Developer: TATEM Games
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Hunting is something that I have no clue about outside of gaming. While I love shooting things in games, I just wuss out when it comes to the real thing. However — shooting dinosaurs? Now there’s something I can get on board with which is why I was rather impressed with Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter.

Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter is a port of a PC game from 1998, one that I never played. I’d be surprised if it ever looked as luscious as this iPhone conversion though. It really does look stunning and well detailed. It also offers some of the best AI I’ve seen in recent times on any system, let alone an iPhone.

The object is pretty simple: you have to hunt down dinosaurs in a Jurrassic Park style environment. You start out hunting down herbivores then gradually work your way up to harder foes, eventually having to defeat the almighty T-Rex. It’s not as simple as your regular shooter, though, as this is a hunting sim not an FPS game. You have to ensure that everything from the wind direction to the line of sight is on your side. There are various tools to assist you in this endeavor such as a method to disguise your scent, radar tracking and camouflage. All of these implements reduce the amount of points that you’re able to earn, however, so choose carefully. In the early stages this is your only option if you want to succeed — your weapons are distinctly limited and short range only.

The learning curve does feel a little steep at first. It’s not until you realise that the best bet is to simply get what you can rather than go for the ‘perfect’ kill, that things become easier. Then as you accrue more and more points, you’re able to buy more effective weapons and pursue stronger dinosaurs. Encountering carnivores is where the game shows off just what great AI is available. Carnivores are all too willing to attack on sight but they’re also able to dodge shots and even gang up on you. These creatures are far from dim-witted and patience is frequently required to defeat them.

It’s constantly satisfying, though. An intelligent shooter is hard to come by and Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter serves this purpose well. It might take a while to come to grips with, and admittedly a comprehensive tutorial would have been greatly welcomed, but there’s plenty of reason to persevere here.

If you’re looking for a deep, intelligent hunting sim, Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter is ideal. The added bonus of hunting dinosaurs rather than conventional animals just makes it all the more intriguing a proposition.


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