Deer Hunter 3D Hands-On

We stopped by Glu headquarters yesterday to play the final build of Deer Hunter 3D, which aims to bring a new level of realism and depth to the hunting game genre.

Our impressions after the jump!

There are already lots of hunting games available on the App Store, and some of them have become very popular–the 99 cent iHunt 3D, for instance, has been a Top 10 seller for some time.

You’d better hit it in the right spot.

This genre clearly has legs, but there’s been no real “Triple-A” title from a big publisher to set a definitive standard. The $5.99 Deer Hunter 3D will try to fill that niche when it comes out, possibly as soon as this Friday.

There certainly seems to be enough content here to justify a premium price. The game’s called Deer Hunter 3D, but there are actually lots of other kinds animals to shoot as well, like moose and bear, even squirrels. The three hunting locations–Northern Europe, American Midwest and Western Russia–all have unique flora, fauna and climates (Russia is awfully snowy).

Plus, there’s a bunch of unlockable weapons and equipment. Skillful play is rewarded with goodies like scopes and deer calls, as well as new rifles, a compound bow, a black powder rifle… even an AK-47! It may not be sporting, but it sounds like fun.

Hunting isn’t easy. In the game’s career mode (called Hunting Trip), you have to bag five animals in a day and pass a score threshold to advance. It’s a bit of a process.

First, you have to locate your prey by trekking around an overhead map until you encounter a deer. The game then switches into a first-person viewpoint so you can “tag” animals with your cursor. Tagging gives you the deer’s vital statistics, like weight and number of antler points, and it also lets you track it on the overhead map should it escape your sights.

After selecting a target and tagging it, you’re ready to fire. Touching a button brings up your scope, and then dialing a circular meter zooms in and out on the animal. A “steady” button reduces the amount of wobble in your aim for a short time, and a screen tap shoots.

It’s important to catch the animal in the right spot to get a kill shot. Otherwise, it’ll bound away wounded, and you’ll have to track it down all over again. Bonus points are awarded for clean kills and head shots–It’s all too easy to shoot your deer in its hind quarters and turn your hunt into a fiasco. You can also see entry and exit wounds for your top kills on your “trophy wall” for a cool touch.

Deer Hunter 3D’s graphics look like they will be a big highlight of the game. The natural environments look lovely. There’s sun-dappled foliage, falling leaves, rain and snow… it’s very high quality stuff. And a great deal of care has gone into animating the animals. They look very real.

We’ve got Deer Hunter 3D firmly in our sights, so prepare for the full review shortly after release.