There is absolutely nothing more satisfying than searching for the animal you’re hunting for hours, stalking the one you find, and then getting a clean, one shot kill.
Now let me qualify that statement. I don’t eat meat. I think the 2nd amendment shouldn’t exist. I don’t believe we were put on earth to rule over animals. I hit a squirrel with my car when I was 16 and cried the rest of the day. But man… Watching that slow motion bullet nail that elk right between the eyes. Satisfaction. This is why I enjoy games so much. They let me do things I’d never do in real life and enjoy the hell out of it.
So Hunting Simulator is exactly that. There’s no story, no other people to interact with (in campaign mode anyway). You can do free hunts where you just go a wandering and shoot all the animals, and you can do campaign (themed) hunts, where you’re given a specific animal to hunt, with occasional secondary objectives of shooting other animals.
Alright, so let’s get into the game:
First things first, character selection. And what a selection it is!
You can be this white guy, Alex. The most Alex looking white guy there ever was. He’s a doomsday prepper.
You can be this white guy, Cowboy Ben. He fights bears.
You can be white lady, Caroline. If you look up “stereotype of female hunter” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Caroline. She can’t match her camouflages.
You can be this white guy, William. William was plucked out of 1800’s England with his fancy mustache to come hunt with you. He looks like a William, doesn’t he?
You can be this white lady, Ann. Ann gives zero shits that she’s out crawling around in the dirt killing animals. She’s going to look damn good doing it.
Lastly, you can be this white guy, Ben. Ben is a dirty granola hippie and looks like he should be a vegan, not a hunter.
The moral of the character selection story is what everyone already knows: Hunting is for white people. Because everyone else buys their meat at the grocery store, like you’re supposed to in 2018.
Now that we’ve chosen among the white people, let’s go hunting.
For a thing/game that relies largely on hearing, Hunting Simulator handles accessibility exceedingly well. If you’ve not spotted a track nearby, you get a little (and not intrusive) nudge that there’s a track nearby.
You can also see tracks for a pretty decent distance if you look through the scope of your gun. Once inspected, tracks guide you, telling you which direction the animal went and how long ago.
Night hunts, while much more difficult, are equally accessible (you have to complete enough campaign hunts to unlock the flashlight before you’ll be able to hunt at night).
You’ll also get a notification if you’re being too noisy and scaring the animals away. For deaf players who might not be naturally aware of this, the little nudge is tremendously helpful. It would be more helpful if they added a noise level indicator, but not having that doesn’t make being successful impossible. Also helpful is the fact that when nearby animals make a noise, a brief directional symbol comes on the screen, so deaf and hoh players never have to miss a thing.
Let’s take a moment here to admire Ann. She really does dress for success here. I mean look at her shirt! And her fancy muck stomping boots. Ann looks like she’s about to go compete in an equestrian event. And then there’s Caroline whose camouflages aren’t even the same pattern.
Also very helpful, accessibility wise, are these subtle white indicators surrounding Ann. They indicate that you’ve been seen or heard, and from which direction. Ann just shot this deer, so naturally every animal in creation is aware of her presence. They fade once the animal starts to run and get farther away from you.
It’s a little hard to see in this image but one last bit of helpful accessibility is this little triangle thing. Each side indicates a type of awareness; sight, sound, scent. If an animal you’ve targeted has seen, heard, or smelled you, the symbol will become red. This is incredibly helpful when shooting something over a long distance because you probably won’t be able to see them look at you.
Hunting Simulator can be boring as hell, wandering for hours looking for one specific animal, but if you’re patient and into that sort of thing, it’s a surprisingly great game, especially considering the lengths the developers went to to make it accessible. And it’s on sale on PSN this week for $15.
Great visual cues
Helpful (and non intrusive) text cues
No speech or dialogue, so no need for subtitles
Game can be fully enjoyed without sound
Text and symbols can be hard to see in bright environments