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Review: iHunt

November 28, 2008


Living in Southeast Arkansas where most restaurants have "Hunters Welcome" signs plastered all over their marquees is sometimes a challenge for a non-hunter. While I ride a moped, pickup trucks roar up and down the street with dead deer tied down on their tailgates. Tales of 8-10 points and frosty mornings reverberate in McDonalds and diners across our county during this season. It's an appropriate setting to review this game. While I'm not a hunter (though I've been), my 11 year-old son is, and he's given me some input on this app as well.


There's nothing hard about getting started. Pick what kind of hunting/shooting you want: deer, pheasant or clay. Pick the difficulty. Pick your gun. Start shooting. All three options present you with a gorgeous screenshot with your targets superimposed on it. The deer remain stationary, while the pheasant and clay move across your screen. There is no animation of the animals at all. They "float" from side to side, in the case of the pheasants and up and away in the case of the clay. The deer sit there, completely oblivious to the fact that you're picking them off one by one. Tapping the screen brings up your crosshairs, and by tilting your iPhone, you position your sights on the future kill. In the case of the pheasant, which are moving, you'll have to tilt your iPhone harder and quicker to catch up with the movement. Tapping on the Look button gives you the wide angle view of the hunting area again, while tapping on the Fire button gets your launch ready for processing. You have a limited number of shots (your ammo is displayed in the top left corner), so you need to make every shot count if momma's gonna eat.


My son and I both enjoyed the game... at first. It's engaging, and the screen shots are gorgeous. You become pretty intent on slaughtering the massive deer herd that serenely beckons your bullets. After completing the first level, you anticipate a next level, a better one. But noooo.... it's the same screenshot, with the deer only placed in different spots. In fact, choosing different levels of difficulty only reduces the amount of ammo you're given. In other words, your margin of error gets smaller, but the game itself doesn't get harder. Since the deer don't move, I would have liked to have seen just a little blood flying from the shots. However, what you get is a carnival-like fall over. The deer are one-dimensional, and they are just knocked over by your shot and then disappear. The pheasant level has the same issues. While your prey do move across the screen, the animation is, well, nonexistent. They don't flap; they float. Maybe they're in coast mode. The difficulty here is more challenging because you have to time your tilt and shot, but soon you've got the hang of the game, and well, that's it. In addition, when you tilt to the far corners of the game, the "screenshot effect" is radically noticeable. You actually see the corners of the screenshot (as shown below). I thought this was pretty horrendous.

I did like the interplay between the Look and Fire. It really did a good job of letting you feel like you were looking down the sights of a gun for one shot and then getting the big picture before sighting in again.


iHunt is pretty simplistic. It's actually a lot of fun for the first few minutes of gameplay. But once you get the hang of it, you won't come back to the game. Even my son, after playing for an hour one evening, hasn't touched it since. For that limited exposure, I just don't know if it's worth paying for - unless you look at it from the angle of immediate, quick satisfaction.

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