Sir, You Are Being Hunted ReviewMay 9, 2014
Big Robot Ltd’s Sir, You Are Being Hunted is a “freedom sandbox stealth experience”, set in the English Moors where the player is stalked by patrols of tweed-clad robots. The game has been gradually built up over its lifespan in Steam’s Early Access program with features like new enemy types, alongside bug fixes and improvements (the latest patch introduced music). Having played the various incarnations along the way, I feel that it has really matured into a fully functional and enjoyable gaming experience.
Despite the whimsical nature of robots in tweed suits, the horror element in Sir, You Are Being Hunted is very real. The objective is to scour a five-island archipelago for the shards of a machine and return them all to a group of standing stones in order to escape. You begin on the central island and can only save your game at the standing stones (think Stonehenge) at the center of the island, or the four bots that take you to the adjacent islands. The shards come in different sizes, and one must manage a grid based inventory (like in the Resident Evil games) to hold shards, food and items.
The player must collect food in order to survive – without food your vitality meter drops. When the meter is at or below 50% you will no longer regenerate health, and when it drops to zero you will die. It adds a sense of urgency to the gameplay, as you’re forced to rifle through sheds and towns for items, while being stalked by patrols of hunters the majority of the time. The deafening crack of a hunter’s gun quickly strikes fear into your heart as your scurry off into the woods or search for some tall grass to hide in. The learning curve can be a little steep, but once the player learns to juke the attention of hunters with alarm clocks and empty bottles, the difficulty wanes a bit; though initially it can feel like you are playing Limbo as you die repeatedly. The graphics are nothing glamorous even when maxed out, but the environment sets a tone and for being randomly generated (with the company’s “British Countryside Generator”) it often looks quite natural.
Sir, You Are Being Hunted released on May 1st, with the hope of a few additional features (like multiplayer) on the way. The game’s aesthetic might not suit everyone, but the combination of whimsical robots and bone chilling horror (when you encounter the Landowner or get caught by the alarm of a Hot Air Balloon you will know what I mean) is a very enjoyable one that make the game easily worth the admittance cost of $19.99. Frugal gamers may want to wait until the inevitable holiday sale or midweek madness, but this game is worth a look.