Based on a Disney Channel animated series, Gigantosaurus: The Game is the next licensed kid’s game to be published by Outright Games. And you know what? It’s actually pretty fun. Little Charlie is gonna love it.
I’m not familiar with Gigantosaurus as a series or franchise; the announcement of this game was the first I’d heard about it. My young nephew cares about little else but Paw Patrol so my knowledge of kids TV is fairly limited. Yet I’m pretty sure he’ll love Gigantosaurus: it’s bright, colourful, upbeat – and filled with anthropomorphic dinosaurs. What’s not to like?
Gigantosaurus: The Game takes place in the same universe, and features the same characters, as the TV series. In the game, you play as a cast of small dinos – who can be cycled through at any time – and you’re given an open map to explore. It’s not the biggest map, but it’s big enough for a little kid to have a lot of fun with. There are dino eggs to find, pesky enemies to kill, ferocious T-Rexes to avoid, and endless things to collect.
Somehow, the game also manages to shoe-horn in a bit of kart racing, putting your new dino buddies in a range of vehicles and allowing you to drive round a track, collecting boosts to help you snatch victory. It’s hardly the most challenging of racers; your kart effortlessly turns corners, sticking to the track like a low-speed Scalextric. Still, it’s fun. Your kid’ll feel like a champion when they win.
Out in the open world of Gigantosaurus: The Game, there’s plenty to see and do. Its graphics are simple and cartoon-like (what do you expect?) but they’re eye-catching and cute enough to be engaging. As one of the dino posse, players can run and jump around, taking in the environment as they collect hundreds upon hundreds of seeds. There are bouncy plants to jump on, leaves you can grab hold of to float through the air, and sinking logs to allow you to carefully cross over bodies of water. There’s plenty of side-diversions, too, like a basketball hoop that can be interacted with and slide rails that players can ride.
Each dinosaur in your party has their own special ability. One of them can dress up in a disguise, allowing them to sneak past threatening foes. Another has a bit of technical know-how, allowing them to activate lift platforms to reach new areas. Another has a big, strong noggin, which they can use to headbutt down logs to form bridges to reach new areas. It’s all nicely presented, with clear prompts as to when and where you’ll need to switch a character.
For an adult, Gigantosaurus: The Game is an entirely easy game, free of any challenge whatsoever. But it asks for some interesting skill development from kids. In the demo, my main challenge was finding a number of dino eggs and bringing them back to a nest. Everything is marked on the map, and the eggs themselves are highlighted in the world with a beam of light. They’re not difficult to find. Once you’ve picked one up, however, there’s no waypoint to guide you to the nesting area; you’re required to check your map and make sure you’re heading in the right direction. It’s a neat trick to encourage youngsters to figure out how to read a map and use basic navigation skills.
Perhaps the most appealing part of Gigantosaurus: The Game, though, is the fact that it’s multiplayer. Up to four players can join in the same game at once, with an easy drop-in, drop-out interface. As long as you have enough controllers, all the kids can play together, joining in on the same map and same activities. And with a normal mode and an additional ‘easy’ option, it’s a game that almost anyone can join in and have some fun with.
Outright Games has quickly built a name for itself as publisher of tie-in games, but they’ve heavily varied in quality. Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion and Dragons: Dawn of New Riders were surprisingly entertaining, but UglyDolls: An Imperfect Adventure and Race With Ryan left quite a bit to be desired. From my limited time previewing Gigantosaurus: The Game, I think this is going to be one of the stronger titles. Even as an adult, running around the colourful, open landscape was pleasantly enjoyable. Younger kids – around the 5-9 bracket – are going to love it, especially if they already enjoy the series.
Gigantosaurus: The Game will be available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch from 27th March. Pre-order a copy from Amazon.