Hunters: Episode One opens with a quote from snooty old Thomas Jefferson about how money, not morality, is the foundation of all civilizations. It's a move straight out of the Call Of Duty or even Metal Gear Solid play book, and while it might make you roll your eyes, it should also make you realize that Hunters aspires to greatness on par with those other series. Obviously, this being an iOS game, it won't be as visually complex or eye-straining, but there's enough depth to warrant a look. Plus, it's free - so what do you have to lose? Surely you have zero dollars to burn.
For now, it's a barebones overhead turn-based strategy shooter where you command each unit in squads setting out on straightforward missions. The usual assortment of "escort this," "rescue that," and "defeat all of these" missions are doled out liberally, but even without the more compelling updates due out soon (multiplayer and hero characters), there's a decent amount of variety to keep your interest for a while. There's a good range of character classes, from hulking axe-wielders to slow-paced shotgun-slingers, and all earn stat increases from completing missions and killing enemy units. There's also a large skill tree, which gives you a greater incentive to keep your men alive. Well, that, and the fact that additional content is available every 24 hours, be it randomly generated contracts or new weapons.
Hunters doesn't hold up over marathon sessions, unless you absolutely have tunnel vision on the game, but in 10-minute spurts, we were able to progress along reasonably. That said, the difficulty is unrelenting. It's unwise to scatter your unit, as you'll inevitably get cornered or massacred by the enemy. They're formidable opponents, not to be taken lightly - especially since early on they benefit from unfair perks like being able to return fire during your turn. But, honestly, it's refreshing to see a free game that packs a challenge along with the value.
Apr 13, 2011