Hands On: Spirit Hunters Inc.

Die hard the hunter

It's hard to believe that it's been almost three years since we first saw Spirit Hunters Inc. in its earliest incarnation. But rest assured, that development time has gone into turning the idea into a rather diverse and playable augmented reality experience.

When you first begin playing Spirit Hunters Inc., the game seems fairly simple and straightforward. It's only after you've put in a few hours that you realize that there's actually a lot more to the game than at first glance.

After creating a profile for your license, you'll be able to jump into the thick of things by pulling up the Scanner. This allows you to see an augmented reality version of your surroundings which will in turn be used to track down wayward spirits. Once you see the spectral trail of the spook you can quickly touch it on-screen which will initiate a battle. Battles start out simple with basically just one attack, but it won't be long and you'll be able to purchase more intricate and effective attacks to make use of. The guys at Nnooo even did a little re-balancing act to give the game a better flow early on and allow players a chance to level up and acquire new attacks faster.

Attacking is as simple as touching the attack you wish to use and then touching the spirit that will be moving around onscreen. Early spirits feature smaller movements, but you'll soon find yourself going after more challenging spirits that will not only move around a lot, but also attack in a far more aggressive manner. This places a greater emphasis on purchasing more intense attacks, as they're the only way to take down some of the more difficult spirits in the game.

As you defeat spirits, they will be added to your catalogue. You can then pull this section up at any time to see which spirits you've collected and which ones you still need to track down. You'll also earn Badges as you meet certain criteria in the game in what basically amounts to an interesting achievement system.

As an added bonus, the game also lets you create player challenges that can be extended to other Spirit Hunter Inc. players across the globe. These can be traded around and provide a great way to level up, not to mention capture some of the peskier spirits floating around.

Spirit Hunters Inc. is a very meaty game once you get into the experience and given the sheer number of spirits available for catching, you're going to have to put in some serious time if you hope to ensnare them all. Toss in the game's countless number of player challenges and you should have plenty of augmented reality goodness to keep you busy. We'll give you the full low-down on the game when it hits the DSiWare service in November.