Paranormal Hunter Early Access Review

Spook yourself and your friends with this supernatural encounter game

Paranormal Hunter Early Access Review
Source: Author.

Since 2020, Paranormal Hunters has been an ongoing and collaborative labor of love being not only developed by EALoGAMES, but by their ever-growing, supportive community as they offer their feedback, potential improvements, and bug reports. The game is still in early access, and there is not yet a firm date of release.

In this first-person co-op online multiplayer horror game, you have been enlisted to help hunt and banish grudges and ghosts. Explore the buildings to find keys, symbols of grudges, and the summoning circles. You and your team will need to find all of the grudge symbols and place them in the summoning circle if you want to escape.

The buildings come with their own stories. You get a vague summary when choosing the map, but as you traverse through it you can find journals that will reveal the whole story to you. The story summaries behind the maps are dark on their own, but as the true, full story is uncovered, it really sets the scene. You start looking at the rooms differently and for some players, it may even add to the chill.

An Experience Meant To Be Shared

Currently, there are two different maps available to play, plus a handy tutorial to give you much-needed guidance on how the game works.

In terms of the actual maps, there is one that is relatively small, possibly small enough for one player to be able to complete on their own, and another that feels absolutely massive and is all-around more difficult. For the first, smaller one you might be able to get away with playing by yourself, but for the second larger one, it’s highly recommended that you play with others. So, I grabbed myself a team.

Screenshot of the game. Two player characters face the camera in a small, dark room, holding various equipment.
Source: Author

Joining into a multiplayer lobby was different from normal; there wasn’t an invite option anywhere. To party up, you first need to have your region set to the same one (which makes sense, and the games that don’t implement this know exactly who they are). Available lobbies will be listed, and you can lock your own lobby with a PIN if you don’t want any randoms joining up.

Once in it, you can see how many items each player is bringing with them but not which items exactly. Everyone gets up to 8 items altogether, and these are divided up between your belt and your suitcase. The suitcase is on the floor at the starting point, and the items put into it are accessible to any party members. This was useful for sharing batteries, revival kits, and meds with everybody.

Between the two available level options, there was a drastic difference in difficulty, and it would be interesting to see if this is amplified at all on the game’s release. For example, in the easier building, the ghost actually moves a lot slower than the one on the other, much larger map. It would be interesting to see ghosts that are more ethereal and difficult to see when a level is meant to be particularly difficult, something more like the grudge you’d see sitting in a chair waiting for you to get just a little bit too close. Some of them are so ethereal they are almost like shadows, making them quite difficult to see unless you’re actually looking for them.

Screenshot of the game. In an abandoned bunkroom, a demonic summoning circle is scrawled on the floor in blood.
Source: Author

Graphics and Appearance

For being made by a small team, Paranormal Hunter actually looks great. The level designs have that nice indie-horror feel to them, the assets were well-crafted to suit their environments, and the ghosts and grudges had an interesting appeal to them. As I mentioned earlier, it would be cool to see the ghosts in a more ethereal form, or even flickering in and out of view here and there to add to their effect.  

The summoning circle had this really cool red glow that looks like it came straight out of a horror movie and made it a clear x marking the spot to put all of your summon-reversal (cursed) artifacts. It wasn’t something you could misinterpret.

The 4k for this game was very nice to look at, but it was interesting to see that there was no 2560 x 1440 resolution option, something that's become rather common. The options available were 3840 x 2160, 1920 x 1080, and 1280 x 720.

I, unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to try the VR version of this game, but I have no doubs in my mind that it would be neat, and likely add a lot to the horror value of the game as a whole.

Screenshot of the game. A decrepid doll sits on a stool in a dark corner.
Source: Author


The tutorial is very straightforward (pun intended; if you know, you know) and makes the object of the game very clear. I recommend completing it before trying out the game. I know there are people quick to scoff at a tutorial because they’re determined to figure it out themselves, but, trust me.

Just… just trust me. You’ll thank me later.

