Enjoy the Big Buck Hunter experience in your pajamas and without the need to carry around a bunch of quarters.

Growing up, I can remember countless hours on the Atari, the NES, the Super NES, Sega Genesis, etc.  Video games, alone or with family, were an incredibly fun use of my free time.  However, I really missed local arcades/hangouts.  Specifically, I missed my local Nickel City, places like Chuck-E-Cheese and our local miniature golf course, who had fantastic games and activities for kids to do.  Now we have a small arcade in our movie theater and still have Chuck-E-Cheese.  Alas, many of the cabinet style games and many of the game styles are now unavailable.  We do have a Big Buck Hunter at our local Wal-Mart and my children absolutely love that game. That is when I let them play it.  Imagine their excitement when I brought home a  copy of Big Buck Hunter Pro.

The product arrived in a very attractive retail packaging. You cannot miss the “BIG BUCK HUNTER PRO” across the top left and the large multi-point buck along the right.  Additionally, you can notice the shotgun controller across the middle. Across the lower right of the cover, you will find the specifications of the game: 1080P HD, Bluetooth Wireless gun, Online tournament play, realistic aiming/accuracy, head-to-head compatible, ability to download additional games from Sure Shot Shop.  Turning the box over to the back, you will see the features of the wireless gun: use the gun like a pistol or add the rifle convertible stock, instant response trigger, rapid reloading pump action, and an accurate aiming site.  The game promises 6 adventures, 18 regions 360 unique levels with the included game.  If you choose to visit the Sure Shot Shop, you can download some additional games (Major Mayhem is free, more about this below).  The box further promises fast and easy set-up.  Simply plug into the TV and Play.  You do not need anything but a power source and a TV, it does not require internet service to play (advanced features require the internet).

Opening the box, you will find the product and accessories attached to a cardboard base with elastic ties.  The wireless gun is present in two pieces.  Remove them and then slide the stock onto the pistol grip controller.  You will also find a 58 1/2 inch HDMI to HDMI cable, a 60 1/2 inch USB-A Adaptor, the instruction manual and two small 1/2 inch velcro stickers and two rectangular 9/16 inch by 4 15/16 inch velcro strips.   Remove everything from the packaging and set them aside.  You will note that there is a battery compartment on the wireless gun.  You will need a Phillips screwdriver and you will need three AA batteries, which are not included.  Remove the compartment, add the batteries and then set the gun aside.  You can install the Sure Shot base in one of two configurations.  If your TV has a USB input and this input is a minimum of 2A, you can plug the USB A cable into the USB port and then the power cable into the back of the Sure Shot base.  If you do not have a USB connector or it is not at least 2A, you will need to plug the device into a wall outlet with a USB-A adaptor. A typical cell phone wall plug adaptor will likely suffice.  Using either configuration, you will need to plug the HDMI cable into the TV and the base.  There is a rather large caution/attention on the power cable, alerting you to the need to use at least 2A of current,

Setup seemed way too easy and took only minutes. Press the little red button on the back of the wireless gun and start to play.  One step that is not mentioned, is the need to adjust the input of your television.  You may need to press the “input” button and navigate to your HDMI of choice on your TV device.  You will then be asked to calibrate the gun. To do this, you will need to shoot red squares in each of the corners.  You will have about 10 seconds to hit each of the targets, one in each corner.  The SureShot hub will need to be placed parallel with the ground and in the center of the TV, either along the top or the bottom.  To improve accuracy, you may decide to use the included velcro strap, to secure the camera device to the base of the TV.  You will need to stand a given distance from the television for the best experience.  The arcade game (not the home version) has a cable that attaches the gun to the cabinet.  This does a great job at keeping the user at the required distance.  Since this gun is wireless, it becomes an instinct/gut feeling.  I personally found that placing a piece of tape on the floor or some device on the floor helped to keep the appropriate distance from the television.

The instruction manual is incredibly user-friendly and was very well written.  It has step by step install instructions and has both diagrams and verbiage to assist you with the setup.  The manual lists for televisions that are smaller than 65″, the tip of the gun should be between 5-8 feet from the TV.  If you are playing on a TV that is larger than 65 inches, the top of the gun should be between 8-10 feet from the television. With the machine on, navigate to “Using a Guest account”. There will be a large go button (triangle inside of circle), in the middle of the screen.  It is important to note that if you use a Guest Account, you lose out on many of the features of the game (SureShot Shop, friend management, game updates).  You can choose to setup an account now or jump right into guest mode.  Again, anything you do in guest mode, although fun, will not be saved and you cannot access many features.

Navigate to the main lobby by pressing the button on the back of the gun.  The wireless gun will be your aiming reticle and the trigger is your action button.  You will be able to access all features of the game from the main lobby.  Use the aiming reticle on the gun to select the app/game of choice or shoot the arrows to move from one option to the other.   Even though you are not required to create a SureShot account, I would recommend the login process, as this will allow you to access additional downloads.  Creating an account is 100% free (there are some paid features, however).  You will need an internet connection to be able to use the extra services.  Select Wi-Fi Access point, enter WiFi password, first/last name, email address and then profile name of choice.  You will need to create a password, choose and avatar and then confirm this account.

