Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
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Let's face it, there aren't many who make it all the way to Africa to hunt big game. It's expensive, highly regulated, and probably very difficult to track down large animals and actually take one down. Luckily for those of us that aren't actual big game hunters, there are hunting games that can provide a small portion of the hunting experience in the palm of your hand.
Big Buck Safari is one of those titles and while it should in no way be counted as a hunting simulator, like it's popular arcade shooter predecessor, Big Buck Hunter, this game does give players a chance to hunt big game like wildebeests, giraffes, elephants, cheetahs, rhinos and lions. The experience is decidedly arcade-like and players may find it a bit over simplified, but it does a fair job at capturing the excitement of firing a large gun at animals as they bound past through brush and trees. Even players who may not actually find much pleasure in the idea of hunting and animal can have fun playing this game and trying to make accurate shots to bring down their prey.
In each level, or trek, the player is required to hunt for a specific animal trying to bring down the males instead of the females. Shooting and killing a female will end the round. In each level there are also various smaller animals that can be shot for extra points and a trophy animal that can be shot for a larger bonus. There are a certain number of animals that the player can shoot in each round of a trek and after the player has had a chance to shoot each, the round ends and the kills are tallied for a score. Shots must be accurate, to the head or the heart, to bring down an animal and it's not always easy because the animals are almost always in motion; some faster than others.
At the end of each trek there is also various mini-games which can be played for bonus points. These mini-games can also be accessed separately and played by themselves. Treks of varying lengths can be played depending on how long a game the player wishes to play. Players can also choose a quick play options which gets them right into the hunt.
The environments are small, just one stationary slice of jungle or brush through which animals run. And players shoot at animals by simply tapping on them. The levels really aren't very different from one another other than the types of animals found in each one. Big Buck Safari is fun, but it isn't a very deep game. Animals run, players shoot at them by tapping, that about sums it up. Fans of other hunting titles looking for more environments to hunt in may want to give it a look.
UPDATE: The developer is hard at work generating some new content for this game in the form of a few new environments, new pass-to-play multiplayer features, and new ways to compete with friends via leaderboards and tournaments. As with the rest of the game, all this content will be Universal and will display in the native resolution of any iOS device. Some added visual features like anti-aliasing and 60 fps frame rate make this game especially good looking on the iPad 2.