Strategy games are somewhat suited to the iOS platform, micro-management of real time or turn based strategic elements just seems to suit a mobile phone. Never has a train journey been littered with so many tactical decisions and in turn wanton destruction. Gone are the days when you simply sit there staring into space wishing the damn train would go faster, these days most people are quite content playing on their mobile. Adding to the mix now is the sequel to the popular Hunters, creatively titled Hunters 2 (marketing earning every penny there) - a turn based combat strategy game boasting fantastic graphics and immersive, long term gameplay.
In Hunters 2 you play as a team of ‘double hard’ mercenaries, set far in the future - a future ruled by corporations, who own and run everything, even whole planets. A classic sci fi trope which has been used many a time but it fits the mood and general aesthetic of the game really nicely. Naturally being a band of absolutely nails mercenaries you will take any contract that pays big money and luckily Hunters 2 has a lot of contracts for you to undertake. The missions themselves whether they be in the campaign or via the excellent daily contracts section have a fair amount of variety to them. The team may be protecting a group of scientists or searching for an ancient artifact but there is never a dull moment. Each planet's indigenous life will come at you as soon as look at you and as you progress competing mercenary teams will decimate your forces if you go toe to toe with them.
A glaring omission from the first title, the second sees a brief but entertaining campaign added for your team to work through. What is there is fun though, full of silly twists and turns with alliances changing and mystery surrounding character motivations. It’s all standard sci fi fare but presents at the very least an excellent introduction to the game and its fairly deep loot based mechanics. The game is there to be played multiple times on multiple difficulty levels - the more you play, the harder you make it, the better the loot that drops during missions and the higher the bonus loot for completing a campaign mission. This loot carries over to the daily contracts, which is a fantastic idea when looking to extend the longevity of what could have been a throw away turn based strategy title.
Every twenty-four hours brand new contracts appear for the team to undertake and you simply pick and choose which ones you’d like to go for. Each contract has a time limit for acceptance, a set amount of loot and set criteria for success - for example, no-one on the team can die. The beauty of this system is they constantly change and you will rarely see the same contracts in a short space of time. This effectively makes the game sort of endless - should you wish to continue playing the chances are you will be playing something new and different with each contract.
You begin each jaunt on to the battlefield by choosing your team for the task in hand along with each member's weapon and armour load out. The entire team member elements evoke memories of Dawn of War II; the way in which the troops can be modelled on scouts, heavy weaponry or hand to hand combat, along with the ability to change each element through loot drops and spending credits. It’s a loose connection granted but there is a definite DOWII vibe in many of the ‘out of mission’ game elements.
As you progress through each mission, using turned based strategy to move, guard, cover, attack and hide where application you will encounter varying levels of resistance and receive varying standards of loot. At the end of each mission the team are awarded a set amount of money which can be used to buy new weaponry, armour, hiring new team members or even crafting your own custom items.
Team members level up as you progress and there are a LOT of different new skills which can be invested in for each team member. These vary from standard weapon skill enhancements and healing, to improving passive skills like accuracy or damage dealt. This RPG element is much welcomed and only helps with the games longevity. It’s quite fulfilling creating the right mix of characters within the team enabling them to handle any given situation, creating the ultimate team of bad asses.
The interface (on an iphone 4s) is simple and responsive - tapping on a character brings up movement and action options in the shape of coloured transparent tiles. One little tap and it’s simple enough to move your characters as well as attacking enemies. Zooming in and out at any time is simply done using the pinch motion on the display. Menus are easy to use and everything is laid out with accessibility in mind.
Graphically the game is fantastic and the sound effects which accompany are top notch. The shotgun has a solid boom and your hammer sounds like it cracking a skull with every impact.
Hunters 2 has a bit of everything for the turn based strategist on the train (or toilet in work). A solid entertaining campaign, excellent graphics and sound along with solid longevity and a wealth of RPG options. iOS games just seem to go from strength to strength and Hunters 2 is a worthy addition to any iphone.
(Played on an iPhone 4s)
Available on iPhone and iPad now - iTunes Link - £2.99
Assemble the team - let's kick some behind