It’s obvious to any Later Levels visitor just how much I adore point-and-click adventure games. Throw in some lovely-looking pixel-art, an independent and strong-willed female protagonist, and an intriguing storyline with science-fiction elements, and you’ll have my attention.
That explains why I was so interested when the creators behind Theropods reached out to me recently to let me know about their crowdfunding campaign. After finding out that their project contains all of those elements above plus dinosaurs, how could I resist? I devoted around 30-minutes one evening to the demo on the Game Jolt website (you can watch the video here) to get a glimpse of what the game could possibly look like, I headed back to Kickstarter to make a pledge and become a backer.
Theropods’ plot begins in a small prehistoric village, home to a peaceful tribe who have hunted the huge carnivores that roam the land for generations. A young red-haired hunter holds an important position as the Chief’s daughter and she cares a lot about her community; so she’s therefore determined to face all sorts of dangers when it’s attacked. Dinosaurs, bloodthirsty barbarians and even her own fears stand in the way of our heroine freeing her enslaved tribe.
That’s not all though, for a mysterious traveller in a futuristic suit has fallen from the skies and onto her planet. As mused on the Kickstarter page: what are his intentions, where does he come from, why is he so technologically advanced? And more importantly: how are all these wildly-different story elements going to tie together cohesively? I have to admit I’m a little apprehensive about this aspect of the project, and one of my reasons for backing it is to see just how this is going to be resolved.
The demo gives few details away but it’s a nice introduction to Theropods. The hunter and two fellow tribesmen are trying to catch what looks like a small Parasaurolophus but aren’t having much luck, as the creature is avoiding them using the various paths within the forest. With a careful bit of planning (and a trap set thanks to the dinosaur’s fondness for dragon fruit), you can manoeuvre it into a certain section of the environment in order to see the climax of this half-hour slice of the title.
This ties in with the developer’s statement that ‘your enemies may overpower you in teeth and muscle, but in classic adventure game fashion, it’s brains over brawn’. Players will need to seek help and learn to use the environment to survive and free the huntress’ people. They’ve said that we’ll have to overcome both obstacles and opponents by using the environment as their ally with vines, eggs and other natural items becoming their tools. This makes me hopeful for more challenging yet logical puzzles just like that seen in the demo.
It’s also worth noting that the creators are planning to do something different with cutscenes: instead of simply watching, you’ll be playing these action sequences. Changes in pace and gameplay-style end-game haven’t always been well-received, particularly within the adventure genre, so I’m interesting to see how this is going to be implemented. Kostas Skiftas and Sarah Duffield-Harding are aware there’ll be a tricky balance yet are confident they can make it work with playtesting by and feedback from their backers.
If you like point-and-clicks, dinosaurs and sci-fi adventures, Theropods is well worth a look. There’s still time to back the campaign before 08 August 2019 and with 53% of a £17,970 target raised at the time of writing, I’m hopeful the goal will be reached before the deadline. Take a look at the Kickstarter page for more details and give the developers a follow on Twitter to stay up-to-date on their progress.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.