Koala Hunting: The Game

posted Oct 24, 2014, 3:16 AM by Viktor Zólyomi
The following review was penned by Jonathan Parker and was originally published in the Con City Gamers' Magazine. Images were removed due to their offensive nature.

ConSoft LLC has done it again. The company that mocked democracy by allowing you to conquer the world as a corrupt politician has made yet another game that has angry parents petitioning for the reestablishment of a strict censorship system. The game is called Koala Hunting, and it's exactly as offensive as you'd expect.

Koala Hunting: The Game is based upon the popular documentary series of the same title. However, unlike in the documentary where koalas are almost nowhere to be found, the game features them in abundance. Another thing that the documentary lacks but the game offers in spades is weapons. Reason being, that the aim of this game is to exterminate the koalas.

You play as Max Ammo, a former war veteran turned hunter who is called upon by the government to save the world from the koalas who are trying to take over the planet. And by saving the world they mean killing all the koalas before they kill humanity first.

The premise, namely that animals that spend seventy percent of their time sleeping and are in general not very agile are expected to pose a threat to a species that has invented nuclear bombs, selfies, and the internet, is laughable. Yet it is not the implausibility of the premise that offends the most. Rather, it is the fact that you are essentially exterminating an endangered species. Defenders of the game are quick to use phrases such as “satirical game” and “not to be taken seriously”, but the fact remains that poachers and whale hunters around the world are being encouraged by this game and that is not a good thing.

The gameplay itself follows the rules of traditional first person shooters. You run, you shoot, you run, and you shoot some more. You die, you reload, and then you shoot some more. You die again, you yell at the screen, and then you reload and shoot some more. While the difficulty of the game is rather frustrating and prominently displays ConSoft's inability to develop a properly balanced first person shooter, you'll be rather pleased to know that you only have to put up with it for about two hours. That is the total length of the single player campaign. Expect bloggers to flood the internet with angry video reviews and fifteen-minute speedrun videos.

The game offers a staggering variety of weapons. You start out with a shotgun, a most uninspired choice, which you're stuck with for the first half of the game. Eventually, an arsenal of the insane opens up to you including exotic tools of death like the Knifezooka, a rocket launcher that hurls exactly one hundred knives towards your target in a single shot. If you want something with a higher rate of fire there is also a fully automatic machine gun that fires knives instead of bullets, and a pair of submachine guns that also fire knives. In other words this is a game made for knife enthusiasts.

If you like the sound of the Knifezooka, don't get your hopes up. You don't acquire it until the very last level of the game, leaving you with a limited time to actually use it. A “new game +” mode would have helped, perhaps, except no one in their right mind would play this game a second time.

In terms of presentation, the sound design is tolerable but the music is repetitive and the graphics are worse. The game looks far from realistic with low polygon counts in both the environment and the enemy models. Level design is about as uninspired as your starting weapon. Every level takes place in the jungle. Occasionally you might run across ancient ruins that seem based on ancient South American architecture which, needless to say, makes very little sense and just feels like it was put there for variety's sake. Bushes and rocks can be used as cover and you'll do well to make use of them. While your health regenerates, the enemies do so much damage it's very easy to die.

The koalas you fight in the game throw rocks and sharpened eucaliptus leaves at you which do a lot more damage than you'd expect. On later stages they throw brown colored rocks which do damage over time; I shall leave it to you to consider the implications of that. However, if you manage to avoid these slow moving projectiles you will have little trouble dispatching the koalas as most of them don't move at all and are therefore easy targets for your barrage of knives and shotgun shells.

You are not limited to massacring koalas, either. Activists of an environmentalist group called Koalahuggers are trying to protect the koalas from you with flame throwers. If that wasn't enough, on later levels you encounter black ops soldiers who appear to be mind controlled by the koalas. These are very dangerous adversaries that can kill you in one hit. The worst enemy is the final boss known as King Koala, a giant koala running around in a secluded glade trying to stomp you into the ground like a worm. It is unrealistically fast and takes a massive amount of punishment. If you enter the final area without full ammunition, don't expect to survive.

Beyond being the most offensive game in recent memory, Koala Hunting's biggest failing lies in the poor game mechanics. The health regeneration kicks in very slowly and there are no health packs anywhere in the game. The tutorial is awful and inaccurate. For example, it claims that you get a damage bonus for headshots, however, in practice a bug in the collision detection prevents you from registering a hit on the heads or limbs of the enemy models. In addition, you cannot jump, cannot swim, and cannot even play the game with a friend in co-op mode. With no one there to share your burden of suffering through the madness of Koala Hunting, playing the game feels like a chore worse than housecleaning.

The final insult comes to you in the form day one paid DLC. Two of them, to boot. The first is a new weapon called the Koala Cannon. As the name implies, it fires koalas. Because the game wasn't offensive enough without it, and because the Knifezooka wasn't outlandish enough, apparently. The second DLC is the Koala Player Skin, which replaces the regular skin on the player character with that of a koala. Allow me to remind you, this is a first person shooter. You're basically paying for a pair of koala fur gloves if you buy this DLC. At least it's not a Kevlar vest for the koalas.

The final verdict for Koala Hunting is a disappointing three out of ten. Not the worst game ever made, but still quite mediocre. Those of you who find pleasure in a game with poor mechanics and/or in the extermination of an endangered species will certainly enjoy ConSoft's Koala Hunting despite its shortcomings. People without such glaring mental issues would however do better to just wait for the next Pipe Software game instead.


Comments