There’s something about dinosaurs that has had me fascinated in them since I was a sprog. Maybe it’s the incredible diversity in creature that has been discovered so far, or maybe is a morbid curiosity in monsters that I still have today (I freaking love zombies). Whatever it is, it has nothing to do with them being cute. Happy Dinos is cute, almost sickeningly so.
The premise is quite simple at first glance. You have a series of islands and some Dinos to raise and keep happy. This is achieved by first taming them and then training them to do ‘tricks’. I use inverted commas because there are five ‘tricks’ to learn and all of them are rubbish (and serve no function as far as I can tell). To tame and train, there are four mini games to complete. I won’t go into to detail about these but they are largely unoffensive and serve as a fair welcome distraction to the rest of the game.
So what happens after you’ve tamed and trained your Dinos? Glad you asked! Well there are 3000 different types, colours and patterns of Dinos to claim for your collection. These are obtained by breeding any two Dino together in the hope to get a unique beastie from the parents traits. Whilst this started out kind of fun, after a decent extended play I found myself needing very specific combinations but only getting the same type of common Dino every.single.time. This in itself wouldn’t be so bad, but you are limited to thirteen action points at any one time (regenerating one every 5 minutes) meaning you have to play the game every hour if you want to get anywhere quickly.
The saving grace if the game is the massive amount of quests to get through. These always keep you focused on breeding certain types of Dinos or taming x amount of Dinos and are good source of gold as well as more Dinos to diversify your gene pool. Sadly, this really is where the games interest ends. There’s some guff about keeping your Dinos happy and fed otherwise they just sit on their arse and stop breeding but it just serves to make you spend you ill-gotten gains on food in bowls (really?!) and decorations to cheer everyone up. On top of all this, there is the most annoying looping soundtrack you can imagine. So much so that I resolved to completing my review with the mute button well and truly on.
During my playtime, I also encountered some pretty major bugs. One where the game crashed and had somehow deleted all of my stripy T-Rex’s and another that saw me complete all of the achievements for breeding Dinos in one go, not exactly game breaking I know, but a bug is a bug! Some naysayers may complain that I am being overly critical of what could be described as a game for kids. That’s all well and good, but the breeding process is so complicated that I can’t see young children finding anything other than confusion here and slightly older children will find nothing but boredom after a short while from what is little more than yet another soulless freemium title.
+ Plenty to do
– Loses interest quickly