The game goes over the controls, what things look like, and how you’re supposed to play. You learn what items you’re looking for, how using a key works, and how to actually banish a ghost or a grudge. The controls distinguish both individual hands, cycling through items in each one, or using an item you’re holding in one hand or the other. For example, if you’re holding your flashlight in your left hand, and a med in your right, there is a different control to toggle each item.

Default key bindings are ‘Z’ and ‘C’ to cycle through items in your belt for the respective hand, and ‘Q’ and ‘E’ is to toggle the use of the item in the respective hand. It might sound weird here, but you'll get it if you try it. It might just take some getting used to. Also, be sure to right-click once in a while so you can take the time to search for whatever you threw in a panic, especially if it’s your flashlight with the ghost getting right up in your business.

One unfortunate thing though for those of us that like to move quickly is… alas, there is no control to run. You’ve got one speed, and that’s walking like nothing is chasing you.

Screenshot of the game. A spectral figure runs toward the player in a dark storage room.
Source: Author

There’s a sound that chimes when a ghost rears its head, but you have no idea where it appears. For all you know, it could have popped up right behind you. You’ll want to be especially vigilant on the hospital map, as the ghost seems to move quicker and there are tons of corners for it to come whipping around. Only the UV light will temporarily banish it, and the UV setting on your flashlight will not work if the battery dies. If the battery dies, and you don’t have a spare on your belt, you’re going to have to depend on your teammates to banish it until you can grab a new battery (if there are any in your suitcase, at least). If your teammates are across the map, or you decided you were big and bad enough to tackle the job alone, you’re going to have to run away from the ghosts and hope that you can find a battery or complete the ritual because as soon as a ghost grabs you, you’re down.

It seemed that the longer the game went on, the more anxious everybody got in a way that made the game scary without it actually being scary. We found ourselves retracing our steps, or we’d be getting chased down much more frequently. Often, we’d forget to keep an eye on our sanity levels which would have us fainting and useless to the team. If you faint you can be revived with a medical kit, but, if you don’t have one of these kits, you are right out of luck. This was also the case if a ghost did happen to get a hold of you; you were downed immediately.

When you hear beeping, your sanity is running low and you’ll need to take some form of action to bring it back up, whether that’s taking some meds, or lighting a candle.

Source: IGN.

One thing we noticed was that upon the start of the game, before any ghosts come popping out and before you’ve done much of anything yet, your sanity starts to drop. On the larger map, this almost felt a little unbalanced because it felt like we were having to watch the sanity more than we could look for necessary items to progress. We thought perhaps, if the sanity only dropped when the ghosts are out, or you’re close to a grudge or even the sacrificial circle of doom, that may make things feel a little more balanced for the bigger levels.

It should be noted that if you fail your mission, any items you bought with you, whether on your belt or in your suitcase, are gone for good except for your flashlight. Especially when you’re first being introduced to the game or trying to do something with a smaller-than-needed team (like a party of one, you try-hard), this can get expensive, as you’ll need to buy up items a few times over without many credits to start with.

There is also room for replayability, as each time you start up the game the circle and key items are in different places. From what I could tell as well when using the larger map, it seemed that each time I tried it, different hallways were blocked off with junk and debris. Maybe that latter part was my imagination, I don’t know, but that too seemed like a nice touch if it was the case.

Screenshot of the game. The player is alone in a dark tiled hallway with nothing but a flashlight illuminating it.
Source: Author


Paranormal Hunter is still in Early Access, and as such will likely go through changes and different fixes depending on the feedback the developer receives. It was sometimes difficult to walk through a doorway because you might get caught, or you might get temporarily stuck on an object here and there, or maybe sometimes another player walking around keeps randomly looking like they were kicking the air every time they took a step.

These things happen, but it’s still a work in progress. Judging by the things others have said about this game, it’s already gone through quite a few updates and changes. I expect great things to be done here, and I look forward to the finished game’s release.

Paranormal Hunter is available on PC with Steam


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