Fear & Hunger Review
Fear & Hunger is a combination of survival horror and RPG dungeon crawler which pits your misfortuned adventurer against the nightmarish depths of the titular Fear and Hunger dungeons. It’s a difficult game in which your “hero” will perish easily and with sometimes little warning, though each time you return you will have a better idea of how to survive. As you progress, you may come across additional party members to assist you in battle, but they may just as quickly take the opportunity to ditch you, taking some of your items along with them.
The majority of the game has you exploring the shadowed halls of the dungeon, hoping that the next room will have the item you desperately need to make it just a little further. Enemy encounters can be avoided as all enemies are visible on screen (though some may lunge out of the darkness) and the turn-based combat you do face is paced fast enough that it doesn’t hurt the pacing. As you move through Fear and Hunger, you will begin to collect a nice handful of ailments, such as Bleeding, Poison, or Infection. Combine this with your dwindling limbs and growing hunger and it quickly becomes obvious that the game cares little for your safety.
Fear & Hunger is a very interesting game that delights in its horror and relishes the opportunity to share it with you. I would recommend it to anyone interested in Horror JRPGS, because for some reason they are pretty scarce. At $10 on Itch.io I would say the time spent in the dungeons is well worth the investment.
Purchase Fear & Hunger
+ Cool character setup. After you choose from one of four classes, you are given your character’s backstory. As it’s unveiled to you, you get to make decisions which impact your starting items, equipment, skills, etc. My first character decided to eat his crewmates after they were stranded and starving on a ship. This granted him the Devour ability, which let him consume enemies after defeating them to reduce his hunger.
+ Interesting combat involving the severing of limbs. One of the first enemies I fought cleaved off one of my arms, causing me to drop the shield it was holding. In turn, I severed its “stinger” (which looked suspiciously like a large, grotesque penis), causing it to lose one of it’s attack options.
+ Oppressive and stressful mood that reminds me of choose your own adventure stories. While in the process of wandering the dungeon, my first character stepped on a rusty nail, which caused bleeding and gave him an infection of some sort. Turning to my inventory showed me that I had a Bone Saw, which allowed me to cut off one of his limbs. Would he be better off with one less infected foot? In the end it didn’t matter much as one of my next decisions would be to jump into a poop hole, which had the direct effect of my being stuck in said hole, slowly bleeding and starving to death.
+ Shows, but doesn’t tell. What does that Blue Herb do? How about that Worm Juice? Do you want to explore the pile of corpses? Are you sure? Most of your knowledge in the game will come from experimentation and trial and error, which is very fun and refreshing.
+ Excellent artwork. The character and monster illustrations and dungeon are realized in a grim, painterly looking style with a muted gray palette. It’s evocative and captures the despair of the world very well.
– The music leaves a lot to be desired. While it may initially set the mood, it quickly becomes dry and uninteresting.
– The ability to save should be more consistent, not completely random. Saving is only an option when you use a specific item, which is randomly found and consumed upon use. In roughly two hours of playtime, I only found it once.
Randomized loot with handcrafted levels. While the dungeon and monster placement (as far as I can tell) is by design, what you find from corpses, chests, barrels, etc. is randomized.
Luck you can mitigate slightly. The way some chances are determined is by a coin flip, where you choose heads or tails. If you get it right, you can find an item, avoid an attack, etc. As you search the dungeon, you can find a Lucky Coin, which you can spend to flip two coins for each of these chances, increasing your odds of calling a face correctly. It’s up to you when you spend your Lucky Coins.