Carnivores: Ice Age in review – Not Your Modern Stone Age Family

Deer hunting simulators have always seemed kind of silly to me.  I can’t believe real hunters would find any exhilaration in simulated game, and people who don’t normally hunt won’t get anything near the real experience on a computer.  That’s why I think Tatem Games is on the right track with their Carnivores series, since it’s not like I’m going to be able to step out my door any time soon and hunt real life dinosaurs.  The game has held my attention much better than any deer hunting affair to date, but the extreme difficulty winds up frustrating me more often than not.

Long before power rifles and forest preserves, creatures much more fierce than deer roamed the earth.  In this second installment of the Carnivores series you get to travel back to the Ice Age to try and hunt down some of these creatures.  You’ll get to choose a location (more will open up as you can afford them and as you conquer the lesser ones), select one or more types of dinosaurs to hunt, and pick the artillery you wish to pursue them with.  Of course everything cost points, so you better hope you have your groove on so you can bag some game and earn points to unlock more things to play with.  It’s important to keep in mind that you can kill anything that moves – especially if it tries to attack you – but you’ll only earn points for the types of creatures you paid to hunt.

You view the world from a first person point of view, with a virtual joystick to move your hunter and the ability to swipe the screen to adjust your view.  Based on my current configuration there is a mini-map accessible by tapping the upper left corner of the screen, and a button to execute dinosaur calls in the upper right.  Bellow the call button is a draw weapon button, and bellow the map are my binoculars in passive mode and my fire button in attack mode.  Eventually you’ll be able to afford weapons with sniper capabilities, but to start off with most combat is up close and personal.

What I like about this game versus most hunting games I’ve tried is that instead of just perching somewhere waiting for something to wander past, here you’re thrust into the midst of a living world.  Creatures wander around and eat the foliage while birds fly around in the sky.  And of course your prey is active as well.  The down side to this is that sometimes it takes just as long to find them as if you were just waiting somewhere for them.  It also means you can be attacked by things other than what you’re hunting.  Therein lies my problem – I think in all the games I’ve played I’ve only managed to bag an official target once.  Carnivores really needs a difficulty setting for those like me who don’t play such games on a regular basis.

Ice Age looks good.  The landscape is beautifully rendered and the dinosaurs are well modeled. In the one island of experienced so far there is a decent snow effect, and I would assume similar weather effects accompany the other locales.  If anything, I’d say the one disappointment would be the hunter, but the only time you see him is when a dinosaur has mauled him, so that’s not real critical anyway.  The sound effects are decent enough.  I’ve never seen a dinosaur close up, so I’ll just have to take the sound manager’s word that the noises there are authentic.  I do like the ambient noise of the population on the island, as it makes the place feel alive.  There is no music, but in a game like this I could see it actually taking away from the ambiance.

I really like this game.  It looks good, it sounds good, and it actually does a good job of capturing the anticipation of a real hunt.  I’m just having issues getting over the difficulty.  I don’t expect to conquer the first island on my initial walkthrough, but out of every single play through so far, I’ve only managed to kill two creatures, and I never actually earned any points since I subsequently died.  That’s a little too rough for my tastes.  Still, hunting game fanatics can expect a different experience from Carnivores: Ice Age, and those that find normal deer hunting simulations dull should enjoy this more as well.

App Summary
Title: Carnivores: Ice AgeDeveloper: Tatem Games
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$0.99App Size:Size: 59.9 MB
  • Keeps your interest
  • Plenty to hunt
  • Looks good
  • Very difficult

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