Carrion meets Castlevania in Necrofugitive—a 2D stealth-action game where your enemies can set traps and learn from your slaughter

 Demon monster going hulk on a bunch of medieval soldier types.
Demon monster going hulk on a bunch of medieval soldier types.

I'm always here for some hack'n'slash action—and that's exactly what Necrofugitive promises to offer. Developed by Black Garden Studios, the game centres around a runaway monster hounded by mediaeval knights after a brutal witch hunt. It's just dropped another gameplay trailer as part of Realms Deep.

The basic premise is this: you're The Prisoner, you have gory shapeshifting powers, and the whole kingdom—plus a few bounty hunters—wants you super dead. The trailer shown above promises a hack 'n' slash time through the Kingdom of Avencia, though it's not all combos and evisceration.

As per the game's website, Necrofugitive features a reactive AI system with enemies keen on actually hunting you down, rather than just being cannon fodder for your big boney claws. "Necrofugitive is focused on replicating the feeling of being hunted and on the run … enemies are numerous and completely ruthless, will search the level for you and will relentlessly chase you down if you are sighted."

To help you stay out of sight, you've got a handful of special abilities: a fleshy grappling hook, acrobatic jumps, and the ability to take on the appearance of your victims—just like Phobia Game Studio's reverse-horror game Carrion. Alternatively, you could just turn into something called the "Slaughter Demon," though it's not a rip and tear-out-of-jail free card.

"AI has the ability to platform just as well as a player can, and they can chase the prisoner across entire stages." I can imagine Necrofugitive is gonna punish sloppy play similar to how Grand Theft Auto punishes you for banking a hard left into the sidewalk—with a thousand boys in blue trying to mow you down. If my sketchy record with stealth games is any indication, though, I'm gonna be going loud pretty often.

What's really got me excited, though, is the promise of intelligent AI that'll make you actually feel hunted, learning from your attacks and springing traps instead of just redshirting their way into your maw: "Rather than just charging into certain death, soldiers can identify and retreat from danger, form defensive positions, organise ambushes, and even obey the direction of a commander. Your enemies are also studying you - the longer you spend in a fight, the more they learn from your attacks."

Granted, that's a tall order. I've heard promises of ultra-intelligent, smart AI before—only to find it can be gamed pretty easily. If Black Garden Studios can pull that predator-prey style vibe off, though, I'm all for it. There's a demo available on Steam right now, so you can step into the shoes of the eldritch god of chaos' most special boy yourself.