App O’ The Mornin’: Deer Hunter — Bow Master Review

Price: free

Rating: D

It’s a good thing I like my readers, because nothing other than grim duty would have kept me playing Deer Hunter: Bow Master as long as I did.

Look, I’m not some namby-pamby anti-hunting bed-wetter who hates these games on principle. I grew up in a family of hunters, and have eaten my fair share of God’s wild critters. The only PETA people I want to know about are People Eating Tasty Animals.

So, I don’t hate hunting games per se. I just hate them when they suck so bad they could siphon all the water out of Lake Michigan.

Bow Master is just a hot mess. The graphics aren’t terrible for iPhone, but their lack of awfulness is about the best thing I can say for them. You’re plonked down in a random woody area with a limited range of vision. Enough critters to fill a season of Wild Kingdom come bounding into view like commuters trying to board the 8th Avenue Local at rush hour. Chipmunks come so close they might as well be standing on your feet, and every moose that enters the screen makes the same mad dash down the center until he tramples you into a puddle of jelly.

The aiming system seems to have been invented by someone who has neither aimed a weapon nor played an iPhone game, or perhaps even heard of these strange things you humans call a “bow and arrow” or “hands.” You aim by placing one finger on the screen, and then placing the other finger somewhere else on the screen in order to draw back. The problem is that aiming and drawing are kind of mutually exclusive actions. It’s maybe possible to position your finger so you can kind of aim while sort of drawing on the bow, but don’t expect to achieve this with any level of accuracy.

Speaking of accuracy, it’s not actually possible to drop a 150 lb. 8-point buck with a single arrow to the ass, as I did on multiple occasions in Bow Hunter. This does not happen in the real world–ever–unless the deer has been living on a steady diet of bacon, eggs, whiskey, and Lucky Strikes, and the shot just scares him into a sudden heart attack.

Oh, and every new hunt begins with a horn blast that sounds like the Battle of Helm’s Deep is about to commence. It’s probably supposed to sound like the cry of the lovesick moose, which might explain why the the sucker keeps trampling me. The menu music is some kind of ren-faire synth music that would be more appropriate … well, nowhere, actually. It’s really rather awful.

Right now, the game is free. At that price, they are still charging entirely too much.