Let’s leave the moral and ethical question about hunting animals that (on the whole) can’t retaliate back at the hunting lodge, and move straight into what makes Deer Hunter 3D on Windows Phone 7 a flawed, but ultimately enjoyable experience.
Based on the iOS game that came out almost two years ago, Deer Hunter 3D is an arcade-like hunting game that sees the player travel to four locations across the Northern Hemisphere to use a selection of weapons to net themselves five impressive ‘trophies’.
Each hunt takes place over the course of one day starting at 6am in the morning. You begin by moving a dot around the landscape, hoping that recent animal tracks will appear within the upgradable sphere of influence around your hunter/dot.
Once an animal is found and located, the game switches to an attractive 3D view that can scrolled around by moving a crosshair to the sides of the screen.
Any animals wandering around in that location are then seen happily grazing at varying distances from your hiding place. Tapping the ‘scope’ button brings up your sights, allowing you to zoom in and place a hopefully fatal blow to the heaviest and most rewarding – in terms of points – creature.
These creatures range from the titular deer, tthe lowest scoring targets, to the mighty grizzly bear, which, bizarrely, doesn’t fight back once injured. Should you merely wound a creature – by shooting it in the leg, say – then it’s back to the map to track its path and try again.
Once the day is over or you have your five trophies, your points total is compared against the target score for that particular level and it’s back to the main menu to select a different, more difficult hunt.
As long as the idea of shooting virtual animals in the face doesn’t offend, then Deer Hunter 3D is an oddly absorbing experience. The tense wait as you attempt to wrestle control of your swaying weapon and the wealth of unlockable weapons and maps helped kept us engaged, even if the basic gameplay never really develops beyond a fancy shooting range.
However there are some control issues that prevented us enjoying the game quite as much as we could have done. Firing, by default, is terrible – tapping anywhere on screen annoyingly fires a shot. It can be turned off and replaced by a dedicated firing button, but why it’s the default mode is beyond our comprehension.
More annoying is the zoom control when scoped, which seem to ‘stick’ constantly when trying to line up the shot. As your hunter is not the quietest when you first start out, thanks to the lack of upgrades and special equipment, it can be frustrating watching the deer bolt thanks to poor touch detection, not your own inability to aim.
If you can conquer these issues then Deer Hunter 3D offers up an enjoyable arcade shooting experience.