"In Space, No One Can Hear You Hunt"
Deep and fully featured games on the App Store are a rare occurrence thanks in part to the popularity of casual blockbusters like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, but that didn’t stop developer Rodeo Games from releasing Hunters: Episode One; a content-filled turn-based strategy game with plenty of missions to complete and units to customize. Despite its generic audio and visuals and lack of multiplayer, Hunters is a thinking man’s game that’s definitely worth experiencing.
Hunters plays like a typical turn-based strategy game, utilizing a top-down view and fog of war. Up to eight units can take part in each mission, and each unit has specific strengths and weaknesses that are dependent on what armor, weapons, and skills the player equips. Although specific classes are limited to two close-range fighters, including a hammer-wielding melee unit and a shotgunner and two far-range units, including a sniper and a machinegunner, the freedom to customize each class on the fly adds plenty of potential unit options.
- The depth of strategy and options is impressive -
For example, equipping heavy armor reduces the amount of times it can move and its number of actions each turn (called action points), but when equipped with a shotgun as well as the med kit and increased team defense ability, the heavily modified unit becomes an absolute tank and a lifesaver on the battlefield. A sniper with light armor and the dodge ability can quickly maneuver throughout each map without receiving much damage. There are plenty of other options as well, and depending on whether you wish to make a unit a solo unit, a team player, or some of both drastically changes the gameplay options, especially considering that up to eight hunters can partake in each mission. Add in a level-up feature that distributes experience points to the victors, allowing them to equip better armor and weapons and learn new abilities, as well as an equipment store to buy gear with the credits you earn from missions and defeated enemies, and you’ve got a deep strategy game meant for both novices and statistic buffs.
Strategies go farther than point values in Hunters: Episode One, however, with well-designed maps that incorporate corridors, open areas, and cover options that greatly hinder or help specific unit types. You really never know what’s around the corner or behind each door thanks to the fog of war effect, and your enemies use this to their advantage to flank your squad and vanish into the darkness for a quick retreat. The AI-controlled enemies aren’t unfair or all-knowing either, hindered just as much as you are, but they tend not to engage in combat until you enter their territory.
Unlike the strategies and customization options, Hunters’ visuals are sparse and less notable. Although the 3D rendered into 2D sprite graphics are clear and moderately detailed with lighting and shadows, the overall style features an unmemorable space design that lacks color and identity. The greys, browns, and muddied colors are all you’re going to see, and environments and character graphics are repeated. Artistically, Hunters is deficient. The sound design fares about the same with clear and crisp audio but nothing you haven’t heard before.
- The no-frills, top-down visuals get the job done but little more -
Hunters: Episode One is an entertaining and engrossing strategy game that features the depth and customization options of a full-fledged console experience. Unfortunately, its presentation isn’t up to par.
GameDynamo's Score for Hunters: Episode One (Mobile)
He's always enjoyed the artistic craft of video games and received a Bachelor in Fine Arts for Animation. He also creates his own games!
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