Game: The Hunter’s Journals – Vile Philosophy
Platform: PC, Android
Genre: interactive fiction
Style: light influences
Verdict: Mixed
Buy: Steam | Google Play
Lovecraft Video Games received a copy of The Hunter’s Journals – Pale Harbour to review through the Steam Curator program.

The Hunter’s Journals – Vile Philosophy is a lot like its predecessor, Pale Harbour. Once again, you play a hunter, this time sent to investigate the beast stalking the city of Harrow’s Gate, with the warning that five hunters already tried and disappeared.

Gameplay is nearly identical, with the same choose your own adventure aesthetic, choice-driven gameplay, and dice-based combat system. The combination of luck and your skill stat determines whether you win or lose each round of combat, and this time there are occasional unique situations that break away from the typical pattern of dealing 2 damage on each turn.

As for the choices, the branching feels much better this time around. Vile Philosophy still has certain ideal decisions that will help you in your quest or lead to the best ending, but it’s much less reliant on following that optimal path.

There are still choices that can lead straight to death, but I felt I could explore alternate paths and still reach the ending as long as I was careful. It also implements a few interesting twists on its gameplay, such as a maze that feels confusing at first but starts to make sense as you pay attention to each path.

On the other hand, Vile Philosophy has much less of a Lovecraftian influence.

It’s definitely a horror story, this time with an emphasis on rather gruesome body horror, and it’s filled with macabre descriptions of the monstrosities you face, but it just doesn’t feel very Lovecraftian.

Overall, The Hunter’s Journals – Vile Philosophy is the more enjoyable of the two, with a twisted story and enjoyable branching paths, so I’d recommended it without reservation if you’re looking for a couple hours of a horror adventure – just know it’s not the best choice if you’re really hoping for more cosmic horror.

Buy: Steam | Google Play