Sawbuck Gamer

Hunt 'Em

The Bigger They Are…

Hunt ’Em makes the Cold War fun again!

By Derrick Sanskrit • October 15, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

One of Dr. Seuss’s most poignant children’s books was also one of his shortest. At a scant 40 pages (including large illustrations), The Butter Battle Book was an easy-reader parable about arms races. It was published at the height of the Cold War, driving home the ever-present concern that—no matter how big or bad a weapon your army may build—the enemy will just make a bigger, badder weapon, going back and forth until your mutual assured destruction. It was a heady concept for a picture book about buttering a piece of toast.

Hunt ’Em tells a similar precautionary tale, hidden behind the guise of Pac-Man. Your scribble creature runs away from the scary scribble wolves until you collect enough requisite power-ups to become bigger and stronger, at which point you chase the wolves. They get bigger, you get bigger, back and forth—until eventually, one of them kills you, and it’s game over. It’s an emotional seesaw that teeters between “maniacal tyrant crushing ants underfoot” and “terrified virgin halfway through a slasher flick.” There’s never any Bitsy Big-Boy Boomaroo to bring the conflict to a standstill, as there is in Seuss’s tale, but at least Hunt ’Em is a heck of a lot more aesthetically pleasing than watching Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev stare each other down.

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499 Responses to “The Bigger They Are…”

  1. WorldCivilizations says:

    Beat it. The Seuss comparison is quite fitting because the aesthetics are reminiscent as well. The mechanics of the game are kinda flawed (the hunters can spawn right on top of you) but it was still a pleasant little game.

  2. ItsTheShadsy says:

    I’m having the damnedest time with this. I like the evolutionary arms race aspects, and it’s fun to see what the new stages of each creature look like, but the Pac Man-style gameplay is enormously difficult. I’ve occasionally had luck running in circles, especially around obstacles, but staying out of harm’s way is so frustrating given that the monsters are always faster than you.

    Was this intentional? It’s a Ludum Dare game so it’s of course gonna lack some mechanical polishing, and I guess you could always say it’s unfair because it’s about evolution, etc., but other games on the same subject haven’t been as unforgiving. People heap on Spore a lot for being too simplistic and easy, but I got the same “lessons” (if you will) out of it as I did from this one.

    Again, I’m probably just piling on where I don’t need to because this was a quick game made for an evolution-themed jam. At least it’s awful purdy.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I didn’t find it difficult, once I figured out how to control the guy; it’s probably less a matter of the game being particularly difficult than it have somewhat somewhat odd controls.

      • oneEvolved says:

        maybe I’m out of touch with modern gamery, but what exactly was odd about the controls? arrow keys. the end. or was there some magic key to jump/vomit/implode that I missed out on?

        for me, the only headscratcher was that Enter-key-to-start bidnitz. once I had that down, I sailed through, and on my third attempt became the feared Lord Rākhnqokh, Turner of Many Beasts into Black Feathers.

  3. How do you get this game to start? The title screen and jangly music came on, but there was nothing that said “play.” I clicked all over the place and randomly mashed my keyboard but to no avail. Woe. 

  4. Dunwatt says:

    I’ll wager the sweat-stained collars of the proletariat that Gorby would own Ronnie in a staring contest.