Developer: Electronic Arts
Price: $2.99 (currently on sale for $0.99)
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Hunting games are just one of those staples of the iOS platform that have been around since the inception of game development on the device.  Though it is easy to assume that the primary consumer of said titles might have a noticeable twang to their voice or a close resemblance to a spouse, several developers (including Activision) have already catered to this unorthodox audience.  Electronic Arts has decided that they can no longer allow this lucrative business to remain untouched either, recently releasing High Caliber Hunting as their answer to the popular Deer Hunter brand.  Is this another shameless regurgitation, championed by the EA of old, or are we looking at the birth of something new and special?

If you are not much for reading long pages of contextual dialog, you are in luck.  High Caliber Hunting lacks heavily in the plotline department.  All you need to know is that you are wearing camo, hiding in a bush somewhere, and looking to plant Bambi in a pre-mature grave.  The closest you will get to progressing through the game is selecting the different hunting regions that you can unlock through gameplay, consisting of broad sweeping locations such as Texas, Alaska, Canada, and Iowa.

Where the game lacks in the linear structure department, it makes up for in solid variety of environments.  Players will find themselves traversing through the plains of Texas, the wintery wonderland of “The Great White North,” or whatever the hell Iowa has to offer (cornfields, perhaps?).  Accordingly, the wildlife also shifts dramatically depending upon your setting, but that will never change their behaviors of walking from left to right across the screen, looking for some unseen foliage to consume.

The biggest issue with High Caliber Hunting is the one dimensional gameplay.  Everything is see Thumper, shoot Thumper, with little to change up the formula.  This is perfectly sufficient to support the title through several short play sessions, but eventually you find yourself craving more.  Whether it be more weapons, more mobility, or even more game types, everything feels more piecemeal than what you might expect to find in a full product.  That is why it should come as no surprise that from the launch day, that additional downloadable content has been available.  Sadly, this isn’t just a side effect of the publisher, any more, it is becoming the norm.

It would be a crime to deprive hunting fans of a game like High Caliber Hunting, but if you are on the fence, you may be better served placing your deer blind elsewhere and waiting for another target to trot along.

Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews