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DinoSystem Preview: A Hardcore Survival Game With Dinosaurs

DinoSystem is a challenging 2D survival game where you live on an island filled with dinosaurs. Will you survive, or will you become extinct?

DinoSystem is an indie 2D ecosystem simulator, and survival game, where players survive as a human on an island inhabited by dinosaurs. It is developed by Capribyte Studios and published by Black Shell Media. This game is fun, but difficult, especially since it uses realistic survival mechanics (ignoring the fact that humans didn't exist at the same time as dinosaurs). 

The game is only in its alpha stage. While it's fun to play, the game still has many improvements it needs to make.

The Good

The game has very impressive, intricate, and realistic mechanics.

The survival mechanics are very in depth and realistic. If you're too cold, you can't sleep. If it's too hot, your character will sweat, which in turn will make you need to drink more water. You can't light a fire in the rain. If your stomach is too full, you can't run. You also can't just eat fruits to survive, you also need protein, which you have to get from hunting dinosaurs.

The dinosaurs' AI is very realistic. They will eat, sleep, drink, and reproduce. The carnivores, such as the T-Rex, will hunt for other dinosaurs, even hunting young members of their own species if there's overpopulation. Dinosaurs have a life cycle, and will hatch from eggs, grow, and die of old age, instead of simply spawning in. Killing off too many dinosaurs can upset the balance of the ecosystem, and even make species extinct. Their AI seems surprisingly intelligent. I've often had to fight to protect my fresh kill from hungry Troodons looking for an easy meal.

The environment changes according to the weather and seasons. Lighting can even start wildfires. In summer, lakes and ponds can dry out. The hours of daylight and night are affected by the season. Weather is also influenced by the season.

You can tame dinosaurs. Although at the moment, only Troodons are tameable, the system will be expanded upon in future updates. There will be the ability to used tamed dinos to hunt and more.

The Bad

The instructions are unclear and the tutorial is extremely long. It's still in the works and lacks a lot of important information, like how to light a fire and fish. After finishing the tutorial, you still might not know what to do or what you're doing.

The walk controls are confusing, disorienting, and feel unnatural. While the game uses the typical WASD keys to move, the way the actual walking works is weird. You use "W" to move forward use "A" and "D" to turn your character while pressing "W" at the same time to move them in the direction you want. Luckily, there's an option to change directions using the mouse instead.

Equipping items or simply picking them up requires you to constantly directly open up and move items in the equipment menu. This gets very tedious to do. You can't just click on an item and hold it. Perhaps this should be replaced with a new interface that's easier to use and quicker to access.

Certain actions are very difficult to accomplish, especially since success seems very luck based rather than based on the skill-level. I almost bled to death because I kept failing at performing first aid. It also took me forever to light a fire, because I kept breaking rocks and had to go out to find more. I needed a fire to cook my meat, but since it was so difficult to start a fire, I usually just ate the meat raw. My suggestion would be to have these actions just take longer to accomplish, instead of having an extremely low success rate at lower levels.

Overall

I really like DinoSystem and I find it to have done the survival mechanics really well, and the animal AI is really interesting and detailed. However, it needs some improvement on its controls, interface, and skill system to make it more intuitive. There is a lot of potential in this game, and the developers update the game quite often. I'm sure that soon, with some polishing, DinoSystem will be an excellent and solid game.

For more information about the game, check out DinoSystem in the Steam Store.

Published Jul. 5th 2016

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