I would. (edit Feb 12/2012 laugh and a half: read the first comment.) Regular readers know I never do game reviews but I felt like remarking on this one. The game’s called Dino Panic and it’s from GodSeeD Studios, a company so new it hasn’t got much of a website yet nor does it have many Facebook followers. 82 at the time of writing. There they advertise themselves as, “GodSeeD Studios.Delivering Godlike fun web gaming experience!” (edit Feb 12: this is no longer accurate) Well, grammar is hard for some and fun is relative, but I thought I’d try playing it anyway. It’s hosted on a number of sites but I originally found it via OneMoreLevel.com, my work day getaway.
From the get go, I can see what I’m in for: a game misrepresenting history and science. Flintstones aside, humans and dinosaur did not co-exist. Dinosaurs kicked it over 65 million years ago and the first hominids appeared at least 20 million years later. Already reading too much into it? Yes and no. It depends on what kind of history lessons the kids get beyond the game. Are they destined to grow up believing people had dinosaurs for pets? Do their parents believe that? But anyway, the fun begins.
We’re introduced to the characters through a series of storytelling panels. A “red dragon” has killed the man who was supposed to marry a woman from a neighbouring tribe and now it’s up to our hero Barog to finish the ritual and keep his people from going extinct. What a responsibility to throw on someone’s shoulders. It’s all up to you boy… Barog is given the task of finding the wedding gift the groom dropped where he died, a stone necklace. The game itself starts once Barog has that ritual relic and bumps into the dinosaur that will chase him for the duration of play. As for other obstacles to avoid, our hero must leap over rocks, logs, tar pits, other pits and also slide under floating rocks. Why? I check the tutorial:
Things don’t have to make sense here, clearly. Lodestones are naturally occurring magnetized minerals, but as far as I know, they don’t defy gravity with their existence. They aren’t magical nor proof of God’s existence. (Other theory: that line’s merely a reference to Insane Clown Posse) Barog is controlled with the keyboard and to add another level of difficulty (or to give one’s little sibling a role to play in this?) Barog’s pet pteranodon is also maneuverable by mouse. Fly him around the game screen to collect the floating gems. Not being a skilled gamer, I found myself ignoring Tora Pteranodon’s position on screen.
It’s not like he’s flying into anything that will damage him, whereas Barog faces possible doom every few seconds. Tar slows him down and everything else makes him trip or fall to his death. Tora can carry him if you time the jump right and hold the left mouse key down. This becomes an important skill to master once the game gets further along and Barog can’t leap pits in a single bound anymore. That’s as far as I got. When it comes to multitasking, some of us are shittier than others.
It’s a beautiful looking game, though. The cartoon quality of it is very nice and pretty to look at. No expense spared as far as that goes. I guess play would get easier with more practice, too.
Honestly, I find myself craving a less sophisticated, yet more “realistic” game experience, available in the form of Dino Run. The giant asteroid has broken up in the atmosphere (presumably) and burning chunks of rocky death are landing everywhere. It’s up to you to help the little dinosaur escape the fate of his brethren.
Run like hell. Leap over slower dinos, duck into caverns. Hitch rides with pterodons, grab your energy snacks and save as many eggs as you can. If you survive from level to level your egg collecting and snack eating earn you points that can be used to boost your speed and other abilities. I’m not sure how many times I failed before I discovered that. And then I failed again and had to start over with a new little dino to save… Poor little dinos…