Download Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter and you’ll suddenly find yourself in the middle of a prehistoric environment filled with soaring pterodactyls, trodding triceratops and the treacherous T. Rex.
As a camouflage clad army hero you must hunt the animals in one of two gameplay modes. One mode is survival and it creates a situation that’s exactly like it sounds. Waves of stampeding dinosaurs as they sprint at you in a rampage as you shoot them down while standing still with only a gun in your arms.
The other game mode is a hunting campaign experience that has you wandering through five vast landscapes calling dinosaurs with an artificial roar in a strategic hunt. To add to the suspense, the dinosaurs can sense you with various levels of innate instincts.
This means that wherever you go they either run away or ruthlessly attack (usually depending on whether they are herbivores or carnivores). These creatures are difficult to hunt but if manage to get one trying to trudge up steep rocks they’re easier to kill.
If you manage to shoot down one of these creatures a series of radio transmissions sent over your iPad speakers will arrange a pickup and within a few minutes a military-looking flying object picks up your dinosaur. You get points for every kill and check out your killings in the game’s trophy room later on.
If you’ve ever played 007 on the Nintendo 64 you’ll remember a lot of similarities between the two games. Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter has the same intense 3D graphics that are well done but sometimes leave you bumping into walls (or in the case of this game, mountains of rock).
The Jurassic Park type storyline is cool and the game is extremely intense. It’s fun to choose your dinosaur prey and weapon before jumping into one of the game’s five campaign landscapes and conceptually it’s easy to figure out how to use the radar to track dinosaur’s locations, raise your weapon, fire, and even call the dinosaurs so they move in your direction.
The sounds of this game are perfectly executed and it’s amazing how intense it can be when the carnivorous monsters actually choose to go after you and kill you. Just before you die the screen switches to you (the only time when you actually get to see yourself because the screen is otherwise filled with your perspective of the world) so you can watch the dinosaur tear at your flesh as you convulse with a couple last breaths.
Anyone who likes intense shooting games will probably appreciate Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter. Tatem Games did a great job with this gameright down to the social networking integration and this is one of the most console-like experiences I’ve played on the iPad to date.
My only major criticism of Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter though, is that it’s really hard to play. The controls are good and it’s straight forward, but you can expect to last about as long as a bull rider in survivor mode at first and you’ll spend a lot of hunt mode wandering around vast landscapes as dinosaurs run away from you (or turn around to eat you).
If you invest some real time in learning how to play it starts to get easier, but I wish there was some sort of easy mode that at the very least, made the world a bit simpler and turned the dinosaurs’ senses down so they weren’t so quick to run away or turn on you.
Bottom Line: Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter is a dinosaur hunting game with hunting campaign and survival modes. The graphics are intensely beautiful but expect a steep learning curve. It takes awhile to really learn to play this game well.