A unique AR experience on your 3DS or DSi.
Two long years in the making and Sydneysiders Nnooo have finally released Spirit Hunters Inc., an augmented reality game launched as DSiware for the Nintendo DSI and 3DS. One part Ghostbusters and one part Pokemon, how does this frightfully addictive RPG fare?
As a new recruit of Spirit Hunters Inc., players will be searching for, battling and collecting 96 spirits, all while on the go with their handheld units. There is no need for an epic story or detailed explanations, the thrill of the chase and collecting those dastardly spirits is the sole driving force of Spirit Hunters Inc., and that isn't a bad thing.
Players will choose one of six elements -- Fire, Ice, Shadow, Fungai, Light and Water -- before setting off on their adventure. Each element has strengths and weaknesses, along with different reactions against the other elements, meaning each player will have a unique experience.
This is rather remarkable technology for the Nintendo handheld ... It is a subtle feature, but it goes a long way towards player immersion.
Utilising the outside cameras found on the DSi and 3DS, players will literally spin and move throughout their environment to search for hidden spirits. When coloured smoke fills the screen the player taps and reveals a spirit, which is when the battle unfolds.
This is rather remarkable technology for the Nintendo handheld; when playing in a darker room I found I was finding more Shadow spirits that I normally would, and when playing in a park, Water spirits were appearing constantly. It is a subtle feature, but it goes a long way towards player immersion.
Combat can seem rather basic when first starting out; players mover around their surroundings, tracking the spirit and dealing out punishment by selecting a power and completing the required gesture until the defeat the spirit. The more battles you with, the more currency and XP you unlock to level up and gain access to devastating powers.
The further you progress the quicker you realise that each battle plays out like a deadly dance where some wrong move could cause defeat. The combat is deeply satisfying, providing the user with a number of attacks and options as they learn what works, what doesn't and get a chance to be a little experimental.
Completionists will have a field day with Spirit Hunters Inc., with so many unlocks, abilities and Spirits to grab. Catching one of each Spirit will provide hours of fun as you upgrade your abilities to deal with the intense battles that await.
The game also offers up a neat challenge mode which allows you to test your friends. After the completion of any battle you can save your success and share it with your friends to see if they can beat your score. It’s a fun way to see how your friends are progressing.
There are two versions of Spirit Hunters Inc. available – Light and Shadow. Both play exactly the same, but each features a limited number of exclusive Spirits that can only be found in that version. Much in the same way as Pokemon operates, despite which version you get you will largely have the same experience.
Nnooo has really stepped it up a notch with the art work on display with Spirit Hunters Inc. Each of the Spirits pops out of the screen with personality and charm, bursting with colour and emotions as you fight them to the death.
The Final Verdict
Spirit Hunters Inc. provides a completely new experience on your DSi or 3DS console. Utilising augmented reality gameplay, catching all 96 Spirits and unlocking each skill available is an absolute blast that is addictive from start to finish. Completionists will find more than enough to satisfy their cravings, and more importantly, Spirit Hunters Inc. is a tonne of fun.
By Stephen Heller