Hunters 2: Small Unit Mercenary Combats in Space

Hunters 2 is a turn-based strategy game of sci-fi shoot outs in various locals, such as space stations, moon bases and alien worlds. Developed by Rodeo Games, it puts you in control of a squad of hunters, hiring out your skills, one contract at a time.

As the game progresses, each of your hunters gain experience to learn more skills, find loot to better equip themselves and earn the cash with which to purchase gear and new recruits. A menu of new missions is offered up each day, reflecting the mercenary’s changing way of life. Embrace your inner mercenary after the break.

Basic Game

The game takes place on a square grid overlaid onto the terrain of the map. Each hunter gets a number of action points to spend in order to move, shoot and take any special actions they have. You can switch between hunters at any point, allowing their turns to overlap, giving you micro control over coordinated actions.

The variety of weapons and effects is most enjoyable.

The variety of weapons and effects is most enjoyable.

The game board for each setting contain numerous obstacles that block line of site, effectively enforcing a fog of war effect on each hunter. The weapons all have different capabilities, such as range, damage and area of effect, which creates for interesting challenges to get all of one’s unit into positions where they can be effective.

Opponents & Missions

The opponents you face come in two varieties, other hunter units, like yourselves, and the aliens who infest the worlds you visit. The hunter forces are equipped similarly to you and take the same kinds of actions, but the aliens are all fast and all hand to hand. Well, except for the exploding ones!

The contracts refresh on the clock, so you can expect new missions daily.

The contracts refresh on the clock, so you can expect new missions daily.

On some level, each game is the same. You move, you shoot, you win or loose. The variety of mission types however, like rescue the scientist, recover the artifact, clear the area and defend the reactors, brings in a strategic variety which serves to keep things interesting.

Experience & Equipment

I think one of the best elements of this game is that your hunters advance with each mission (even if they fail), and so give you a sense of reward with each game played. They can acquire some really fun skills as they advance, chosen by you, to make each hunter a unique element in play. In addition, all hunters have two specialty skill trees you can develop them along.

Visit the armory to spec out your hunters with gear and skills.

Visit the armory to spec out your hunters with gear and skills.

A successful mission earns you some cash, and as new gear for sale on the mercenary market shows up for a limited time in the trade shop, you can buy or sell off your extra gear. You can buy (recruit) new hunters for your team in this way too. Also, there is a manufacturing screen where you can custom design your own weapons and armor.

Implementation

Hunters 2 is a complete redesign of the first version of this game. Everything works like it should, even seemingly small buttons are set aside in such a way that makes them easy to tap. Occasionally a misstep occurs, due of course to screen size, but because of the way moves are made this has never been a problem for me.

Learning the basics is pretty intuitive.

Learning the basics is pretty intuitive.

If you have ever played and enjoyed the classic combat board game called Space Hulk, you will feel right at home with Hunters 2. In fact, other than the conceptual details like art and the names of gear, Hunters 2 is basically Space Hulk brought to the iPhone, and done so in such a way that it gives me a big grin.

Interface & Art

Some of the best moments in this game are the weapon animations. There is nothing more satisfying than scoring a repeat hit with a terminator minigun, seeing the tracers fly and the endless points of damage ricochet off the target until they fall. Of course, filling a hallway with a torrent of flame from a flamethrower is very satisfying as well.

Lots to choose from in the ever-changing trade screen.

Lots to choose from in the ever-changing trade screen.

On a more technical side, the various interfaces for equipping the team could be improved. When you are in the trade shop, each item displays indications of how much better or worse its stats are than whatever gear the currently selected hunter carries is. But in the armory, the main equipping and training interface, you have to drill down for this info, and do the math yourself.

Game Value

Each day you get new contract missions to take, and you can play them all as many times as you like, win or loose. There is also a short story campaign set of sequential missions, but I prefer the contracts as I get to make more choices about the who and what of my team. Overall there is ton of stuff to play through, and it is all remixed daily to bring you interesting new varieties.

You can flat out purchase more game cash with an in-app purchase if you want to fast track your team to full strength. But I have never felt the need, as it is part of the fun of the game to try and work with what you got, and feel the satisfaction of earning your advancements. In addition, there are a number of “free random gear” clickable ads from time to time in the contracts section, that give you stuff you can use or sell.

Conclusion

For turn-based strategy of small unit combats in space, this is a fantastic game. If you like being able to micro manage each unit member’s actions to make combined, team-level moves, like putting down cover file while others make a run for it, you will find plenty of that in Hunters 2.

To put it bluntly, this game has simply become a part of my daily routine. I take on the contracts as I have time for full games, I check in regularly to see what new gear and recruits are for sale in the ever changing market, and go collect my free gear ad-taps as they appear. It has a sweet blend of action, advancement and long term management that keeps me coming back for more.


Summary

A turn based strategy combat game set in the mercenary future of space.

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