This process was not as easy as promised.  I found my WiFi Network but it would not take my 27 characters WPA2 password.  I entered this in manually a total of 10 times.  I made sure my password was correct and I know it was entered correctly.  Unfortunately, it never took the password.  I continued to receive “cannot connect to WiFi” alert.  Luckily, my Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi system has a guest account and I was able to enter a 15 character password and it connected without issue.  After connecting to the internet, the system alerted me to an update.  Roughly 3 minutes was required to download the update and then I was taken to the SureShot hub, where I was able to see 2 games, 1 free (Major Mayhem) and 1 for purchase (A Thug in Time).  The prices were reasonable, but I decided not to buy “A Thug in Time.”  If you press the button on the back of the gun, it will change the type of shop from Premium, Holiday, Add-on ($10 to add on features to the main game), Coming Soon (none currently listed).

If you decide to buy a game, you will need to add a credit card. You can choose to save the card information or you can simply pay and add the information every time.  You have the option to also delete cards at any time, which is a great feature. Any purchases that you make are accessible on your main box and up to one additional box.  If you want to download free games, you do not need to add a credit card.  The game will download and will be accessible through the main lobby, just like the Big Buck Hunter game.

Turning off the game box is a little weird.  You can return to the main menu by pressing the circle button on the back of the gun controller.  Rather, you should be able to return.  I had some issues with getting the game to return to the starting hub.  After 5 minutes of inactivity, the machine will enter into sleep mode and you can unplug it at that time.  To resume playing, turn on the gun (press any button).  To fully disconnect and remove from sleep mode, unplug the DC 5V power plug.  Do not randomly unplug the adaptor, as it may cause data corruption or system damage.  The gun will enter sleep mode after 2 minutes if not within a range of the base or 5 minutes if within range and no activity.  This feature is really convenient and saves batteries.  My children have used this system for 2 hours a day for the last week and I have not had to change the AA batteries. The onscreen display shows a battery widget and after 1 week I still have 75% remaining.

The gameplay is pretty straightforward.  I wanted to absolutely love the game but found that the graphics were not always rendered in HD.  There was a lot of glitching, returning to the main menu, black screens pauses and the black coloration seemed to have a star like feature of changing from black to purple.  On the main hub, there were horizontally ascending bars, which gave the game a sort of 80’s machine appearance.  I do not know if this was intentional or if it was a glitch/problem with my machine.  I tried 3 different HDMI cables and each of the ports on 2 of my TV’s and this never went away.  The coloration was great, except for the black, and the motion proved to be fluid.  You can recalibrate the gun at any time by holding the reload slider.  My children found that the Big Buck Hunter game was really fun, but preferred bonus games instead of missions.  Included with the main game are the following Bonus games: Duck Hunt Bonus (similar to Nintendo version), Pie in the Sky (shoot cow poop), Pappy’s Moonshine Bonus, Gopher Garden Bonus (Caddyshack Gopher), Frog Flipping Bonus, Dove Hunt Bonus, Pheasant hunt bonus, boars gone wild bonus, Mugshot bonus, turkey hunt bonus, clockwork bonus (shooting gallery), Log bonus, quail hunt bonus, Mars needs cattle bonus (shoot UFOS abducting cows), Windmill Mania bonus, Goose hunt, Barrel Bonus, Meteor bash bonus.  You are able to see the add on missions available in the store: Lumberjack bonus, Lemming BonusCorn popper bonus, Smash’N Pumpkins bonus, Off the Rails bonus, Barnstorm bonus.Fish in a barrel Bonus, Mount butmore, Chicken and the egg,  Although they sound fun, I do not know that I will spend the extra $9.99 to get the Open Season Pass.  Time will honestly tell.

The main base can accept up to a 32 GB micro SD card but is currently not supported.  The manual lists this as a future feature.  To download the Major Mayhem game, you will not need a memory card.  After playing this game for 5 minutes, my children stopped playing the animal hunting game.  It is a side scrolling game with a “Time Crisis” feel to it.  Characters shoot at you and you lean out from cover and shoot them back.  Gather upgrades, make kills, shoot enemies hats off, kill chickens, etc.  The game proved to be a very valuable add-on to the main base game.  Although the overall game has a T for Teen rating, my 5-year-old and my 8-year-old had a blast.  Again on the main game, they preferred the Bonus Only mode to the other listed modes: 1 Trek, 3 Treks (Hunting adventure), Bonus Only and Leader Boards.  They had so much fun shooting whitetail deer, ELK, Antelope, Bighorn sheep, moose, caribou (you can download mule deer, bison and mountain goat from the Sureshot shop).  The game will allow you to choose up to 4 players and you can take turns hunting.

Summary:
The game is very similar to the arcade game, and the gun is very similar to the arcade game.  I was not pleased with the black colors and the weird lines that were present at the hub.  I had some significant issues connecting to WiFI, which was incredibly frustrating.  The targeting was very accurate and the overall setup proved to be as easy as they suggested.  I could see this being a perfect addition to a MAME cabinet or at a local church game room or even at a local bar.  The gun is very lightweight and responsive.  I do wish that the controller and the game had a reset button/off button.  It is convenient to have a sleep feature, but having a set on/off switch would be really nice.

The SureShot Shop does have a few additional games and has the Open Season Pack for purchase.  WE found that the Major Mayhem game was definitely worth the free download.  The Thug in Time game sounds great, but I have not yet decided to purchase this.  I may ultimately get the Open Season pack, but for now, the 360 unique levels and the deployability of the Bonus games make this fun.  The levels are not random and you will ultimately learn the movements.  This is more likely on the home game than an arcade as it does not take $1 for each play.  My children and I have really enjoyed this game and we spent more time than I expected running through the levels.  They really took to the game and advanced quickly.  It has become a fight over turns and lately about the need to go to bed.  I will say that Sure Shot HD does have a great game on their hands and I expect it to only get better with further add-ons and upgrades. I would rate the game at 4/5 stars.
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