Big Buck Hunter Pro pulled over Windows Phone 8 incompatibility

The Windows Phone 7 version of Big Buck Hunter Pro has a few rough edges, but I still enjoyed it overall. Light gun-style games, i.e. shooting galleries, are just plain fun. And heck, the combination of shooting defenseless animals while an announcer grossly mispronounces everything he says, how can you not love that? Unfortunately, though, the game has just been pulled from the Windows Phone Store.

Online woes

At first glance, one might think Big Buck Hunter Pro had been pulled due to its Coin-Up online mode. Coin-Up is supposed to allow players to create a network account that gets shared between this game and the arcade version, or access their existing arcade account. Sadly, the feature is one-hundred percent broken, as the game can never connect to the online server needed to make it work.

However, Coin-Up mode is a relatively minor feature and unlikely to result in excessive customer dissatisfaction. Besides, the problem seems to stem from cut-rate WP7 Xbox Live backend servers. These servers afflict a number of Xbox Windows Phone games from multiple developers, including Carcassonne, Battleship, Gun Bros, Contract Killer, and Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst. Until Microsoft rectifies those server issues, online features just won’t work right in Windows Phone games.

Update: I successfully connected to Coin-Up mode after posting this article. It seems that if the 'username' (a 10-digit numerical value) you choose for yourself has already been taken, you'll receive a vague error. Try a different username and see if that works.

No hunting for Lumia 920 and HTC 8X owners

The real nail in Big Buck Hunter Pro’s coffin stems from its incompatibility with Windows Phone 8. The game plays fine on Windows Phone 7 devices, other than some devices experiencing frame rate issues. Booting it up on a Windows Phone 8 handset and you’d think it worked fine there too, until you tried to actually start a level. At that point, it hangs on a loading screen, never to recover.

Considering that Windows Phone 8 has just launched, the last thing Microsoft wants is for players to pick up a game listed in the new releases and find it broken. Thus, it seems they pulled it until the problem can be fixed.

We should note that a handful of other Xbox Windows Phone 7 titles don’t play nicely with WP8 either. Dodonpachi Maximum doesn’t work at all, Shoot 1UP crashes intermittently, and Bullet Asylum runs at twice the intended speed. It will be interesting to see whether these games get pulled as well. Since they’re not as new as Big Buck Hunter Pro, they may just get quietly patched without a fuss.

The game itself

Big Buck Hunter Pro

Big Buck Hunter Pro is a faithful port of the popular arcade gun game. Gameplay modes include Single Trek, 3 Trek Adventure, and Bonus Only. Each trek contains five short levels taking place at a real-life American hunting location. The object within a level is to shoot its three male animals while avoiding any females. Bonus Only mode contains six (often humorous) minigames which would normally be found at the end of each trek. For more details, check out our full review.

Hunting season to reopen soon

We’ve reached out to Microsoft and developer Merge Interactive for comment on when the game will return to the Windows Phone Store. Don’t worry, virtual hunters; it should be back before you know it.

Thanks to Mark Tepper for the tip!

Paul Acevedo

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!

  • I know lots like this game, but it's about time that they pull terrible games like this. And I am happy, NOW they have REAL gameloft games like nova 2 and mc4. :-)
  • WP8 app compatibility issues with WP7 titles (and backend MS recompiler)....who would have guessed! ;)
  • Nice work Sheeds!
  • MS developers are just too lazy...whether it is the forward compatibility or the backward -_-
  • It wasn't developed by MS
  • who shud i blame ? :-\
  • Yourself.
  • That's 'should' and 'I', just so you know.
  • Crimson Dragon and Splinter Cell do not work either.
  • will it be a wise decision to buy a wp8 rite now knowing most apps would underperform or not perform at all ???
  • It's not most games or apps; just a few. These issues will likely be sorted out within the next few weeks, anyway.
  • Never mind some daft game, kindle is not working:-(
  • I've been waiting for some resolution to this, i was stunned after trying to reinstall it on my 920 like 8 times with the same problem. Hopefully it comes out again soon, in the mean time, I'm enjoying Angry Birds Star Wars :)
  • Kindle works for me, but I cannot play Sid Meier's Pirates!
  • I jus started my downloads on the purchase history. It says my hardware doesn't support the game (and the app store is missing the game). I have a freaking Lumia 920, how does my LG Quantum beat it out in any way? I am ticked, as I just bought the game because it was on sale last week. Anyone know if Microsoft has a fix coming soon?
  • We do clearly state that the game has been pulled and will be returning soon. What's left to wonder, other than the date it's coming back (which noone knows)?
  • Which marketplace is this actually referring to? Windows Phone 7 or 8? I still only have a WP7 but it is still in the marketplace? If you are referring to Windows Phone 8, many games have already been removed from the Marketplace. Likely because they were test on WP8 and didnt work. My guess is because Buck Hunter Pro was released recently it didnt receive the testing and slipped under the radar. Still unsure the article is unclear.