Treasure Hunter Man 2
Treasure Hunter Man 2 is a metroidvania by Origami Hero that sees a concerned mother looking for her missing son. She’ll leap above and beyond familial duty by exploring a mysterious island, finding ability granting items, removing an ancient curse and slaying monsters. Oh and it’s pretty good to boot.
Treasure Hunter Man 2 follows pretty much directly from its prequel (the aptly named Treasure Hunter Man). I managed to miss the first game (as such currently playing it now) in which you play a young boy off to explore a mysterious island for treasure. Based on the premise of the followup, however, something went wrong somewhere as the boy apparently never returned from the island. Now, you fill the shoes of his concerned mother, who has headed to the island to find the eponymous treasure hunter man (boy) and give the tumultuous irresponsible youth a darn good piece of her mind. Of course your focus soon shifts once you arrive and notice the far too many lifelike statutes and ruined buildings, and realise something’s not quite right on the island.
Treasure Hunter Man 2 is a good old fashioned metroidvania style platformer, which means you’ll be exploring the island, uncovering equipment and relics to help you reach previously inaccessible places, all while continuing the search for your missing son. The speed new abilities come by is well-paced, as is the overall progression of the game – most areas are relatively short, meaning you’ll always be close to seeing something new. While you may not be a powerful half-vampire carrying two dozen swords at any given time, you are a decently well-equipped treasure hunting mum with some decently useful gear. The boomerang is handy for ranged attacks, but also hitting far away switches (tip: hold up+attack to throw it at an upward angle). Your trusty shield is even more important, it can block projectiles, be used as a pretty safe way to headstomp enemies, and can protect you from spike pits in a pinnch. It is also needed for some mildly fiddly ‘slope surfing’ later on. Luckily there’s also a fast-travel mechanic in the form of a teleport orb, which makes moving around the island much much easier. And then there’s the wedding ring… which, uh.. reminds you what hard work and commitment is for.
If Treasure Hunter Man reflected your early teenage years on the SNES, then the sequel seems like it takes place during your more edgy Playstation era. Comparatively speaking, while the first game took on a slightly more colourful and simplistc feel (though still full of challenges and secrets), the sequel seems to reflect its older protagonist by taking on an appropriately more dark and mature feel. Rather than your health being measured by zelda-esque hearts as in the first game, you now have a straightup HP measure to keep track off, and can see exactly how much damage you inflict and receive. The game world overall looks much darker and feels more ominous, and for the most part is slightly harder. Overall, it feels like a solid maturation on the first game and no doubt suggests some growth in the developer’s capabilities between games; I’m certainly looking forward to future efforts by Origami Hero.
There are a few metroidvanias floating around these days, each taking the formula to varying levels or angles. However quite a few utilise the ‘get new abilities to explore previously blocked areas’ right but can still be effectively linear experiences, with it being clear that you are meant to ‘come back’ later and invariably tackle things in a certain laid out order. Treasure Hunter Man 2 is a relatively small world, compared to say the sprawling ecosystems of Super Metroid, but it does provides a bit of exploratory freedom, without really restricting your entrance to the various areas. It may be a bit of an illusion but manages to give its world a much more natural feel as a result.
Of course its not all glittering gold; and there is at least one aspect in its design that may frustrate some players. Normally, falling down gaps will simply cost some health and return you to the start of the screen. However, one particular area filled with floating platforms takes place on higher ground. Meaning, as such, that falling through any of the gaps will send you back to the area below – sometimes stretching as far back as the starting area of the game. Re-trekking your way back up can get pretty tired pretty fast, and in the end I found it faster to just kill myself so that I could reload to the last checkpoint instead. There also seems to be a bug when using the gamepad, which causes my character to occasionally jump and attack at the same time. Since the game is more about careful exploration rather than precision or speed, this hasn’t caused any ragequit-inducing deaths, thankfully, but remains an annoyance.
Overall Treasure Hunter Man 2 is a solid step up from its prequel and a fine effort from creator Origami Hero. Mastering your abilities feels challenging and satisfying, the world is full of character and the story is intriguingly foreboding. And at $free, it’s pretty hard to find a reason not to play.
Treasure Hunter Man 2