Thanks to Lightwood Games for the review code
Title: Dan Mcfox: Head Hunter
System: 3DS (eShop)
Release date: 06/06/2016
The main game/story
In this game, you help the titular fox catch criminals based on their appearances. Basically, it’s Guess Who. That’s really all there is to say about this game.
The menus somehow ended up even duller than the overly simple ones from The Epic Word Search Collections. You click on a simplistic button and click on the play button to choose your stage. If you hoped the stages themselves would at least have a fancy animation or picture, you’d be wrong. There’s no animation of any kind to speak of, with the artwork of both the suspects on the bottom screen and the titular character on the top screen being nothing but static images that occasionally change poses every once in a while. Speaking of the bottom screen, catching a criminal slaps some jail bars over their faces while the innocent just have a big red X over them. This is nearly as barebones as it can get for a game like this, unfortunately.
Music and Sound
The audio ends up being even worse than before, believe it or not. Literally all you’ll hear in terms of music are generic spy themes that sound as if they were composed in a few moments after the composer finished watching a James Bond movie, which led to me going to the options and muting the background music as soon as I could. The menu navigation sound effect is taken straight from EWSC, but since it did its job there just fine there’s really not much wrong with reusing it here.
However, by far the highlight of this game, for better or worse is the “voice acting.” EVERY SINGLE TIME you tap a potential suspect on the bottom screen, one of two voice actors will say a random line that can range from terrible to laugh-out-loud hilarious. Catch the wrong male suspect? Prepare to hear “NO!”m “WHAT ARE YOU DOIN?” or “YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE” in a fake western accent, over and over again. Of course, if you get the right guy, you’ll simply hear grunts “You got me” or “OW!”. Catching female suspects will have the same humorous effect, with lines such as a weakly stated “Noooooooo” or “Ow”. If there’s something to assume here, it’s the fact that these voices were likely given by the game developers themselves, which while commendable, end up much making the game much more hilarious than it needed to be. Honestly, I couldn’t help but tap the touch screen like crazy sometimes just to hear these epic lines of voice acting. “YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE” is my favorite. Definitely cheesy in a surprisingly charming way… Whether this was intended or not by the developers remains to be seen.
In Head Hunter, your main goal is to go through each of the stages and touch the suspects matching the description given. Whether it’s to catch all wearing a hat or all with red hair, the suspects will be narrowed down before you finally capture the one who committed whatever the stage tells you happened. The main point of each stage however is not to simply catch the criminal, but also to get a good amount of points while doing so. This means that yes, you can’t just tap the touch screen blindfolded and beat every stage in the game. How points work is that from the beginning of the stage, a timer counts down, decreasing the amount of points a correct suspect will give to 50. The faster you catch a correct suspect, the more points you get, with the max for one person being 100. At the end of each stage, your total points will give you a star rating for you to use, and if you fail to get one star you must redo the level in order to progress with the others. This is a neat little way to encourage trying for the best scores, although since the suspects are in the same locations during the stages, it loses the appeal very quickly. Yes, new stages do change things up a bit, but if you try to replay a stage for a better score then you’ll be playing a game of memory simply trying to tap the suspects the second the game lets you do so.
That brings us to the next mode of the game, Roundup. This one has an arcade style to it and it works much better than the main missions. Once again, you must tap the suspects that match the description given, but this time you have an infinite number of suspects to catch, the only thing limiting you is the time limit! Since they are always randomized in this mode, this pretty much means you must quickly and carefully catch the correct suspects, which in turn will increase your score. With an online leaderboard available for this mode, it gives a good incentive to try for the highest score, although there’s usually not many people on the leaderboard in the first place. This mode also has a streetpass feature where you can beat the scores of people you pass, but when I tested it with a friend up here it was pretty much nothing special except for a target score, which was a bit disappointing.
In conclusion, Dan Mcfox is a bizarre game. From a story that seems to border from being a stereotypical spy story to a non-existent story to a main character who really doesn’t do anything, the game doesn’t seem to have much going for it. Thankfully, there are a good amount of missions to take on, and the roundup mode has an arcade-style leaderboard to encourage replay value. Still, for $3, I can’t help but feel this game is nothing more than just your ordinary Guess Who clone that you could likely find on Android in multiple forms already. Nevertheless, if you are a fan of the board game and wanted an arcade feel to it, your wallet won’t really suffer if you decide to buy this game.
I give Dan McFox: Head Hunter a 7 out of 10, and recommend it to fans of the classic board game Guess Who who want an arcade feel added to it!