Boy, there sure are a lot of hunting video games out there. A ton of them can be found on the Wii and the genre appears to be making a bit of a comeback on the Switch. The folks at Starsign appear to be capitalizing on this resurgence by releasing a hunting game of their own. This particular take on the genre is Animal Hunter Z and I’d be lying if I said this would do anything to get people into it.
I didn’t think I’d need to cover the story here since you really don’t need any context for a hunting game, but Animal Hunter Z has an excuse plot I couldn’t pass up on reading. So get this: The animals are supposedly affected by a virus. Literally the only way the game says the virus can be stopped is if you shoot the animals that have it. If this is an attempt to get PETA off their backs, it sure is a half-assed attempt.
For some reason, I’m reminded of the Nintendo 64 when looking at Animal Hunter Z. Maybe it’s because the backgrounds seem all but pre-rendered and the models of the animals are about as primitive as the graphical prowess of that era. Then again, I don’t imagine a small team like Starsign could conjure up an ideal “AAA” look on a whim. If anything, it probably would have been better if the game was made with 2D sprites.
As you are likely to expect from this kind of game, Animal Hunter Z has animal groans and sounds of tromping through grass and birds for the atmosphere. It’s the usual brand of hunting sounds and nothing more. Nothing less either, I suppose. Run of the mill as the sound design may be, it doesn’t distract from what the game is.
I notice that when I was looking up Big Buck Hunter Arcade online, people that owned the game complained about the fact they couldn’t use a gun attachment and instead had to use a controller. How funny – Animal Hunter Z is also controller-orientated! And it does indeed feel pretty darn sluggish. However way you alter the sensitivity, aiming with an onscreen cursor simply isn’t the same. It gets even more annoying once you realize how strict the objectives are; random variables waste precious seconds of time as the last remaining animals could refuse to show up until too late.
There are four different modes of play, but aside from Shooting Gallery, they last about 10-20 minutes each. You have Normal, Hard, and a Co-Op mode where you play with a friend or a CPU player. While the three environments have exclusive animals like bears and alligators to look out for, there are not enough featured species to really make things interesting. All the scenarios play out the same aside from specific animals showing up on brief occasion. So if you thought the way the basics are handled aren’t up to snuff, you can be rest assured they don’t get any better.
Overall, Animal Hunter Z feels more like it tries hindering the enjoyment of mercilessly slaughtering helpless animals rather than work with the limits it has. Even if you do adjust to the mechanics, there’s not enough content to relish in that would warrant the ten dollars you would have to pay to download the game. Simply put, I can’t give this a decent recommendation.
Review copy provided by Rainy Frog