I suppose Jurassic World Alive has earned that comparison because there is nothing so captivating to the main stream mobile gaming populace as Pokemon Go, but to me that is the comparison of lazy journalism. Obviously it’s predecessor Ingress (also a Niantic project) was a revolution in GPS gaming and if anything that is where a comparison could begin and end with JWA. After a few days immersed in-game I look at what makes this game different.
Apps like Zombie, Run!, Parallel Mafia, and Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast aim to blend the adventure aspect with the AR gameplay, and for the most part succeed in this task. Pokemon Go‘s strength in this field was the familiarity and marketability of the source material. Jurassic World Alive capitalizes on this with an equal amount of attitude, not to mention the franchise has an upcoming release to promote. The similarities extend to the apps use of Google Maps (you know – the most comprehensive and accurate online map ever created?) as a reliable means for navigating the AR world.
The premise for the game is simple : when a dino appears on the map (providing you are within range) you may tap on it – this will engage the tracking phase of gameplay. You must now control a drone (with a steadily decreasing battery life span), loaded with darts hovering above the dino. The darts will collect DNA from the dino providing they are fired at or around target designated areas of the dinos body. Collect enough dino DNA and you can clone your very own dino of that species. Your newly acquired clone can now enter the user to user battle arena. Littered across the map are supply drops which appear in the form of boxes that contain dart ammo and bonuses such as in-game cash. Continue to collect DNA from the various species and level your dino up.
If I were to join the league of lazy journalists I would point out that as with Pokemon Go and many games of this type there is a joy to be found in acquiring the various species (“you gotta catch em all” after all) and levelling them up for combat. The advantage it has over other apps of this type is that it is not centered around map domination as a focus of gameplay. With Ingress the aim was to control areas of the map and battle for them, with Pokemon Go – the control of gyms. With JWA combat can be entered anytime without the need for location-based gameplay. However if you want to continue to progress within the game it will require you to physically seek DNA and ammo for that purpose.
It’s fun. It’s addictive. It’s not glitchy. But most importantly it’s not Pokemon Go.
Jurassic World : Fallen Kingdom will be released in (US) cinemas on 22 June.