Noticing how feeble we are as Humans in relation to, say, ten-story-tall dragons, or skinless Titans, is kinda back in vogue. As is the art of taking down said monstrosities, and scoring one for the little guys. Sony’s own recently-re-released Shadow of the Colossus is the crème de la crème of an interactive David versus Goliath, and plenty of king-sized homages to the game have already been made in Minecraft-ian boxes. As for a fight, Giant Hunter ($1.00) turns that blocky prospect into reality.
‘Hunting’ at night; cool, but not advised.
Though you have to mine materials in order to craft weapons and tools, it’s not a chore or the game’s focus. To damage a giant, you need a crossbow made of wood, and explosive arrows. Using the ‘village’ as your home base and safe zone (some rather annoying bandits roam the countryside at night), you can dig and find all the necessary components in under a half hour. After you’ve crafted enough items to sustain you, you’re ready to set off and look for your first giant. Following the ‘lighted’ beacons on the tops of surrounding hills will lead you to them.
Much like the terror you felt the first time seeing a colossus come into view, your first encounter with a Giant is pretty awe-inspiring. Suitably epic, for blocks, that is. Shaking your screen, roaring its disapproval, and smashing the landscape with each move (do watch your step; the craters left behind can trap you), the giants can make for a tough and intimidating fight. You won’t be scaling these beasts, however, just shooting some very noticeable weak points. While their ‘skin’ is otherwise impenetrable, you’ll see each giant has orange blocks over certain areas of its body, signaling where to hit it with your explosive arrows.
Sounds easy enough, but given the ‘shifting’ nature of the giants as they walk, your target areas are constantly in flux. Some strategy is required. You will have to circle around enemies to gain perspective and sometimes retreat after hitting them, given the giants’ penchant for chasing you down and stomping you into dust. Giant Hunter‘s continue system is forgiving, respawning you at the site of your death, though you will lose your equipped item. Once you’ve felled a giant, you must ‘mine’ their heartstone and place it on the altar back at the village. Doing so allows you to upgrade your characters’ attack, speed, or mining prowess.
The game does support online co-op up to four, although hunting with friends may lessen the experience and challenge. It’s best to move onto that after finishing the game solo. After you’ve taken down the five different giants, you’re left on your own to craft or build (the game uses limited block styles) as you like. A tad anti-climatic after the battles you’ve seen, but at least it’s something to do for any budding world-builders.
What Giant Hunter does best, though, is faithfully recreate the thrill of a fight with an enemy several times larger than you. With the mining / crafting of your arsenal beforehand, and the buildup to each encounter, it’s a welcome hybrid of two game’s styles that completely succeeds in its mission.