The biggest game of the year is sitting in my PlayStation 3, and I'm sitting on my back porch, shooting wolverines on my iPad. I'm just as surprised as you are.
It's not just Grand Theft Auto V. I've got Rayman Legends, a game I've been whining about since it was delayed for the Wii U to go multiplatform back in March. I've got Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD, a game I can't wait to introduce my children to. And yet here I am, upgrading my rifle so I can take down more cheetahs.
I am no hunter. I've not fired a real gun since I was 11, and while I will eat all the dead animal I can get, I prefer not to meet it on the field of battle prior to ingesting. I would not even know what type of gun this is without the game telling me.
I only downloaded Deer Hunter 2014 for funsies — it's free, so why not? I did not expect to play it non-stop for a day and a half.
It's not the prettiest game on iOS. The animals animate nicely until they die, at which point they fall down and clip into the ground. It's got an energy meter, which I absolutely despise, but it's not bothering me nearly as much as it should.
So what's the appeal? Why can't I put it down? It's the damn structure.
Deer Hunter 2014 uses a structure similar to the popular CSR Racing. It's the drag racing of hunting games. There is no stalking or tracking — the animals are right there on the screen. All you have to do is aim and fire, taking out whatever number of animals the mission calls for by whatever means the mission specifies. Kill two goats with lung shots. Kill two hyenas before they tear out your throat.
Bite-sized (sorry) missions are perfect for a fast fix. Playing missions gets you cash, which can be used to upgrade weapons, which is required for advanced missions. Before you know it, it's 3Am and you're soaking in the blood of 100 virtual animals.
This sort of structure is a recipe for obsession. While I've managed not to spend a single penny on the game yet, I've been sorely tempted to drop a buck or two on gold so I can skip the upgrade timer.
Upgrade timers! I hate those as well, yet still I play. I've killed more wolverines than every villain in the Marvel universe combined.
Deer Hunter 2014 is by no means in the class of a Grand Theft Auto or even a Rayman. I do not love the game. In fact, I'm sure I'll reach a point where I'll put it down and never pick it up again. I just might have to gnaw my own leg off to escape.
Genre: Animal Killing Simulator
Developer: Glu Mobile
Platforms: iOS (also for Mac)