A really good shooter role-playing game is something the the iOS App Store is sorely missing. Games like Borderlands offer the action of a shooter with the strategy and looting of a dungeon crawling RPG. It is all about the thrills and the booty collection. It is incredible that developers haven’t been able to get it right on the iOS yet. Maybe Bounty Hunter: Black Dawn will fill that gap in your gaming repertoire.
The first thing that will strike you about Bounty Hunter: Black Dawn is how much it looks like Borderlands. It borrows the vibrantly colored cell shaded aesthetic and crams it into your tiny iOS device. It is an FPS that eschews the usual shades of gray and layers of grit in favor of something with a bit more character. Sadly, it isn’t the most unique character and we’ve seen much of it before.
Like a certain other title, you have the choice of creating your own avatar from a selection of predetermined classes. Each one has their own unique abilities, but usually fall under healer, stealth, tank, etc. This all comes in handy since much of the game can be spend in co-op multiplayer and you and each of your friends can pick a class and create a well rounded team.
Shooter titles on the iOS usually suffer from poor controls and easily fooled auto targeting. Surprisingly, Bounty Hunter has some of the best shooter controls I’ve come across. The targeting is intelligent and not too much of a crutch and the aiming is not so fickle that it causes you to unload a clip of bullets into the air around your target. It simply feels great to play.
You’re also treated to a bevy of well designed landscapes and a great assortment of weapons to help you through some of the familiar missions. By familiar I mean collect x amount of this, or kill x amount of that monster. What saves the game from becoming monotonous is the enjoyable setting and character. It makes you want to explore your surroundings, upgrade your arsenal, and make it to the next mission.
The multiplayer in Bounty Hunter is pretty great. The co-op lets you explore and adventure with three other friends and helps make the barren wasteland a little less lonely. The co-op works well and is something you'll be very familiar with, but the 8 player PvP (player-versus-player) matches are where things get really challenging. Fighting against A.I. can be fun, but there is no substitute for playing against a human. The PvP element of the multiplayer really brings a lot of replay value to the title and will keep you coming back for more.
So Bounty Hunter: Black Dawn plays well and looks spectacular. So what it holding it back? Well, it simply looks too much like Borderlands. The entire time I was playing it, I felt like I was playing a toned down version of Borderlands filtered through a different developer. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Borderlands was a great game. But, it made me feel like Bounty Hunter lacks its own personality and identity. I felt like it didn’t do quite enough to set itself apart from its influences.
Overall, Bounty Hunter: Black Dawn is a really great shooter for the iOS that expands the offerings in the App Store. It’s fun, exciting, and handles great. But, it lacks its own identity and much of the time, you might find yourself craving after your console and the disc for another video game that has already been out for quite a while.