Hunters 2 Review


Having been preoccupied with the ongoing deluge of impressive titles continually being released for the iPad, Hunters 2 was on of those games that got lost in the 'need to review' pile. Fortunately, a calm before the new app storm has opened a window of opportunity for me to finally dive into the game. The timing also just happened to coincide with Rodeo Games' (the developers behind the Hunters game series) major new game announcement. Read on for the details and full review.
You may recall that I was a big fan of the original Hunters: Episode One released over two years ago. Old timers like me who watched the strategic turn-based game genre evolve with hugely influential titles like Omniverse's Breach and Microprose's XCOM series will feel right at home with the mechanics and inspiration behind the Hunters games. Given how well Rodeo nailed the play and pacing of Hunters: Episode One, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well they iteratively improved all aspects of the game in Hunters 2.
For the uninitiated, Hunters 2 progresses the Hunters storyline of mercenary soldiers taking on corporate contracts to protect scientists, retrieve alien artifacts and generally engage in lizard-like alien onslaughts and competing mercenary factions. Turns consist of move and fire phases, revealing enemy infested terrain with each square step made. If your soldiers survive a mission, they are rewarded with level building experience, skill points and credits that can be used toward better armor and equipment purchases. 
Hunters 2
The game also offers several denominations of in-app cash for game credit purchases, ranging from $0.99 to a whopping $29.99. Be warned - the in-app credits are *only* applied to your saved game, not the overall game bank. If you accidentally delete your saved game (or you play on the very risky and adrenaline-inducing permanent deaths mode), you could lose whatever spare credits you purchased. I suppose if you're into living on the edge, this game design decision could greatly increase in-game anxiety in a twisted gaming high. But given how expensive such purchases could be, I must admit I'm not a fan of this design choice. However, everything else about the game is an improvement over the original in every way.
For example, the graphics have been improved to support better lighting and shading effects, making environments (especially noticeable in levels with murky water) look more immersive and realistic. Enemy and alien animations have also been amped up with more frames of crumpling death sequences and exploding bodies. Play balance has also been tweaked to give a progressive feel of achievement that push players into that addictive 'just one more game' behavior. Having burned through several late, late night sessions of non-stop Hunters 2 action, I can say without hesitation that this game is well worth its price of admission. 
Hunters 2
And the game doesn't end when the campaign is completed (even though doing so will take the average gamer over a dozen hours to finish with their entire squadron intact). Rodeo offers fresh new daily challenges to keep players engaged and further improving their soldier's stats. There are also additional paid challenges for players who still can't get enough of a Hunters 2 fix with all the extra content. Overall, Hunters 2 offers a high-end, fully loaded gaming experience for anyone looking for one of the best strategic turn-based shooters available on the iPad today.  Perhaps that is why Rodeo just announced today that they have partnered with Games Workshop to license the Warhammer franchise for their next game. Check out the official press release and Rodeo's web page for the game. I can't wait, and I've already blocked out time on my schedule to try to be one of the first in line to play Warhammer Quest and have the review posted shortly thereafter!
Title: Hunters 2
Developer:  Rodeo Games
Price: $4.99 + in-app purchases
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.