Witch Hunt is an indie game developed by Andrii Vintsevych in 2018. The game is basically a horror-themed hunting simulator. Despite being a relatively simple game, it's quite atmospheric and effective, truly capable of making the player feel uneasy.
You control a witch hunter on his quest of destroying the forces of evil threatening the town of Bellville. But the catch is, you're not some godlike badass who annihilates demons by the hundreds effortlessly. You're an ordinary man armed with a musket, a flintlock pistol and a large amount of silver bullets. The challenge is that both weapons can only hold a single bullet at a time, and reloading the weapons takes a while. As a matter of fact, if your first shot doesn't kill whatever's attacking you, it's recommended to draw the other gun and hopefully kill the enemy this time, instead of trying to reload the first gun during the fight. You do have a saber to defend yourself at close range, but using it isn't exactly a good idea, as every enemy needs only a few hits to kill you. Worst case scenario is being attacked by several enemies at once. You regenerate health, but extremely slowly, and searching for a healing plant is always risky. Gunshots can also attract nearby enemies, though this can sometimes be useful for flushing the creatures out. Crouching makes you slightly less visible and makes it easier to hit smaller enemies, such as crawlers and undead dogs.
You're not limited only to guns. You can also plant silver crucifixes to the ground. Once it has charged, any undead foolish enough to come close will be struck by a bolt of divine lightning. Watcher totems temporarily point to the current direction of the main monster. At the town, you can purchase not only more silver bullets, but some upgrades and abilities as well. You also have some magical abilities, such as the ability to briefly see through the eyes of your current main target. Problem is, mana is consumed not only by abilities, but also by saving at checkpoints. And mana can only be replenished in two ways: from slain undead or by sacrificing half of your health at sacrificial stones. Also, in the beginning, the only way to gain gold is by collecting the variety of valuable items scattered around the forest. As such, it's best to buy the bounty hunter's license as soon as possible to make collecting gold easier.
Atmosphere is definitely one of the strongest points of the game. You're moving through spooky woods with leafless trees, and the whole place is very dark. Also, there's no music, only ambient sounds. The undead creatures infesting the forest aren't overtly numerous, but they can spawn absolutely anywhere, so you'll never know for sure when you're going to get attacked. Not to mention it often feels that the undead spawn behind you or to your sides. Which means you have to turn, take aim and shoot the creature dead before it reaches you. There are also two special enemies: whisperers and deadblinds. Whisperers are shadowlike ghosts and the only enemies you have no way of harming. Should you hear whispering voices, turn around or change your direction immediately, for there's no escape if it spots you. Deadblinds look like small fire elementals. They're troublesome, as you slowly take damage from merely looking at them, so if you want to kill one, you have to approach it while keeping your eyes off until it's time to shoot. And until you've acquired the map and the compass, the danger of getting lost is real, with your silver bullets dwindling with every hostile encounter.
The main objective of the game is to hunt down and kill a number of specific monsters, such as a werewolf, a sacrificial tree brought to life and the titular witch. These monsters effectively serve as the bosses of the game. While most of the basic undead enemies can be downed with a single, well-aimed shot, the target monsters always require far more bullets to kill. The bosses behave differently, for example the werewolf attacks you upon spotting you, but flees if you manage to shoot him, whereas the sacrificial tree avoids direct contact at first, but will fight back and even chase you for long distances, should you provoke him. You can sense the presence of these monsters with your heartbeat, which increases whenever you're within a 500 meter distance of the monster. What makes the game tedious is that the target monsters regularly move around the map from place to place, so you'll have to be prepared to spend time tracking them down. Minor spoiler: Once the first boss is dead, the witch will appear to the game. However, until the second boss is dead, she's nearly invisible and completely invulnerable. Even worse, she kills you with a single hit and actively hunts you throughout the entire map. With this in mind, I advice taking your time and purchasing as many upgrades as possible before focusing on the primary targets. Oh, and run if you hear her singing.
Witch Hunt is a simple but effective game. The atmosphere makes you afraid of every rustle in the bushes or every time you hear an owl hooting. And it's pretty challenging as well – it's safe to say you will in all probability die at least a few times. And you'll really have to be patient and ready to spend some time in order to hunt down and slay the main targets of the game, like a real hunter. Because of that, the game might be somewhat unsuitable for people with little time. But it's a proper experience for anyone willing to go through it all.
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