Big Buck Hunter Pro opens its shooting gallery on Xbox for Windows Phone

Before today, I didn’t realize there was something missing in my life. That something is Big Buck Hunter Pro, the new Xbox Windows Phone game from Texas-based Merge Interactive and Microsoft Studios. Now I realize a great truth: I should have been shooting virtual deer all along. They probably deserve it!

Arcade at home

Big Buck Hunter Pro is pretty much a direct port of the actual arcade machine. Though the arcade business itself is pretty much dead, you can run into said machine at pizza buffets and movie theaters here in Texas. The arcade game is a slightly tongue-in cheek representation of the southern American hunting culture. For people who aren’t part of the culture it comes across as intentionally silly, but I get the idea that it speaks quite seriously to certain southerners like Windows Phone Central’s own George Ponder. Despite my southern surroundings, I can't pull off the accent.

Note that the 'Coin-up' feature in which the phone game connects to the arcade leaderboard and profile system seems to be broken right now. Not a huge deal, but I wouldn't mess with it unless you want 'connection failed' messages to pop-up during gameplay. The only real disappointment in this port is that the photos of buxom women on the attract screens seem to be missing. Thanks for protecting us from the scary ladies, Microsoft! The blood on wounded animals is green too. They must be alien deer. :-\

We have to shoot them, or else they'll die

The phone game has three ways to play: 1 Trek, 3 Treks, and Bonus Only. A trek consists of five short levels at a single location. There are two locations available at present, with four more listed as 'coming soon.' Perhaps they'll be PDLC. The goal in each level is to kill all three bucks (male deer, not money) or elk without hitting a doe (a female deer… ray, a drop of golden sun). Shoot a doe (who are presumably not as tasty as the males) and the level ends instantly, forcing you on to the next one.

‘Bonus Only’ lets players choose from any of the bonus games that come up after a trek ends. These include shooting ducks, doves, and most amusingly: frogs, moonshine jugs, gophers, and cow pies. That's a hoot and a holler, yessir boy howdy. Plus each one has its own Achievement. Speaking of which, some of the Achievements in general will be tough as they require perfect accuracy in a game whose hit detection often seems off or at least overly finicky.

Still, Big Buck Hunter Pro is genuinely fun if you enjoy shooting galleries, and it’s awesome to have access to the whole arcade experience on the go. The 3D graphics are a tad simplistic, but so were the actual arcade game's. Plus all three modes support pass-and-play multiplayer for four people.

Big Buck Hunter Pro costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Windows Phone Store.

Update: Okay, so the hit detection is pretty bad, making some of the Achievements even harder than they should be. Casual players probably won't mind though.

QR: Buck

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • For some reason I had a flashback of me playing Deer Hunter...and getting bored 5 minutes after. That was a long time ago, though.
  • Everytime I download it, it freezes my device (L900)
  • This freezes on mine too... (L920)
  • I downloaded it, start it up, choose my game and it freezes (L920)
  • Do you have a 920? Wow! Can you post a brief review, especially on the camera?
  • I haven't played with the camera much yet. I just picked it up yesterday
  • What hapnd to the site? I really liked it for its faster load and to read everything properly!
  • This game is awful. The accuracy of Deer Hunter 3D was so much better, there was more variety. This one can't quite pinpoint where I'm shooting. I constantly miss bucks even thought the green flashbang icon is on their heads when I hit the screen. Also the CONSTANT pop-ups to connect to the Coin-Op service throw off my accuracy.
    Avoid if you can. I'm shocked to say that Deer Hunter 3D is better.
  • Ugh. I spent less time trying this game out than it took to install. Just not fun. Like a previous commenter said, DH3D was more accurate (really wish it had a mode that used the tilt sensors to aim). This is just random picking at the screen - often times the game will say you got a hit (with the green dot) but the deer just keeps on running away.
    Also the music and the voice work is just annoying. Already uninstalled it. At least there was a trial.
  • Why are the reviews so different then the comments people leave. Is WPcentral not trying these games properly before writing the reviews? Are we just rushing news out before other wp sites? Please don't lose your credibility on such small mistakes.
  • I don't really consider this a review, no one should expect a review within hours of release. When Paul does reviews he puts 'Review' in the subject line. I consider this as 'what to expect' based on the iOS game. This site does give negative reviews often.
  • Like BanStyle said, this isn't a review. We don't get access to Xbox Live games any earlier than you do. I played the game for about 15 minutes and provided my first impressions in this article... Which again, clearly isn't a review. Our review will run Wednesday next week.
  • has anyone else had the issue of installing this game and it not appearing in the Games hub?
  • The green on the deer when you hit them are just hit markers. I don't think they are meant to be blood in any way. But they do let you know if you hit the animals. Honestly the hit detection has been fine for me on my L900. There are three deer per level and they come out separately and don't run that fast. You can easily get 3-5 shots off at each deer. And you only have to hit it twice max to kill it. Not hard at all.
  • Not bad and easy archivements but I like deer hunter more.....