The Hunger Games Adventures Hands-On Preview

Earlier this year, you might have played the free auto-running advergame Hunger Games: Girl on Fire. As fans of the books and movie, we were a bit disappointed that Girl on Fire didn’t do much to expand on the plot or characters from the series. The Hunger Games Adventures, a port of the Facebook game, goes much deeper into the nation of Panem, letting you play as a denizen of Katniss’s District 12.

You start off by creating a character, either male or female, and dressing them in a few simple clothes. The game then lets you interact with characters from the books and movie, like Katniss Everdeen, who teaches you how to fend off mutated animals with a bow, and Gale Hawthorne, who teaches you how to construct snares to trap game.

All of the actions in the game are performed by clicking, which will also use up some of your reserves of energy. The result is that gathering stones, chopping wood, or building a trap feel the same as shooting a bow at a wild creature or trading with merchants. Combat doesn’t have its own unique mechanic, which we would have enjoyed since The Hunger Games themselves are mainly about skillful battles.

Energy will very slowly restore at the rate of one unit every five minutes, which means The Hunger Games Adventures can only be played for a few minutes at a time. But when you have energy, you’ll be able to advance a detailed story that has you slowly earning the respect of the citizens of District 12, and later, moving to the Capital to participate in the national blood-sport.

As you help starving citizens and learn new survival skills, you’ll also be able to build up your own forest hideaway. Here, you can rest to regain energy, craft items, and even adopt a few pets.

The music in The Hunger Games Adventures is easily one of our favorite aspects. The atmospheric soundtrack sets the mood perfectly, and at a few points in the game, you’ll be able to access new musical tracks when you obtain certain items, like a mockingjay. Visually, the game has an anime-like style, with big-headed, wide-eyed characters. Unfortunately, levels tend to load in piece by piece, which isn’t terribly attractive.

The Hunger Games Adventures will be a free download, and for those of us who spend more time with their iPads than they do on Facebook, this is the version to play. Fans of the books and movies will likely be impressed by the amount of detail from the world of Panem, even if the constantly-increasing resource requirements for quests make it feel like the game’s odds are not ever in your favor. Look for The Hunger Games Adventures on the App Store soon.