App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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The original Hunters: Episode One was something of an unexpected success when it first hit the App Store a little over a year ago. I'll admit I downloaded it because it was free to try, but I was totally blown away by the quality and just plain fun of it. Granted it wasn't perfect, but it was darned good. And then Hunters 2 comes along and practically makes the year old must-have iOS strategy game look foolish by comparison.
Hunters 2 is essentially a total refinement of what made the original so great, but it also adds plenty of new content and concepts. All the glorious top-down, turn-based strategic combat with upgradable and customizable mercenaries is still present, as are the daily missions and hourly store content updates. But it's not simply more of the same. It's more of the same, but even better than before.
The visuals in Hunters 2 have been overhauled a bit with sharper lines, more colorful (and varied) locations, new enemy types as well as a few tweaks to preexisting ones, fancy lighting, and what I'm pretty sure are even smoother animations. The new locations and enemy types aren't just for show, however. Some maps include new gameplay mechanics such as stationary turrets that a hunter can jump into and consequently use to decimate things. New enemies such as the lizard/alien things force players to change up their strategies as they are melee-only but can move pretty dang fast. The skill trees have also been updated with more abilities and a few more tiers of familiar ones. And of course there are some new weapons. Lastly, an honest-to-goodness story mode has been added. It's not all that huge a deal to me since I didn't care about the lack of one in the first game, but the addition of the special hero unit is pretty cool.
As much as I'm completely and totally in love with Hunters 2, I have to admit it can get pretty tough. Even the third story mission gave me trouble. Of course I was also splitting my forces, which was a bad idea on my part in hindsight. Still, it can be hard. And I can only imagine how rough it'll be on the hardest difficulty (with permanent hunter death, no less). Other than that, my only real complaint is that there's some very noticeable skipping when I attempt to move the camera around quickly. Of course the action is turn-based, so this is really a minor annoyance.
Honestly, if someone were to ask me for an iOS strategy recommendation I'd tell them Hunters 2 first and foremost without any hesitation. It refines an already slick formula (something I hadn't considered possible) and even manages to add a surprising amount of new content. It's a must-have for strategy fans, no question.