Carnivores: Ice Age iPad Review

It's one thing to bring down a deer. Killing a Smilodon, on the other hand, is a whole other matter. That's the concept behind Carnivores: Ice Age, a first person hunting sim from Tatem Games. This universal App takes place in the year 2190, where a company called DinoHunt Corporation lets thrill seekers explore a planet teeming with presumably extinct critters. The goal? Bag these suckers and put their carcasses on display in your trophy room.

For the most part, the game plays almost exactly like Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter. After selecting one of five unique locations, you choose the types of animals you'd like to hunt (wild boar, wolves, bears, mammoths) and set off on an expedition, making your way through vegetation, up mountains and around lakes to get the job done. Kill the assigned game, and you'll score points used to unlock new weapons and higher-level creatures.

That said, Ice Age has little in common with more popular first person shooters on the App Store. Run and gun takes a backseat to slow and calculated play, where you scan the environment with binoculars, zero in on your prey and slowly move towards the intended target, paying close attention to the surroundings, wind direction and other animals within the vicinity; wolves literally come out of nowhere. The latter is key, because dying results in a loss of accumulated points for that round.

Meanwhile, the developers included a variety of useful items, like camouflage, radar, the ability to cover your scent and tranquilizer darts (these boost your score). As for the armory, you can wield a pistol, shotgun, double barreled shotgun, crossbow, rifle and sniper rifle, but there's limited ammo, and you only receive one re-supply drop per trip.

Overall, the game's enjoyable, so long as you come to terms with its limitations. There's fun to be had stalking different critters and then zeroing in for the final shot, and the 3-D world (while primitive looking), runs smoothly with little lag.

On the downside, nothing sucks worse than spending upwards of 30 minutes killing wild boars and then getting randomly attacked by a woolly rhino. This is especially true with the relocate feature that lets you jump to a different area within seconds. You'll spawn, then get blindsided; the map shows animal locations, so spawn far enough away.

In addition, it takes quite a while to unlock the best weapons, and having to go back to the same old spot to slaughter ten more wolves gets old fast.

This makes Carnivores: Ice Age a bit monotonous, but it's still one of the best hunting games for iPhone/iPad. Plus, the fact that it's universal and $0.99 means you have little to lose. Just remember that patience is a virtue.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires IOS 3.0 or later.

What's Hot: Universal, $0.99, huge 3-D environments, a variety of animals and weapons to shoot them with.

What's Not: Monotonous gameplay, takes a while to unlock the cool stuff, getting killed.