Welcome to the Lazy Shark Gaming previews of the Steam Summer Festival. We’ve downloaded a bunch of free demos and we’re giving them a go and letting you know the results.
Quick disclaimer, most of the games are in early alpha/beta stages of development so are certainly not finished, so I’ll not be too critical of some of the systems within these games, more judging them on the merit of the game idea and what they have planned. As a result, these should also be quick reads.
What is Dinosaur Fossil Hunter?
Dinosaur Fossil Hunter is a hardcore palaeontologist simulator where you play a..well, palaeontologist hunting down dinosaur fossils so that you can inevitably piece them back together and customise your own museum. The game consists of a field where you can hunt for fossils, collect them and transport them to your museum, your museum workshop where you prep the fossils for display, and your museum, where you can build exhibits of the dinosaurs you’ve pieced together.
A Palaeontologists Dream
Everything is covered in Dinosaur Fossil Hunter from the finding and setting up of an excavation site, down to removing dust and debris from your fossils at the museum, down to piecing together each joint and bone to make your complete dino.
The surprising thing for me when playing was the amount of detail the game went into; for example, the jeep you drive around to set up an excavation site lets you toggle between 2 wheel drive and 4 wheel drive, as well as locking your diff to make it through tough terrain. Something I didn’t quite expect on my hunt for old dino bones.
Another thing, again, with the jeep, is the need to fill the thing up as you’re driving around, either getting to a dig site or transporting dino bones back from it. Fortunately, your car comes equipped with a jerry can to keep you topped up so you’re not left without.
Getting your Dig on
Part 1 of getting your fossils is, of course, finding them. For this you drive out to your excavation site, set up a perimeter (a VERY long-press of space) and then you unlock your shovel, GPR (equipment used to identify dig sites and fossils) and plaster to preserve your fossils in transport. Finding fossils is relatively straight forward and you can hover your GPR over rocks to see if they may contain fossils. When you find one, encase that thing in plaster, throw it in a box and drive it back to your museum to remove the excess debris and get to your treasure.
Get your Rocks Off
Now, you may have your fossils encased in plaster, but you can’t glue them together and call it a dinosaur. This part of the game was pretty labour intensive and took most of the playtime.
Here you take your plaster cast fossil, knock away the rocks and plaster, and then transfer the bones over to a separate table to clean them up and preserve them, before finally piecing together the old bone puzzle.
I found this section quite laborious, especially the preserving and cleaning of the bones, but boy was it satisfying when I eventually put the thing together!
Making it all Pretty
Once you have assembled your dinosaur, you then get to build an exhibit for it. This section surprised me, as it looks as though it would be a lot of fun getting to pose your dinos, give them varying lighting and add different grounds, flora and fauna to the exhibits. I hope you can create some dynamic exhibits.
You can see my amazing effort below:
Yeah, it’s not the best, but hey. I liked it.
What’s next for Dinosaur Fossil Hunter?
If this has tickled your curiosity bones, then you’ll be glad to know that I only played an early alpha demo, although I really hope I’ll be able to accidentally launch my jeep into low-orbit in the full release.
As of writing, Dinosaur Fossil Hunter is still up on their Kickstarter page looking for more backing, although they’ve already smashed their low target of around £6000.
As it stands they have some VERY cool mechanics in the pipeline on the Kickstarter page that span the variety of content available, and the game shows quite a lot of promise for the budding palaeontologist in all of us. I was pretty excited when I saw that there was a Kickstarter goal for underwater excavations, I can only wait in anticipation for that.
Where to play Dinosaur Fossil Hunter & Hear more
Dinosaur Fossil Hunter is currently a part of the Steam Summer Festival, you can find out what it is, how long it is on for and more in the above link.
If you’re interested in giving this game a go, you can find it in the below locations, although you will only have access to the demo up until the 16th June. If it’s the type of game for you, be sure to add it to your wishlist, or even donate to their Kickstarter!
Thanks for reading, and see you in the next one.