The best part of Monster Hunter is encountering new monsters and seeing how they behave. Each monster has it’s own personality and patterns you have to lean to best them. The added quirk of Monster Hunter: World is how the monsters also interact with the environment, and one fight really highlights that addition.
Pukei-Pukei is a goofy-looking bird wyvern that dwells in the Ancient Forest. This part-chameleon-part-parrot is the third major monster you’ll fight in Monster Hunter: World. The Great Jagras exists to get the player used to how combat works, the Kulu-Ya-Ku is more evasive and teaches players to choose their attacks more carefully. Pukei-Pukei takes these lessons a bit further by adding in status effects and environmental hazards.
On its own, Pukei-Pukei is nothing too special. Some of its moves are a little hard to read and others cover a wider area, but overall it’s just another strong monster. The first thing that sets it apart from previous fights is its poison attack. If hit by it’s poisonous spit you’ll slowly lose life. It incentivizes preparation; you should bring plenty of antidotes and herbal medicine to this fight just in case you get poisoned.
Pukei-Pukei’s second major gimmick is that it can eat environmental objects to augment its attacks. It can gobble-up seeds that you normally use as slinger ammunition to augment its poison-spitting attack. Sporepuff and poison cap flowers -normally used as a smoke cloud and a poison trap respectively- can be eaten to give Pukei-Pukei a bulbous tail and poisonous discharge attack. It...it farts poison...
What’s great about Pukei-Pukei’s appetite is that it forces you to consider where you are fighting it as well as what it can eat to become more dangerous. Then you have to consider how you’ll deal with Pukei-Pukei eating those things. You can go ahead and remove all the objects Pukei-Pukei can eat, but that means removing strategic resources for yourself as well. Or you can try to use the time Pukei-Pukei needs to eat to lay on extra damage or try to stun the monster. Or you can just refresh yourself as it eats, getting ready for the next leg of the fight. What’s great is that none of these answers are the “right” one and you might even find your strategy evolving as the fight goes on.
Another hiccup the Pukei-Pukei hunt adds in is additional large monsters that roam the map. Pukei-Pukei even has behaviors depending on what monsters it runs into. If a Great Jagras in the middle of your hunt, Pukei-Pukei will also begin fighting the other monster. If Anjanath appears, Pukei-Pukei will escape as quickly as possible, as should you!
The Pukei-Pukei hunt also reveals a few details about how the world of Monster Hunter: World works. This is the first hunt where breaking parts on a monster causes lasting effects. You can break it’s wings to slow down all its flying attacks and its escape speed or sever its tail to remove its poisonous fart. If you’re able to topple a Pukei-Pukei in an area with a pack of Jagras, the smaller monsters will swarm it while it is down and retreat to safety once it gets back up.
And really, Pukei-Pukei is just such fun monster. It’s so strange, attacking with frenzied kicks, running tongue lashes, and comical poisonous farts. It switches between squawks, screeches, and cooing for its various calls. When it’s angry its face turns a bright purple, and when it’s tired it drools even more. The way it stomps around with googly eyes and unpredictable poisonous attacks make it both a comical and dangerous foe. It’s adorable!
I love Pukei-Pukei. He’s the first frantic fight in Monster Hunter: World that really sets the pace for the rest of the game. It shows off what really makes the game tick and how fun and challenging the game can be. Pukei-Pukei for me is one of the best introductory fights in the series, and the fact that he returns as the first high-rank hunt make him a joy to fight all over again. While there are more awe-inspiring and challenging fights later on, Pukei-Pukei is still one of my favorite hunts in the game.
Zachary Long occasionally writes on TAY and can be found on Twitter and Steam as InvadingDuck. He’s currently reworking his way through Monster Hunter: World on PC and is seriously considering ordering a Pukei-Pukei plush.