I’ve loved the Mega Man X series since I was a kid. Even decades later, I still find myself playing them every now and again and they still hold up. 20XX is great and all but I’ve still been holding out hope for an indie studio to make a more traditional spiritual successor. Taking one look at the name Android Hunter A told me all I needed to know and the trailer confirmed it. The classic Capcom series leaves some truly large dash boots to fill, though, so the question stands: is it worth it?
To put it as delicately as I can, Android Hunter A has a level of quality that I’d expect from a small group project made during a short game design course. Attempting to appeal to the fans of a beloved series is one thing, but it won’t be pretty if the quality isn’t there. Mighty no 9 proved this simply by being profoundly mediocre. This game isn’t even close to the level of quality of Mn9. Honesty, it doesn’t even come close to Mega Man X7. Talk about biting off more than you can chew.
Android Hunter A immediately makes a poor first impression with its high resolution, yet bland and garish visuals. The game’s look is heavily generic, with toy-esque character models and cheap cutscenes. There’s a story here but I have no idea what it is. The structure is that of a Mega Man X game. You do an intro stage and are then dumped onto a menu where you have to pick between eight stages with a boss at the end of each. Defeated bosses grant you weapons that other bosses are weak against. What could possibly go wrong?
Everything. Everything could go wrong
Right off the bat, it’s evident that Android Hunter A‘s controls are deficient. In the Mega Man X series, controlling X feels precise and impactful. In comparison, A feels like he glides around weightlessly. There’s a noticeable floatiness to the controls and their responsiveness is also suspect. Every aspect of the movement just feels wrong. A can dash, but only by pressing one of the face buttons, as double tapping a direction doesn’t work. While keyboard inputs can be remapped, controller buttons can’t, so you have to awkwardly tap the equivalent of the Xbox B button whenever you want to dash which is both cumbersome and problematic.
The wall jumping is similarly atrocious. It doesn’t have enough frames of animation and is stilted and horribly wonky. Climbing a wall feels like watching a slideshow and is just as weightless and awkward as the rest of the movement. Worsening matters is the fact that the level design is horribly boring. Most of the levels are long, flat stretches of space with enemies on them. There’s no punch to A’s buster and the enemies look and react as if they’re made of thin plastic. Many of them take far too little damage. Throughout the levels, very little danger is posed to you through enemies or difficult platforming as the more demanding sections were designed to compensate for how imprecise the controls are.
That’s not to say that you won’t die in Android Hunter A. There are one-hit kill hazards strewn throughout the levels, mostly in the form of spikes. But the hit detection on these is suspect, as their hitboxes begin before the spikes themselves. Thankfully, the levels are short and mostly clock in at around four-to-six minutes each. They’re also horribly generic thematically. There’s a slippery ice level. A fire level. A toxic waste level. Then there’s what I can only describe as some kind of weird exotic temple level where scantily-clad blue women dance in the background, including during the boss fight. It’s horribly jarring and feels aesthetically disconnected from the rest of the game. But at least it’s not as generic as the rest!
What’s in a name?
Let’s recap so far. Android Hunter A screws up the movement, level design, visuals, and combat. But what about the bosses? Naturally, what I saw of them was the same quality as the rest. I beat five of the eight main bosses in just one or two tries with nothing but the basic buster attack. They’re simplistically straightforward and some have massive design flaws. One boss couldn’t hit me as long as I stood in a corner. And that corner happened to be the one I entered the room from. I tried using boss weapons on them but they all run out of energy so quickly that I couldn’t even tell if I had the right one.
I initially intended to do a full review of Android Hunter A but had to abandon that due to a photosensitivity issue. The game is mostly perfectly safe for photosensitive players. Save for special plot bosses that show up occasionally. Similar to the Gunvolt games, they have a character portrait accompanied by flashing light effects when using a special attack. But unlike those games, these were absolutely blinding. I couldn’t get past one of these special bosses because I simply couldn’t look at the screen when one of these attacks was used, which meant I’d get hit and take too much damage to be victorious.
That sort of thing honestly pisses me off. Why is giving a special attack flashy screen effects so important that you’d make it so that it’s the only thing keeping certain people from being able to complete your game? Everything else is fine and the regular bosses don’t make use of these, so it seemed wholly unnecessary to me. Then again, not being able to get past this one section did spare me from having to play the rest of Android Hunter A, so there’s a silver lining.
So, is it?
Android Hunter A is not worth buying. It wouldn’t even be worth playing if it were free. It doesn’t come close to successfully imitating what makes the Mega Man X games so good and it fails at everything it attempts. It’s ugly, the controls are awful, the level design is terrible, and the bosses are laughable as are their names and designs. I can’t remember what any of them are called or what they look like and I fought one of them less than an hour ago. There’s no reason to play this game and I highly recommend that everyone stay away from it.