I can succinctly sum up Ice Age Hunter Pro with a single word: Aimless.
What’s so beautiful about this description is that the word “aimless” has multiple definitions, and each definition perfectly fits this unimpressive game.
Aimless: adjective, without guidance
The game starts with a very brief tutorial that has you shoot a few targets, loot some supplies from a tent, and then shoot some targets again. After that, you’re immediately released into a wide-open world sparely populated with Ice Age monsters such as wooly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers.
The game immediately tasked me with hunting down five megacorouses. What on earth is a megacorous? Where am I supposed to find them? Those are two questions that the game left unanswered, so I simply shrugged it off and cut out in a random direction. I slayed two different monsters, neither of which turned out to be a megacorous. It took me another 10 minutes of aimless (there’s that word) wandering before I finally figured out that the map shows the location of the megacorouses.
At least, I think that it does. When I arrived at that location the area was completely barren—not a monster in sight. I wandered around for a few more minutes before I was trampled to death by a wooly mammoth. I respawned with a quest to kill five diatryns.
Just to be clear, I don’t know what a diatryn is, either.
Aimless: adjective, lost
Ice Age Hunter Pro presents itself as an open-world shooter in which you can strike out into the wilderness and hunt down gigantic creatures. “Hunt” is the operative word in that sentence, because you’ll be spending a hell of a lot more time searching than shooting.
After one particularly long foray into the wilderness I realized that it had been well over a minute since I last saw any signs of life. So, I resolved to do a simple experiment: Every time I died and respawned I would set off in one of the four cardinal directions and time how long it took me before I came across any creature. Here are my results in minutes:
- North: 1:45
- East: 0:41
- South: 0:52
- West: 2:20
On average, it took me about 84 seconds of aimless wandering for me to find something to shoot. The game is incredibly barren. Expect to spend long, boring minutes running through empty tundra in search of anything that moves. The low animal population might be fine if there were tracks that you could follow (you’d think that there would be in the snow), but each new pixelated clearing is just as barren as the last.
The game includes a jeep and a snowmobile, neither of which do much to help this problem. The snowmobile is so incredibly difficult to drive that you’re honestly better off on foot. The jeep is manageable, but it burns through gas so quickly that it won’t be long before you have to ditch your vehicle and go back to hoofing it.
Aimless: adjective, not aimed
I’ll just come out and say it: First person shooter games just aren’t suited for tablets. The controls for Ice Age Hunter Pro were so unwieldy that I often died after being stampeded by whatchamacallits long before I could line up my sights. It’s possible that I’m just not cut out for tablet-based FPS games, but I can still say without any shadow of a doubt that Ice Age Hunter Pro is never going to win any awards for intuitive controls.
Aimless: adjective, purposeless
Games usually have a purpose. Games like Final Fantasy emphasize plot and character development. Games like Minecraft remain open-ended, leaving it up to the players to explore and create as they see fit. Games like Candy Crush pit the player against increasingly complex puzzles.
Ice Age Hunter Pro lacks that underlying purpose. Shooting animals gets you experience, which you can spend at camp to get upgrades. Ultimately, though, nothing about the game changes. There’s no plot, no other characters to interact with, and no reason to go out and hunt animals beyond the fact that it’s the only thing you can do in the game.
If you truly want the Ice Age Hunter Pro experience but don’t want to invest the money, just drive to the nearest wooded area and spend a few hours wandering aimlessly through the wilderness in search of a deer. It will be just as boring and unproductive as playing Ice Age Hunter Pro, but at least you’ll get some exercise and fresh air.
Expect to spend at least 90% of your time looking for things to shoot.