Gigantosaurus: The Game Review
Gigantosaurus The Game by Cyber Group Studios is an upcoming collectathon platformer in the same vein as classics like Banjo Kazooie and the 3D Mario games, but with one big red flag attached to it: it’s a licenced title based on a children’s TV show.
You play as one of the four main characters from the show: Mazu, Bill, Tiny and Rocky, with the goal of finding lost dinosaur eggs and returning them to their nests. You’re also following the enormous Giganto across Cretacia to unblock a volcano that has been plugged up by a meteorite. The game never really goes into detail as to why we need to follow this monster, but apparently it’s important. Gigantosaurus supports four-player local co-op in a similar drop-in-drop-out mechanic as the Lego games, with each player controlling a different dinosaur. In single-player mode, you can cycle between each character when you need to use a particular ability, but for the most part you can beat the game without ever switching.
You have your standard actions here: running, jumping, interaction and attacking, though you won’t do much of the latter as most enemies can be avoided altogether. Each character has their own unique ability, although Bill’s is so vague it essentially boils down to “interact with all the things your friends can’t”, and Tiny the triceratops’ ability is to just jog at loose logs and knock them down. There’s also bare-bones kart racing segments where you race the other characters between levels on a linear track, but there’s no difference between racers or karts and just comes down to who knows the track best. It felt like the developers couldn’t decide whether to make a platformer or a kart racer and ended up trying to squish both into one title.
The main thing you’ll be carrying out is basically an escort mission for eggs. You have to complete a short platforming puzzle (I use that word very lightly), reach the out of place egg and take it back to the nest. I was so thankful that even though each level has ten eggs in total, you only have to find four to move on to the next area. There are a heap of collectables in each level as well, though none of them get you anything other than some concept art and character statues, which you can look at from the main menu for all of five seconds before realising you just wasted half an hour obtaining them.
The background music is lively and whimsical, but ultimately forgettable and it faded away into the back of my mind after a few minutes. For some reason, the music and effects stop when the game is paused or the map is opened. Not fade out slowly or drop in volume, it’s an abrupt cut off of all noise that feels like there was supposed to be something in there, but was just never added.
On the topic of sound, the effects for most things feel like placeholders for what they actually wanted to use. Riding in a boat sounds like someone left a tap dripping into a bucket somewhere in the studio, while the “victory music” for when you return an egg to its nest is more like someone started to play Hot Cross Buns on the piano and stopped after the fourth note.
The animations aren’t much better than the sound effects. The attack animation is somehow done worse than the Tail Whip animation from Pokemon Sword and Shield, although I got the distinct impression they were aiming to recreate the attack from Croc and failed miserably. Running and jumping also feel slightly off, with this awkward floaty feeling when you're flying through the air that made me overshoot more than a few jumps early on.
The level designs were pretty generic and forgettable, until I got to the last couple of areas at least. The second to last level is a weird as hell mix of the base of the volcano and a glacier, which logically makes absolutely no sense but looks bright, colourful and amazing. It’s also the only level that doesn’t feel washed out by one colour, usually a dark, brownish green.
I was about ready to rip into this game for a thousand words, but then the final level came around and I was given a small nugget of hope for what this game could have been. It’s the only level where you’re not collecting eggs just for the sake of moving on to the next area. Instead, Giganto is trapped by lava and you have to rescue him by dropping large boulders into the river of molten rock around him to set him free.
Up until this point you could have breezed through each level in ten to twenty minutes without needing to change characters for a specific ability, but here, each boulder requires the abilities of a different character to reach and pull the lever to release the rock. It wasn’t the most amazing platforming I’ve ever played, but it was far and away the best part of the game and I wished they had used this kind of level design in the rest of the game.
I think if I could describe Gigantosaurus concisely it would be “unfinished, but with potential”, which is not what I expected to think going into this one. It is very clearly aimed at kids who watch the show, and the target demographic for that audience won’t care in the slightest about the problems I had with it. That being said, I can’t recommend this game at full price, even for young children, when there are plenty of better titles that aren’t as expensive.
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