Looking for a GOOD hunting game for the iPhone? Look no further.
If you’ve heard even one of our podcasts, you’ve probably heard us dog on iHunt. Why? Because it sucks. Neither versions of the game look or play well, yet for some reason it managed to squeeze into the top 10 apps on the app store! All of use threw up our hands in unison, with a “WTF?!” I can honestly tell you that you won’t read one more mention of iHunt in this review. I can’t compare this game to iHunt in good conscience, as it would be equivalent to comparing a Pinto to a Ferrari.
The first impression of Deer Hunter 3D is sweet and sour. You immediately notice the fantastic graphics and realistic animal animations. At the same time, you are greeted with a rather low quality menu song, as well as menus that don’t provide feedback when you press a button, so you sometimes have to tap multiple times to get around. There is also no way to turn off the music… which is odd. Luckily it’s only in the menu, and does
not play during the game. This is just the first impression though, as this game is obviously much more than a menu!
You can play the game in two different modes: hunting trip and lightning round. The hunting trip mode provides the meat and potatoes of the game. There are three different locations to unlock, a variety of weapons, and 4 different difficulties. You start off with a standard bolt-action rifle, but can unlock weapons like a black powder rifle or an AK47 (not very effective for hunting, I assure you). When you start a hunting trip you appear as a blue dot on a map with an outer circle around you. This is your range of sight. You tap or drag along the map until you come across deer tracks. When this happens, you can enter into the hunting mode.
Based on where you were on the map when you spotted the animal, you will appear in one of nine different positions in the area. All of these environments are simply gorgeous. From open meadows to serine lakes, Deer Hunter 3D has some of the best 3D environments I’ve seen on the iPhone. In addition to that, the animations for the deer, moose, and bears you encounter are spot on, and look fantastic! The ambient effects are also good. There are even weather changes that appear to be based on difficulty. You may be in the same location, but one day it’s covered in snow, and the next it’s lightly raining. You do not get to actually walk through these areas in real time, but the different angles work well for providing a nice variety.
The controls are very simple. Touch and drag to aim, and tap anywhere on the screen to shoot. To zoom in (when you unlock the scope), tap the zoom button and rotate the sight to zoom in or out. I would strongly recommend you not move your aim by placing your finger squarely on the reticule. At first I was automatically doing this, but soon realized you can aim from anywhere on the screen. Suffice to say, my hunting improved dramatically after this epiphany. One issue I had occasionally was accidentally firing when trying to tap the zoom button. When this happens, the animals become alert, and dart off the screen convincingly well. It’s quite satisfying to get a running kill, but frustrating when you were trying to zoom into get that perfect head shot.
As you move your reticle onto animals, you will get their weight and other information by “tagging” them. When this happens, you will be able to track them on GPS map to hunt them down at later times. If you injure an animal rather than killing it, it’s foot prints will appear in red on the GPS so you can finish the job. It seemed like at times the hit detection was a bit quirky. I had a couple direct headshots that only reported as a hit. Although dissappointing, this only happened a couple times. You gain points based on the size of the deer, distance of the shot, how much cover they’re behind, etc. You also get bonus points by using different weapons to hunt.
It will take some time to get unlock all of the hunting areas, difficulties, and weapons. Luckily, there’s plenty to keep you coming back for more. As you progress you gain points to spend on skills like accuracy and reflexes. This adds an RPG element to the game that effects your gameplay. There are also achievements to unlock.
There aren’t a ton, but some of them are certainly a challenge! As you progress, you unlock equipment to help you on your hunting trips. The scope is one of these items that luckily unlocks very quickly. Finally, there’s an awesome trophy room feature to view you top 3 kills. Aside from points and normal statistics, you view a 3D replica of animal you killed, along with the shot entry/exit. You can rotate this around to get a nice view of your skills.
The addition of the lightning mode provides quick entertainment if you don’t have a lot of time to spend on a full hunting trip. This feature lets you choose the locales and a weapon. It then automatically places you in several areas to see how many points you can rack up from kills. The final are involves shooting prairie dogs. That was fun. Surprisingly, I didn’t see any high score list for this, so it seems to just be something to use more for practice than anything else.
Presentation & Graphics
Some truly stunning visuals and animations. Animals look and behave very realisticly, which is something that lacks in most hunting games for the iPhone. Weather effects are awesome.
Aside from the obnoxious menu music, much of the sound effects seem to be pretty low quality. I believe that this is a port from other mobile phone versions of the same game, and it feels like the sounds were brought over directly. Ambient sound is descent.
Great controls, with only a few frustrations from accidently shooting prematurely. The only way possible to one-up the gameplay would be to provide the ability to actually walk around the environments. Aiming and shooting is very smooth, as is zooming with a scope. Kills are satisfying.
There’s plenty to keep you coming back to this game. Achievements, unlockable weapons, 4 difficulty levels, lightning round mode, as well as high scores and the trophy room. I’m dissappointed that there is no online mode, or ability to share your best shots with friends though. Lightning round mode allows for quickplay on the go.
Deer Hunter 3D is trualy a shining gem, not only among hunting games, but among 3D games in general on the iPhone. Glu did their research when it comes to animal movement, environments, and untuitive controls to really make Deer Hunter a winner on the iPhone. If you’re a hunting game fan, get this. If you’re not a hunting game fan, this may pull out the inner hunter in you!