Deer Hunter Reloaded Review
I’m really conflicted about Deer Hunter Reloaded. Even though it’s only animated animals, it still celebrates murdering them in a sadistic way. I don’t believe video games cause violence, but it feels ickier than people-killing-games like Grand Theft Auto. Deer Hunter Reloaded even takes a fake picture of your avatar with the carcass of each level’s kill. How is that necessary?
If you can separate yourself from that, the shooting game is pretty fun. You’re usually using a rifle with a sniper scope so you zoom in on your kills. Earn experience, complete optional challenges and spend gold or money to upgrade weapons and add items to your inventory.
The steadiness of this hunter is way off, but there are power ups to lessen the wavering. If you play sniper games, you expect this and can already correct for it. There are lots of different animals, and if you miss one they react well to the warning shot and scatter. You could still hit some, but obviously it’s best to get a clean kill first. I’m actually glad when the animals storm towards the player. The game tells you to kill them with a knife swipe, but I say good on the wolves for not taking this crap.
There are lots of different environments and the graphics look great. The sounds of nature, rifle cocking and gunshots are accurate. Different weather, nighttime and night vision are all very creative permutations on the simple premise.
One of the power ups is X-ray mode, which you can use to see the animal’s internal organs so you can decide whether to maim them in their lungs or brains. A stampede mode lets you take aim at a batch of forest creatures running towards you. You can even buy a handgun for stampedes if you just want to open fire instead of actually aiming.
You can buy more gold for real money, which is how they hook you with this free game. That’s fine -- hardcore gamers may want to invest -- but Deer Hunter Reloaded tries to sell you something in every other screen. That’s not cool. And even with the in-game add-ons, it harasses you with upgrade suggestions. Thank you, but I’m fine playing the game my way.
The main gameplay frustration is that the buttons are too close together on the iPhone. You’ll be dragging your scope along the frame, and then accidentally brush across X-ray mode and then you have to move your finger again to turn it off. If they used all four corners of the screen, you could keep the rest of the real estate free for aiming. On the iPad, the screen is too big, so it takes too long to drag your finger across the board. Also, aiming with your finger has some sensitivity issues, actually adding some unsteadiness to the game even if your actual finger is still.
Deer Hunter Reloaded is certainly an excellent port of the classic sniper model from arcades and consoles. It’s amazing how they built it for mobile devices. If it didn’t seem so mean spirited I might have even more fun with it. I still feel bad when I only wound the deer and can’t finish it off with dignity.