Deer Hunter is back, and it’s gone free-to-play. The latest entry in the series, Deer Hunter Reloaded, came out back in April and has since seen a number of revisions which have added all sorts of new things to the Deer Hunter experience.
The first revision added some of the more interesting features to the game, including an X-Ray mode which– so long as your battery holds out– allows you to zero in on certain parts of your prey’s internal anatomy. You can use it to discharge a bullet through the brain of a bear or the lungs of a lynx, and other parts. Another new feature, a Matrix-esque slow-motion bullet-time effect, lets you know when you’ve successfully targeted the vital part, as the camera follows the bullet all the way into the body of the beast. On top of that, you can now move around to gain a better vantage point to use the aforementioned features.
Other features include a stampede mode, where you’ll try to rack up more kills among waves of running animals than your friends in online leaderboards. You can also complete challenges for hunting room trophies, and customize your hunter avatar with different hunting attire.
Hope you are quite prepared to die.
Version 2.0 adds rare animal hunts; as you go about your routine hunts, you’ll be on the lookout for rare animals which can appear at any point during a given time denoted by a countdown clock. If you spot, say, an albino warthog during one of your hunts, you’ll want to hold off until you bag that bounty. In addition to this, there are four new bows, some new animals, a new map, and some other tweaks to the stampede hunt. Plus, if your friends and family aren’t against the idea of your virtual huntin’ and killin’, you can even post pictures of your successful hunts to Facebook or Twitter.
Finally, 3.0 adds more weapons, more animals, more achievements, and a new nighttime mode with infrared vision (so long as your battery holds out). It’s more difficult to see at night, and animals become more aggressive, coming after you for taking out one of their mates. Fortunately for you (but not so much for them), 3.0 also adds a new melee mode: One good swipe across the touchscreen, and your hunting knife will splatter blood from their throat all over the place.
In case you haven’t picked up this yet, Deer Hunter Reloaded isn’t exactly Duck Hunt; the animals and settings are realistic, and so is the killing– perhaps even to a disturbing degree, depending on how you feel about the management of wildlife. But unless you’ve got pictures of Little Jimmy all dressed up in camo and hunter’s orange with his cap an deer rifle, then this might not be a game you would want to give to younger children.
“Stampede! In the gorge! Simba’s down there!”
The game is realistic, at least to the degree of how realistic one might expect an iPhone hunting game to be, and it revels in it. Your hunter does not keep a steady bead on his target, meaning you have to wait for his nerves to sway him back near the point you wanted to shoot at before pulling the trigger. In addition, one of the three forms of “currency” in the game is energy; if you don’t have enough for the hunt, you can’t participate. It refills on its own over time (even when the app is closed), and it isn’t necessary for the stampedes, but it is a little jarring to have to wait for your virtual self to get his breath back before you can keep playing.
As a free-to-play game, it isn’t bad (content aside), but it also takes every opportunity to try to get you to buy something, from new guns to new equipment to new games; it’s always something. Most of it wouldn’t even be so bad, except that early on, you might have enough of one in-game currency to buy some things, but not nearly enough of what they really want– gold, the other currency– to get what they’re constantly pushing at you. That is, unless you hand over your credit card and purchase more cash, gold, or energy.
All of this might not even be so bad, but the real killjoy is the time limit. Rather than pacing yourself and finding your prey before carefully lining up and taking your shot, you have a brief period of time to get everything done, making it all seem more “rush, rush, rush” than it feels like it ought to be. When you’re going after a single animal, it’s not so bad, but with the swaying crosshairs, it becomes rather difficult to do when you have to bag three or more kills in order to move on.
If you want realistic hunting on your phone and don’t mind shelling out money time after time to do it, then Deer Hunter Reloaded should be a good experience for you. Otherwise, you’ll want to approach this one with some caution.