Big Buck Hunter Pro has been one of my all-time favorite arcade games for years. With the relative ease that anyone can pick up the gun and have a good time, as well as the highly competitive nature of the game, this was always a fun bar and arcade game to play with any group of family or friends. And with the push to move all the Buck Hunter arcade machines to large HD TV displays over the last handful of years, it has always been a visually stunning game that's hard to miss in any establishment. So when I was offered the opportunity to review Super Happy Fun Fun's standalone digital console, the Sure Shot HD, to be able to play Big Buck Hunter Pro in my own home, I jumped at the opportunity!
Shortly before the holidays kicked off this year, I received my gaming package in the mail. In unboxing the Big Buck Hunter Pro box set, the kit came with a Bluetooth wireless Sure Shot HD controller (gun) with removable stock (to fit in the box), the Sure Shot HD digital gaming console (small sensor box mounted to the TV) with Big Buck Hunter Pro already loaded, as well as an HDMI cable and USB power cord. The digital console setup was relatively painless, as it was as simple as setting up your Wii sensor bar—picking a location at the top or bottom of your TV screen and sighting in the cross-hairs of the gun. The only annoyance in the setup was getting the USB power cord to work. It was recommended that the console's USB power cord be plugged into your TV itself to draw its power. I was unsuccessful in getting this setup to work on two different TVs, so I grabbed an old phone charger and allocated the USB wall converter for the console, which worked great.
Once the game was up and running, it was everything that I expected it to be! The game experience was exactly the same as the arcade-style game. When selecting your hunting adventure, the game allows you to choose between one and four players—alternating with the one gun what type of animal you wanted to hunt—with different choices in total, including Moose, Elks, Sheep, Deer, Antelopes and Caribous, and how long of a hunt you wanted—choosing between one trek/location or all three in a row for each type of animal. And whenever you finish each of the different treks, you play a fun, random, and surprisingly challenging mini-game like shooting moving targets, groundhogs, corn cobs, and other funny targets. There is an additional mode for two player co-op, but the base console only came with one gun, so I was not able to try it out. I managed to play several raucous and entertaining rounds over the holidays with my extended family at their house, as well as a few multiplayer sessions in my own home, and the game was an absolute blast every time. Whether your style was precision 1-hit kill shots, or whether you're more like my mother with the "spray and pray" machine gun style, there's fun to be had for everyone involved.
One of the features of the system is that you can re-sight in the gun at any time by holding down the pump-action handle for three seconds. This allows for people of varying height and distance from the TV to calibrate the gun to their play session. While this worked well between matches to make small tweaks, there was no way to change it between players during a match, meaning all the players needed to adjust accordingly once the match had begun (which sometimes was easier said that done). This was usually very particular to wherever the person who calibrated the gun was standing, but if you were the recommended 6+ feet away and stood in the same spot, the gun was generally pretty accurate. Additionally, the re-calibrate screen would occasionally trigger accidentally amidst a controller hand-off during a match. While infrequent, this proved to be problematic as the game has no Pause screen, so the hunt's timed screens continue behind the scenes, spoiling the whole adventure unless you're quick enough to complete the calibration on the scoring screen before the next hunt has auto-started.
One benefit of the Sure Shot HD is that the console itself is equipped with online access for additional games and content. Signing up for an account gives you access to online tournaments, live leader-boards, and other promotions to further enjoy your digital console. Additionally, there are even more games available for download from Sure Shot HD's online game shop too, including Major Mayhem and A Thug in Time. The digital console comes equipped with enough memory to store up to twelve future Sure Shot HD games.
All-in-all though, the Big Buck Hunter Pro package was exactly what I was expecting. Despite a couple of hiccups and potential software improvements, the game was everything I was looking forward to, and it certainly lives up to the expectation of the Buck Hunter brand.
The Sure Shot HD digital console is priced at $79.99 for the console and one gun controller, and $39.99 for an additional controller. Everything is available for sale at the Sure Shot HD website, as well as through Amazon.