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Full disclosure: I am not a hunter. I have never killed a deer. Not that I wouldn’t. Just never had the opportunity to do it. I have been on a couple of dove hunts, which was fun – kinda like fishing, but with noise and violence. But as far as deer hunting goes, my direct experience has been limited to one, unfortunate morning where, at the crap of dawn, I arose, got into the warmest clothes I owned, and went out into the freezing drizzle to sit on a stump until the air had just warmed up to the point where my fingers weren’t numb. The deer were smart enough to stay home, or wherever deer go when the weather’s miserable.

I bring this up, because I can now shoot Bambi as often as I like, with absolute impunity, from the comfort of my home or office with the iPhone version of the iconic Deer Hunter game. Think of it as virtual hunting.

Deer Hunter 3D 3D gives you a 3D (duh) wooded field, a gun with a scope, and some helpful hints to bring down your trophies with a single shot. Enter the game, and you’ll see a detailed 3D environment, with a number of deer, along with a floating target. Drag the crosshairs over the target of your choice, and engage the scope to go into zoom mode. Get the kill and you’ll earn a trophy. Miss, and watch the entire herd of deer vamoose into the horizon. Get past your first kill, and you’ll take a break, going after a bunch of squirrels.

That’s about it for the free version. In the paid version, you can go on quick hunts or hunting trips. You can also take advantage of in-app purchases, to buy more weapons – a crossbow, semi-auto shotgun, AK-47 (!), .50 pistol, blowgun, black powder rifle, compound bow, single shot rifle, and a standard shotgun.

So…is it fun? If you’re a hunter, you bet. If you’re not into hunting…it’s still pretty cool. The 3D is pretty amazing, in that you’re playing a game on a phone. (Granted, it’s a pretty amazing phone, but it’s still a phone.) As I noted, I’ve not had a real deer in my sights (Bambi is safe, for now) but given my time at the range, the behavior of the app’s scope seems (forgive me) dead on-target.

Until Apple adds “Smell-O-Vision” to the iPhone and you can experience the smell of the forest, that distinctive combination of gun oil and gunpowder, and of course that memorable odor of deer musk, Deer Hunter 3D is about as real as you can get, unless you head out into the great outdoors. If you’re a hunter with an iPhone, you’ll enjoy Deer Hunter 3D. If you’re the type that likes shooting games, but don’t fancy early mornings in the woods, Deer Hunter 3D is a great way to keep from getting nature on you, while still experiencing the thrill of a deer hunt. Recommended.

Title: Deer Hunter 3D

Rating: * * * * (out of five)

Price: Free version available, $1.99 (for a limited time only in the iTunes App Store)

Requirements Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later.

Summary:The standard against which other hunting games are judged. The free version is enough to whet your appetite for venison, but you’ll quickly want to spring for the paid version to really appreciate the game. In-app purchases allow for more guns/more fun.


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