October 11, 2013
There is no spoken story to speak of, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t one. By examining the skies and looking at the hovercrafts, it becomes apparent that the game takes place in the future on a planet that is not Earth. The skies hold large, ringed planets and hovercrafts suck up your trophies to larger, floating platforms that you alone can visit. Though that’s about as much of a story that you will get, but it does leave enough for the imagination to wonder.
The gameplay is rather simple, but it has some interesting challenges. You start the game with two items: an electronic map/binoculars and a rifle. For the first few hunts you will have to search high and low for signs of a dinosaur. Though it’s generally easier to just wait by a water source, you can also choose to look for and follow tracks or listen for their footsteps and cries.
Your electronic navigator can double as binoculars (more helpful than you would think), but it also has the ability to let you know if your victim hears or sees you. If you are not careful, the prey will turn tail and head for the hills. Though frustrating at times, a dinosaur will usually spot you before you spot it. Some dinosaurs like the T-Rex may even come after you and kill you if it happens to spot you or if you don’t kill him first. Though not new to hunting games, it gives the game an additional sense of adventure and danger.
As you accumulate kills, you are rewarded with money. Sadly, you will be lucky to get more than six dollars for the first few kills, but as you save you will be able to unlock upgrades such as new weapons and extra features like radar for your electronic map. One of the more enjoyable upgrades allows you to see the weak spot on a dino once you have your sights trained on it.
Some of the weapons you unlock are the crossbow and sniper rifle. The purpose of the sniper rifle is self-explanatory, but the crossbow allows you to perform silent kills. This means a misfire will not scare your prey as easily or attract unwanted attention, but it also requires more finesse to use. You can also spend money to acquire a trophy license. With this license, you can bag your kill and send it to your hovering display platform.
If you happen to be displeased with an upgrade, you can unselect it to get all of your money back. It’s a very thoughtful and useful feature if the dinosaur you are hunting needs to be approached differently.
Each kill also rewards you with trophy points. These points are used to unlock new, more challenging areas to hunt. However, the more upgrades you use, the fewer trophy points you will win. This is where selecting and de-selecting your purchases comes in handy.
One of the largest gripes of Carnivores HD is the lack of game modes. You can hunt, you can look at your trophies, compare stats online, and that is about it. And while hunts are fun at first, it does get old after a little while. New environments are nice, but unless they are full of fog there is little reason to actually care. New levels do mean new prey to hunt, but there are about only five dinosaurs in total and that’s the major issue. You can only hunt the same few creatures so many times before the game gets stale.
Visually, Carnivores HD is a fairly pretty game. Though it by no means pushes the envelope, each dinosaur, floating planet, and environment looks genuine. The only exception would be the hands of your character which suffer from sharp, hard lines.
Unless you enjoy hunting the exact same prey over and over or you love grinding for small upgrades, there is little reason to play Carnivores HD for long. After about three or so hours, do not be surprised if you move on to another game.
While an interesting concept, Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter HD falls flat. With very few dinosaurs to hunt and the amount of time it takes just to unlock a simple upgrade, this game is for very few people. Still, if you like dinosaurs then it might be worth a look.