Activision caught my attention last year with the latest release of the Dangerous Hunts franchise, so I jumped at the chance to cover Top Shot Arcade, a hunting arcade title that is exclusive to the Nintendo Wii. Top Shot Arcade features 75 shooting galleries across 15 North American locales and features 6 primary trophy animals with a host of supporting trophies.
Top Shot Arcade is sold standalone or coupled with the fabulous Top Shot Elite peripheral. Gamers opting to pick up the game by itself will need to make use of the Wii Zapper in order to easily play the game. Having played both ways, I would spend the extra money for the Top Shot Elite.
Once you get started, there are 2 primary game modes available to play. First is your standard gallery shooting mode that features 1-4 player action in single and multi-gun varieties. This means you can enjoy multi-player without having to shell out for additional peripherals, but you’ll be taking turns. The second mode is called Rapid Hunt, which features a random set of shooting galleries from across the game. The standard gallery modes feature 6 primary trophy animals that each have 3 hunts that consist of 5 galleries and 1 bonus game. Most bonus games require rapid fire, which accentuates the annoyance that you must reload after every shot. The final bonus game is a nice surprise though.
Each individual shooting gallery features a mix of animals that run across the screen. Trophy animals feature a variable point value based on their size and proximity to you. The larger the animal the more points it is worth. The further away the animal is from you when the kill occurs, the more points you score. Small animals are worth 100 points and also refill your ammo. They are a valuable part of achieving high scores so don’t ignore them. Does also run across your screen and you’ll want to avoid shooting them unless you enjoy the penalty of being unable to fire for several seconds. At the end of each level your total points are calculated based on kills, accuracy, and hunting bonus and a medal is awarded.
Top Shot Arcade is made up of all my favorite parts of the latest Dangerous Hunts title, but also takes a few steps back. It is purely shooting galleries and none of the story mode, but the fact that you are limited to a single weapon (that must reload after every shot) really annoyed me. As I got closer to completing the game it became less of an issue and contributed more to the challenge. For some, it may be a dealbreaker. This is also why I preferred using the Top Shot Elite to the Wii Zapper.
In all, I quite enjoyed Top Shot Arcade. It’s on the Wii, so it doesn’t have jaw-dropping graphics and the commentator can get quite annoying at times, but it is a lot of fun. The standalone game comes in at under $30 so it’s really not a huge investment. Fans of hunting titles will definitely want to consider this a purchase, but others may find it shallow.
Pros: Fun, Optional peripheral, Inexpensive, Multi-player
Cons: Slight learning curve