Hunters 2: a solid addition to iOS growing strategy game library

Hunters 2 from the UK-based developer Rodeo Games is a turn-based strategy role-playing game for iOS devices, and the follow-up to the team’s previous title Hunters: Episode One. The new game is available now as a paid Universal app.

Like its predecessor, Hunters 2 is a science-fiction game that casts players in the role of the commander of a group of bounty hunters. Through completing missions, defeating enemies and acquiring new equipment, the player must build up their squad into a team of invincible fighting machines able to take on any challenges that come their way.

Hunters: Episode One was based entirely around randomly-generated missions which refreshed every 24 hours. Hunters 2 still features this system but also supplements it with a story-based campaign. Players may jump back and forth between the two modes with the same squad of hunters at any point, allowing for a good sense of “ownership” of the team. When combined with the ability to rename squad members and the optional “permadeath” mode (where defeated hunters are not revived at the conclusion of a mission), the game encourages players to become invested in their squad’s wellbeing at all times — a powerful motivator to keep them coming back for more.

The majority of the game unfolds through turn-based tactical combat gameplay presented from a top-down perspective which may be freely zoomed and rotated with “pinch” gestures. Players command each member of their squad in turn to move, attack and defend themselves by simply tapping where they would like them to move or attack. Unlike some strategy games, which allow players to “undo” moves, Hunters 2 forces players to live with the consequences of their chosen actions — good or bad.

Each character has a specific number of “action points” available per turn, which are expended on everything from movement to firing a weapon. Characters carrying heavier equipment have fewer action points to spend, representing their increased encumbrance. Mission objectives vary from having to reach a specific point on the map to destroying specific structures or enemies.

The game’s basic mechanics are very simple to understand, but it’s the application of these mechanics into strategic combat situations that makes the game very challenging. In fact, the harsh difficulty may be a little offputting to those new to the turn-based strategy genre, though a freely-adjustable difficulty level allows for players to find their feet and then crank up the challenge factor when they feel more confident.

Between missions, the player may acquire new abilities for their squad if they leveled up during the previous mission. They may also outfit the squad with equipment purchased from a marketplace, or manufacture their own equipment by choosing a custom name and assigning points to various statistics. Both of these options cost credits, which may be earned at a good rate simply by completing missions, but which may also be acquired via in-app purchase. The game has three available save slots, allowing up to three different squads/campaigns to be on the go at once, but purchased credits only apply to the save file which was active when the in-app purchase was completed.

Hunters 2 is an excellent game with high production values, gorgeous visuals and high-quality sound, and the daily missions give it potentially unlimited replayability even once the campaign has been completed. The adjustable challenge factor, the ability to create custom equipment and the highly tense “permadeath” mode make it an experience likely to keep players coming back for more once it has got their hooks into them — though those looking for an easy ride may find themselves quickly put off by the game’s highly challenging strategic gameplay. All that is really missing from the experience is any sort of multiplayer mechanic, though it does offer Game Center support, with a leaderboard ranking players according to how many contracts they have successfully completed.

Hunters 2 is currently the No. 328 top paid iPad Game and the No. 358 top grossing iPad game following a peak in popularity shortly after its release in mid-March. To follow its progress through the App Store charts, check out AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.