Star Wars: Hunters Is A Fun New Shooter Trapped On Switch And Phones

Image: Lucasfilm / Zynga
Image: Lucasfilm / Zynga

A new Star Wars game launched yesterday and it’s pretty fun. Odds are, however, that you didn’t know that a new Star Wars game launched yesterday because Star Wars: Hunters—an Overwatch-like F2P shooter—is only available on mobile devices and the Nintendo Switch. That’s a shame, because Hunters is a fun (if a bit simple and messy) Star Wars shooter that I bet a lot of people would enjoy.

First announced during a Nintendo Direct back in 2021, Star Wars: Hunters was planned to launch later that same year. It didn’t. Three years and a few beta tests later, Hunters is finally out. The game has a familiar structure to anyone who has played an online hero shooter in the last few years. Two teams made up of five characters each battle against each other in different modes across various maps. If you’ve played Valorant, Team Fortress 2, or Overwatch a lot of this will feel similar. However, Hunters isn’t as complex as those games—and it also features a robot Jedi and two Jawas in a trenchcoat.

Because Hunters was, seemingly, developed as a mobile game first, the maps aren’t super big, characters don’t have a ton of mobility, and their kits—their abilities and weapons—aren’t terribly complex. In other words: It’s very much an easy-to-pick-up-and-play shooter. Hunters also works reasonably well with touchscreen controls but plays much better with a controller, which is how I’ve been playing.

While Hunters might not have the complexity of some modern shooters, it still offers a lot of action and fun. You can hop around maps, use ziplines and grappling hooks, and clamber up ledges to get away from (or ambush) enemies. Matches are fast, too, taking at most a few minutes. This makes it a great mobile game, as you can squeeze a match in while waiting for the dentist or whatever. It’s also nice if your team sucks as defeat will come swiftly and you won’t have to linger in a losing match for long.

As you might expect, Hunters is especially fun if you are a Star Wars fan. Being a big Wookiee that can take a ton of damage while charging into players, grabbing them, and then crushing them into a wall is very cool. Likewise, other characters, like the Stormtrooper and his large minigun and the former rebel with a DL-44 blaster aka Han’s favorite weapon will make most Star Wars fans smile. I know it made me happy to blast fools with a bounty hunter’s wrist rocket!

The microtransactions in Hunters

Of course, as this is a Zynga-published free-to-play game released on mobile devices (as well as Switch), you might rightfully be worried about how microtransactions work in Hunters. In my experience with the game so far, it’s about on-par with Fortnite: it features paid and free battlepasses, cosmetics that you can buy in the store with real money, and no timers or energy bars that limit how often you can play. My only real quibble—beyond ads popping up on the main menu for bundles it wants to sell me—is how you have to unlock all the characters in the game either by playing matches or buying them.

After a long night of playing Hunters, I had unlocked just five of the 12 characters in the game, including one I got for free right away just for completing the tutorial. So, thankfully, it seems like the grind to get them all won’t take too long. But the fact that you can just buy a character right away does feel a bit icky to me. On the flip side, there’s a mode in the game that lets you randomly play as any character in Hunters, which is both fun and a nice way to see all the game has to offer.

One last negative to share about Hunters is that playing on the Switch is not great! The game is locked to 30FPS and struggles to stick to that limit during big fights, which makes large team brawls—some of the best moments in Hunters—a slog. It also looks blurry, too. Meanwhile, on my Pixel 7 and 2022 iPad, I could play with settings nearly maxed out and at 60FPS with no real issue. I even plugged my iPad into my TV and played it there using an Xbox controller. Playing Hunters like this made me sad that this fun, free, Star Wars shooter is trapped on Switch and mobile devices.

Star Wars: Hunters isn’t going to be a shooter that Valorant or Call of Duty pros will likely want to play for long as its combat and maps lack the depth and complexity of those games. And you’ll especially hate Hunters if you can’t stand free-to-play games and all their random pop-ups trying to sell you cosmetics. Oh, and you’ll need to own a Switch or a decent phone to play it.

But if you can get past all that, which I understand many won’t be able to, Hunters is a solid team-based Star Wars shooter with distinct heroes and action-packed matches that will hopefully arrive on more platforms one day.


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