries will stave off hunger, sticks are used to build fires and traps, and flints round out the fire-making needs. During the day, it’s easy to find supplies and easily-avoided enemies. At night, demons rule the dark, and any time spent outside of a fire’s ring of protection means near-instant death. Luckily, with the necessary goods in hand, protection is available at the push of a button.
When the demons aren’t out, Hunter Gatherer is still a bit dangerous. Tree trolls and fire-spitting salamanders roam the forest in their respective areas. The trolls walk freely throughout, while the salamanders are largely confined to an ominous bright-red blight on the landscape that warns you that they’re near. For the most part, these enemies are easy to outwit and escape from, but if enough pile on, they’re still lethal; a single touch is all it takes to end your life, and your game. Traps can be constructed to kill enemies, but luring them in while being mindful of approaching danger on the other side can get tricky. Adding to the danger, in a way, are occasional glitches that make movement difficult when turning several times in a row.
What Hunter Gatherer is missing, really, is content. There’s not an awful lot to do, but it can take a while to get the hang of accomplishing it. While some things seem to end up being pure luck, once you’ve memorized the list of what the forest spirit will ask you for, you can do it all in one manic run. Players will have to endure at least one night, as killing a demon with a trap is required to progress past a certain point. Many of my early attempts were quickly cut short, but I was compelled to keep trying again because, as simple as it was, it was fun. Taking into consideration the $1.99 price on Steam, it’s not difficult to say I feel it’s worth a look despite the simple gameplay and imperfect mechanics.