Dinocide is a retro 8-bit single player platform game developed and published by Atomic Torch. It is available on Linux, Mac OSX and Windows through Steam.
8-bit music, 8-bit graphics, NES style gamepad controls, heart-pounding timed trial stages bring Dinocide to life. It hearkens back to the days of Super Mario 2 on the NES and it’s pretty nostalgic. As quoted from a fellow writer, “It felt like mum was about to come in and scream at me to pause the game at any moment…”
The story begins with our caveman’s waifu being kidnapped by a mountain monster. Your goal is to find her by travelling across the land and fight vicious monsters by hurling rocks, sticks, stones and combinations of the three at them. Jump across platforms and obstacles but beware, you need to get food. When your food/health bar reaches 0, you start again.
The platform puzzles are rather simple but it is made challenging by the limited amount of time you have to get through them. Monsters will attempt to stop and delay you but eventually through, trial and error and some good timed throws, you’ll make it through the stage. Be prepared to die a lot and have the patience to remember the patterns of the mechanics.
There are different types stage environments: desert, underwater, forest, cave and each has its own type of monster and mechanics. Whenever you find a new weapon or dinosaur companion, you can keep it until you lose it by dying. You can choose to start each stage with the weapon or dino-friend of your choice. Each dinosaur has a different power- one can spit fire to break down stone barriers, another can swim. How you choose your companion will affect how quickly (if at all) you can get through the level.
Boss stages are also timed and you must dodge and correctly time your attacks in order to not get hit. They are challenging enough to be fun but not too hard for it to be irritating. Clutch moments were had. 😉
Critique: Certain AI monsters were very irritating to kill. The scorpions and snakes in the desert biome were difficult to beat and when you try to dodge them by jumping over them they immediately turn around lightening fast, forcing you to kill them by mashing your attack button. Sometimes it was better to run away than to fight them.
Gamepad: Excellent gamepad controls. The option to make rebind keys made it easy for the player to personalize gameplay. Motions were responsive and jumps were satisfying in that the longer you press, the higher you jump.
Keyboard: Don’t use the keyboard. If you must use a keyboard…I wish you luck senpai. You can still reassign keys but the disadvantage can be felt immediately.
Story + Music
The story of caveman and his waifu reminds me of Mario and Princess Peach. Also, the use of dinosaurs as a companion in your adventure is like a subtle nod to Yoshi (my spirit animal). While the two games are different in gameplay the similarities are apparent enough that it makes me feel nostalgic.
Overall, this is a fun game to play. For those who love 8-bit games and wants a simple RPG without the level ups and skill builds- this game is for you.