Wild Hearts: Game Review

Wild Hearts: Game Review

Wild Hearts seems to be a shameless clone of Monster Hunter from the very first minutes. The character clumsily runs through the jungle, grabs colorful herbs along the way, rides along the slopes, kills small animals with a couple of blows and collects materials from them. Then he meets the first huge monster, which cannot stand in one place for more than two seconds, and tries to stab him with his miserable katana. The game is easy to confuse with “monhan”, but over time, Wild Hearts acquires unique features, thanks to which it ceases to be an ordinary clone of the popular series. Also an interesting fact is that the famous Australian country singer Keith Urban has a song with the same name.

Hunting season in Wild Hearts

At the same time, the main idea does not change until the end of the passage – as in the source of inspiration (yes, there will be many comparisons!), the player must hunt huge monsters and collect resources in order to create new items of equipment from them. If in Monster Hunter the creatures are original, then here they are based on real animals that have absorbed the forces of nature. A huge rat with a flower on its head, a bull with mushrooms on its back, a deer with bamboo horns – they look both unusual and creepy.

Some of the monster’s habits are similar to those we saw in Monster Hunter – a huge fyumpik crow, for example, grabs a character with its claws and poisons it, much like a ratalos. However, of course, there are no direct copies – all monsters are interesting and dangerous in their own way. Someone likes to spin up and fly towards the character, someone strikes with their tail or abruptly starts to move sideways, someone floods with fiery projectiles – the creatures are very nimble, constantly alternate signature moves and are not ready to die quickly.

Wild Hearts hunting season

Opponents do not have health bars, but they are not needed – as in Monster Hunter, in appearance you can understand that the monster is about to die. The scales or plumage thin out, the creature begins to limp, and you may even be able to cut off the tail – a favorite pastime of monhan players. When the monster has about half health left, it can become enraged, and for a while its abilities will change – it will become even faster and begin to use more devastating moves. The mixing of fauna and flora at such moments is especially emphasized – monsters are overgrown with trees, call roots from underground, and in many other ways try to complicate the hunter’s task.

Wild Hearts: both the swiss and the reaper

The main character is also not a bastard. In addition to the main weapon (more on that later), he has a unique ability – he creates objects called karakuri from celestial threads. At first, he only makes boxes and trampolines – both are useful both in exploring the world and in battles. And as you progress, the character learns to combine these and other basic karakuri to create more advanced mechanisms. We put six boxes in two columns – we created a wall. They placed a trampoline, on it – a torch, and on top – another trampoline, and you get a bomb that will detonate after a few seconds.

I immediately want to draw parallels with Fortnite, where battles in the standard mode begin with the installation of walls, but here you won’t have to learn this art for years. A dozen combinations are not thrown at the player – they are neatly spread throughout the story, and therefore it is not difficult to remember them. Even Monster Hunter veterans who are not used to such gameplay will actively use the entire arsenal.

The walls are good against creatures that like to accelerate – when you see a monster digging the ground with its paw, you immediately begin to arrange boxes, and then you see the monster’s carcass flying away. Targets hovering above the ground are well knocked down by fireworks, which can also be crafted on the fly. And if someone is standing or lying still, you create a huge sledgehammer that automatically hits the ground and immediately breaks. Torches are added to the basic karakuri, which set fire to your weapons, and gliders – with their help, you can fly over the abysses, as well as soar above the monsters and fall on them from above.

The celestial threads needed to create all these things are not endless – their supply is quickly depleted. But it’s very easy to make up for it. First, threads drop from monsters if their weak points are attacked. Secondly, objects are scattered around the locations, upon destruction of which you get a lot of threads, and there are usually several of them next to the opponents.

Wild Hearts hunt the fumebeak

But the most reliable source is the tsukumo, a ball-shaped robot that serves as a Palico replacement from Monster Hunter. Dozens of his relatives are hidden in all regions, the search for which allows you to improve the characteristics of the tsukumo and make it more useful: it will constantly generate threads, create a healing field, and attack the target. When the character is stunned or put to sleep, the robot immediately begins to attract the attention of the monster so that the player is not knocked out with one blow. This is not a charming cat that you pick up funny armor from a blacksmith, but also a very valuable assistant.

Over time, you think less and less about the number of available threads – there are always enough of them in stock, and you don’t need to build everything in a row. The more often you fight with certain monsters, the better you know which karakuri are especially strong against them and when. One of the most effective techniques remains the simplest – to place a box next to the monster, jump on it, push off and hit, thus causing significantly more damage. The rest of the combinations are remembered quickly, you press the right buttons in a second, so you never stop enjoying this element of the gameplay. And then you go to the Karakuri leveling menu and see a lot of improvements there that make the game even more comfortable.

You need to build not only in battles. Each region in Wild Hearts is a large location where small and large monsters scurry about. When you first enter a new area, there is one tent and a fire, but this is only the beginning – later the player will be able to place more and more mechanisms. Towers that scan the area and show nearby monsters. Cables that allow you to travel long distances and quickly reach heights. Additional tents to which you can quickly teleport. Decorative objects, a wheel for movement, a mirror for changing appearance, cages for placing small creatures in them – there are dozens of such karakuri here. It reminds me a bit of Death Stranding, only you don’t need to carry suitcases with you.

