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Cyberpunk 2077 getting you down? Craving a smaller and more manageable "cyberpunk" game that captures the gritty future aesthetic without any of the controversy? Come this way, my friend. I'd like to show you a little title called Huntdown.
Released back in May this year (which was roughly eight years ago in 2020 time), Easy Trigger Games' Huntdown is a truly excellent arcade-style shooter in the vein of Contra. Set in the near(ish) future, players take on the role of one of several hardcore bounty hunters, tasked with taking to the streets and mowing down the hyper-violent criminals that have turned the city in a No Man's Land of death and destruction.
Huntdown wears its 16-bit run n' gun influences on its sleeve, using the extra oomph afforded by modern consoles to turn up the detail and, more importantly, the gore. Bullets, explosions, and limbs fly around the screen with wild abandon as your savage bounty hunter tears through immaculately designed levels with a cold determination.
Each level is framed around the singular pursuit of a certain contract, which means you'll be going head-to-head with the bosses and lieutenants of the various gangs, their twisted personalities and surprising weaponry often making for a refreshing - and challenging - change of pace from the standard goons you deal with.
While the gameplay is very much in the style of Contra and Metal Slug, the overall tone feels much closer to the cult PS2 hit The Warriors, especially in the way larger-than-life gang members wearing terrifying outfits and wielding ridiculously massive weapons leap out of alleys screaming obscenities at you. Enemies pour out of every nook and cranny, the screen often becoming an almost overwhelming mess of carnage. But there's a satisfying crunch to the combat. Whether you're slicing heads off with a katana or merrily burning foes to a crisp with the flamethrower, variety is the spice of life. Or in the case of Huntdown, the spice of grisly death.
Huntdown might not be the most original game you'll play this year, but by the time you rip and tear your way through the wretched dystopia's five main zones, you'll be glad you made the effort. In a year where everything has been kind of crappy (or a lot crappy), Easy Trigger Games has provided a lovingly made, yet beautifully mindless few hours of brutal escapism and extreme violence. Choose your fighter and start blasting.
Featured Image Credit: Easy Trigger Games
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