It's always refreshing to see new contenders in the video game market who bring unique ideas to the table. Reptoid Games does an excellent job of this with their first ever title Fossil Hunters. The five man studio from Toronto even proved their worth to gaming powerhouse Ubisoft after becoming a featured winner in the Ubisoft Toronto's Indie Series in 2017. A lot of hard work, long hours, and a kickstarter later- Fossil Hunters is officially hitting Steam on February 13, 2018. Put simply, Fossil Hunters allows the player to do exactly as the title says- hunt fossils. However it is the well-implemented fossil assembly concept that really makes this title worth your time.
The game starts out with an elite fossil hunter arriving at a dig site only to realize that the entire area has been nearly destroyed with no another human in sight. Armed only with your tools and requests from a mysterious radio entity known as the collector, you set out to complete all the skeletons that you can. Overtime your field journal slowly fills displaying objectives you've been assigned, notes from the missing research team, sketches, power-ups and secrets that you may uncover along the way. The journal is not only filled with information about each level but also contains descriptions for each member of the missing fossil hunter team. I found a lot of these descriptions to be hilariously witty and thoroughly enjoyed trying to collect additional information to fill my journal.
The fossil digging schematic is one of the many delightful features that makes this game unique. The use of a modular system allows the player to build dinosaur skeletons based on a preset layout. Upon finding a fossil, dragging it on top of the preset layout will cause the piece to "snap" into place and glow in blue. Completing these skeletons advances the game and allows you to venture deeper into one of the 30 levels hidden below. Along your journey you can expect to not only find fossils while digging, but also the occasional treasure or wearable item for your character.
So what else can you do with all those fossil pieces that you uncover? Aside from the fossil building in the main story there is also a sandbox mode. As fossil pieces are discovered they become an available option for designing your own unique skeleton. Want a skeleton with 6 legs and two heads? You can make that here. This is very fun to experiment with and will be especially enjoyable for those of you with a creative side.
I know what you're thinking- what if you don't like playing solo? No problem! Fossil Hunters also features a 4 player local co-op mode that allows you to work together to finish skeletons. At the start up screen simply have the additional players opt in before clicking to continue and it works like a charm.
The music in Fossil Hunters is another aspect that I was really impressed with. The game is set to an original soundtrack played by a real orchestra. Robby Duguay (who also did the music for Graceful Explosion Machine if you were a fan of that) does an excellent job at establishing the light and airy nature of the world. My only complaint is that the music does get a bit repetitive. In the 10 levels that I played through prior to writing this review, the music was the same for each area. While the music is good, I do have to admit that I found myself wanting something different after a playing for a few hours.
Another notable feature of the game is that you are able to choose from 4 different characters with different color variations. For a game of this nature I found this option to be very surprising and a good addition. You won't be able to make your character look just like you, however you will be able to find one that suits your liking.
Overall I found Fossil Hunters to be incredibly enjoyable and I look forward to playing through more of the game. It is also important to note that while the game will only be releasing on PC on February 13 it is set to release on PS4, XBone, and the Nintendo Switch at a later date. I could see this game being a good fit for any of these consoles, but I feel it would be a perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch. Fossil Hunters is a very relaxing puzzle game that would be perfect to play on the go. I can just picture myself on a long car ride talking to friends and playing the game on my way somewhere.
If you're looking for a well rounded Indie game that will keep you entertained for hours then look no further. At a price-point of only $14.99, Fossil Hunters is truly too good of a game to pass up.
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