Ready, aim, fire!

Bowmaster HD is the iPad adaptation of Bowmaster for the iPhone and iPod Touch, in which you fire arrows from a virtual bow at moving targets while competing against Robin Hood's "Merry Men."

Bowmaster HD is the iPad adaptation of Bowmaster for the iPhone and iPod Touch, in which you fire arrows from a virtual bow at moving targets while competing against Robin Hood's "Merry Men."

Bowmaster's 3D, first-person arrow-firing interface works fairly well: you control the position of your bow with your left thumb, pull back on the string with your right thumb (lifting to release an arrow), and adjust your view up, down, left, and right by tilting your device. The game's premise is that you're trying to win a series of archery competitions against the "Merry Men," firing at wooden wildlife targets (e.g., deer, moose, bears, etc.) that move on tracks. You have to win two timed matches against a Merry Man to advance to the next one, and you score points based on how hard your arrows hit as well as the distance, size, and speed of the target. (The free iPad version only has two Merry Men, and you have to pay $1.99 to unlock three more. The $0.99 iPhone and iPod Touch version has all five.) The game has a short tutorial with trajectory guides that help you aim, but once you're competing against the Merry Men, you have to practice a good bit to hone your accuracy.

Bowmaster's gameplay is repetitive and fairly limited, even if you unlock all five Merry Men, and the interface has some minor shortcomings--for example, if your thumb slides offscreen, you can unintentionally release an arrow, and the iPad version is much more tiring for your hands and wrists. That said, Bowmaster does succeed at providing a fairly fun and convincing archery experience. If you like archery games, it's worth checking out this free download.

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