Take a look at the screenshots for Bounty Hunter: Black Dawn (out now, $2.99). Now read what it’s all about — a first-person shooter and RPG hybrid with a futuristic-Western setting, featuring colorful 3D comic book graphics. I bet you immediately thought of console hit Borderlands, right? I wouldn’t blame you if you did, because that’s exactly what it is.
Before you dive into the action, you must choose one of the four available classes, plus whether you want to play as a guy or girl. That’s all the pre-game work because right after, you start with a series of mini missions. There isn’t much of the controls or gameplay explained, but players should get the gist fairly quickly, especially if they are veteran iOS gamers.
I can’t stress how similar Bounty Hunter is to Borderlands. The role-playing element is deeply integrated here, where your shooting skills are just as important as your weapon class. Every little detail that’s easy to relate back to the console hit is present — the way the hit points come out of the enemies when you shoot them, the classes that match your playing style (sniper, support class, or tank), and much more.
But copying ideas isn’t always bad for gamers — think Gameloft, who are infamous for their copycat style of publishing. Of course, this only works out when it’s done right. Bounty Hunter has adapted some parts well and some parts quite badly. I’ll start with the good. You have that sense of urgency to keep pushing through the game to earn loot and to unlock more, better weapons as the game goes on. The weapons vary in reload speed, range, damage, and all the rest of it, so it seems like you would find your perfect fit sooner or later. But you always want more.
The second selling point of Bounty Hunter is its online multiplayer. Despite the obvious lag, it features 4-person co-op and 8 persons PvP. The team task mode will help you “upgrade rapidly with strategic team dynamics,” quoting the game’s info page. It certainly sounds interesting, and the few matches I’ve actually managed to play certainly make the case for it. But an online mode is as useless as a comb for a bald dude (for lack of a better phrase) when there isn’t anybody to play with. I had to try multiple times and different points in the week to find somebody to play with.
The missions are almost as dull as the online multiplayer. In almost every mission, you have to go somewhere, shoot the enemies, and collect a few ‘widgets.’ Repeat. The graphics are relatively vibrant and give the game some much-needed life, but the actual models aren’t anything special.
Before I leave you to make the decision of whether to hit that ‘Buy’ button or not, I must note one thing — the lazy spelling and grammar. I assume the developers didn’t use a spell checker, because there are a few mistakes that I couldn’t help but include in this review. The first I can let pass — in the settings menu, there is ‘sensitive’ instead of the appropriate ‘sensitivity.’ The next two, well, I’ll leave you to make your own judgment — ‘assautl’ instead of ‘assault,’ and ‘icreases’ instead of ‘increases.’
iFanzine Verdict:Bounty Hunter is a clear clone of the console hit Borderlands. Whether that’s a good thing relies on whether it applied the features well to iOS devices. For some of it, such as the whole upgrade system and need to play for more loot, are well adapted. But for the most part, it’s not so good. The barren online multiplayer (not to mention slightly laggy) and incredibly dull mini missions make it difficult to recommend Bounty Hunter.