All buildings in Wild Hearts remain in place throughout the game – even the boxes that you placed in the open field during the battle with the monster will be lying on the ground when you return. This makes each region a kind of sandbox where you can customize everything to your taste – place scanners far from each other, place food dryers in convenient places (they improve the bonuses that you get when you eat food), set up a mock-up of a small animal to test weapons and learn punch combinations. You can’t build everything right away (you need to collect resources and hand them over to the places marked on the map), but this does not become a problem.

You can put whatever you want, wherever you want.

Small zoo

All this is necessary in order to most quickly find targets and effectively eliminate them. Unfortunately, Wild Hearts can’t offer the same massive bestiary as Monster Hunter. There are 21 large monsters in total, and among these creatures, not all of them are original – some are alternative (“recolored”) versions of the creatures that you will meet in the first chapters. Against the backdrop of some Monster Hunter Rise, which started with fifty monsters, the game looks losing. But there is good news – updates with new opponents will be released every month.

From the materials collected from the dead creatures, you create new sets of armor. Just like in Capcom games – the further you go through the game, the more unusual and beautiful armor you can craft. However, if in Monster Hunter they give bonuses for wearing the entire set, then here the system is different – you can modify items of equipment by choosing one of two paths – a person and a monster. The first path, as explained in the game, is suitable for those who want to learn about human technology and is aimed at strengthening protection. The second one is for those who want to “better understand monsters”, and expands the possibilities associated with the attack. It makes no sense to spray – some bonuses are available only to those who adhere to one path.

Wild Hearts forge armor

Weapons are created in the forge from resources and materials in the same way. After receiving the starting katana and completing several missions, you unlock new types of weapons, of which there are eight in total. Not much, but they are very different from each other. As a lover of the greatsword in monhan, the first thing I did was to make an analogue of it – and I was not disappointed. Yes, it does not dig into the carcasses of monsters so juicy when hit, but it is no less pleasant to use it.

And this is not the most unusual type of weapon. When you get to the second chapter, you open a portable cannon that resembles an energy machine. To use it effectively, you need to place several bases in the arena to restore the charge and monitor overheating, as well as be relatively close to the monster in order to deal normal damage to it. I foolishly took this gun for the first time against a monster that summons small helpers. It was a rather difficult test – until I found out that the gun could also fire a laser beam.

Wild Hearts laser beam gun

There is also a bow with two types of arrows – first you fire one at the monster, and then you blow them up with the other. Vagasa’s Paper Umbrella is the only weapon that can parry attacks. With blades, you can cling to a monster and hang in the air, combining attacks and spinning around your axis. There are a lot of cool tricks here, specific to each type of weapon; there are those that can only be activated in conjunction with karakuri. And, of course, just like in Monster Hunter, there are huge upgrade branches for each type of weapon – you can’t do without grinding to get the best equipment.

As soon as you interact with the bear mockup, the game starts teaching techniques related to the weapon worn by the character.

Until this paragraph, I have never mentioned the plot, because there is nothing to mention here – the hero saves the village from mutated animals, the inhabitants celebrate every victory, help him, and so on. History is needed here solely in order to somehow explain what is happening. You start to skip dialogues very quickly – either they tell you how cool you are and how welcome you are, or they start pushing patriotic speeches about your village. However, in such games, the plot is in last place.

What really disappointed me was the Xbox Series S version. I ran Hogwarts Legacy and Atomic Heart on the console this month, and both looked decent. Here, from the very first frames, the player is shown “soapy” moss on a tree, and then you see the same low-quality textures more and more often. It doesn’t hurt much to have fun, but you have to fantasize about how great the game could look with normal graphics and a more stable frame rate. Apparently, there are problems not only on consoles – on the PC, the game generally hardly starts.

Wild Hearts beautiful moments
There are beautiful moments even with such graphics.


In general, Wild Hearts was a success, especially if you consider it as the start of a new series. Of course, sometimes she tries too hard to be like Monster Hunter, especially in terms of monsters. And the number of monsters is not as large as we would like. But the main thing is that the project did not become an outright clone of “monhan” – it is rather an attempt to bring fresh ideas into an established template and offer its own vision. Perhaps after Wild Hearts it will be difficult for me to play the next Monster Hunter without karakuri – something like returning to the World without Rise rod bugs.

Pros: gameplay similar to Monster Hunter in many ways will appeal to fans of the series; original ideas like the construction of auxiliary mechanisms; beautiful and unusual monsters; the ability to improve the assistant robot encourages you to explore locations; a variety of weapons that are equally fun to use.

Cons: passing plot; not enough monsters, even if you take into account alternative versions (the number of monsters will increase with updates); the Xbox Series S version looks terrible, and it doesn’t get much better on other platforms either.