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Power Member - Level 10
Every day in the Game Informer office I have to listen to Jeff Marchiafava ask Jeff Cork how big his Tiny Tower is. I am forced to overhear Joe Juba rave about and talk new strategies for Dungeon Village. I separated myself from that helpless pack, proclaiming myself to be a "true" gamer that cares about gameplay and not just mindless clicking to watch numbers improve. I spent two hours in Game Dev Story and enjoyed it, but did not feel a single itch to keep playing. I downloaded Pocket Planes and was immediately turned off by the UI. I was above the free-to-play sim genre. Then the developers over at Ludia found the way: Jurassic Park. Why did it have to be Jurassic Park?
As my favorite movie of all time, I've spent a lot of time playing Jurassic Park games. The Lost World for the Playstation was my first game for the system, and I've spent more time with it than any Mario game. I can't say that I loved the experience, but there were aspects of TellTale's latest game that impressed me.
I often find myself defending Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis as the greatest Jurassic Park game ever made. This is where Jurassic Park Builder for iOS hits me in the gut. It is a mobile and streamlined version of the Operation Genesis experience. Straddling that simplified line between SimCity and Tomagotchi, I've become wildly addicted to the experience of slowly expanding my very own version of Jurassic Park.
You receive missions from characters such as John Hammond, Alan Grant, Ian Malcom, and Kelly Malcom. I'm tickled that they include everybody's favorite scientist Dr. Wu but have zero representation from Jurassic Park III. Your mind will shatter if you try to cram this game into official Jurassic Park canon, so just sit back and enjoy. The missions have straight-forward goals like "build a new road" or "feed a carnivore" and completing these objectives gives you gold and experience. You build up the ability to create new structures and research how to clone new dinosaurs. The game rewards you for checking back on it every ten minutes or so and you will quickly run out of things to do if you stick around for too long. That said, the game continues to occupy 30% of my conscious mind at all times. I went on a bike ride yesterday and pulled off the trail four times so that I could collect gold from my Pachycephalosaurus paddock.
The most memorable aspect of Operation Genesis was the constant threat of dinosaurs breaking free and eating your visitors. The iOS game constantly hints that something could go wrong at any minute but, at level seven I have yet to see chaos erupt. There are no UI references to fence repair or anything that would lead me to believe this danger is a large part of the game, except for the ability to build a static security tower. It could be a late game twist, as I have yet to discover T-Rex DNA.
The sound design is the weakest part of the game, as I constantly hear a T-Rex roar despite not having created one. It seems like the developers just took all of the dinosaur sound files from the film and have them perpetually and play at random throughout the game. And, in case you were wondering, it looks as if they didn't get the license to the classic soundtrack from John Williams. Without spending a cent of real money on the game I have created seven different dinosaurs, including raptors. The brontosaurus (which never appeared in Jurassic Park) is available but it would be a hell of a grind to create without paying for in-game currency. I was expecting the worst, but am pleasantly surprised with how few pay-walls there are in the game.
God creates dinosaurs, God destroys dinosaurs, God creates man, man destroys God, man creates the world's most addicting game about dinosaurs. This game came completely out of the blue and has consumed my iPhone's battery. It doesn't do anything exceptional for the genre, but if you have an ounce of love for Jurassic Park you might as well give it a shot. The worst case scenario is that the game consumes your every waking moment. My addiction to Jurassic Park Builder has taught me never to write off a genre. Except for third-person shooters, they are dumb.
Email the author Ben Hanson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
I really just can't get into games like this...but that probably has more to do with not having a cell phone that can play games like this(or having a cell phone at all), and less with not liking them. As much as I don't like the idea of pay-to-play in this form, if you get enjoyment out of it, who's to say it's not worth the time?
This is taking forever to download for me. Can't wait to play it though!
"Except for third-person shooters, they are dumb."
No Dead Space Ben? T.T
This is the greatest thing ever... indeed.
Hey dont diss ghost recon.
Ah, Ben, you and your dinosaurs. :)
But on a serious note, that shot of cartoonized Jeff Goldblum is just...sleazy.
created brontosaurus? I hope they don't call it that in game b/c any dino nerd knows it is now apatosaurus.
Except for third person shooters?
Oh Ben, I was legitimately interested in what you had to say until you started trolling.
This coming from a guy that couldn't see Dan Ryckert standing right next to him.
You fool, third person will always reign supreme!
I still own Jurassic Park Operation Genesis for the original Xbox. I play it all the freaking time. I've been absolute love with that game since the day it came out. I agree that it's the best Jurassic Park game ever made. I sometimes just play Site B, spawn a bunch of dinosaurs onto the island, and just let them live. I'll never get tired of watching a T-Rex fight off Velociraptors or a Spinosaurus.
Good on you Ben. If you like something, let us know. I think this is fun.
It seems to me that the most memorable part of the game is that sweet likeness of Jeff Goldblum.
Ugh. Anything being said about bringing it to android? I've been wanting a jurassic park game for it and am stuck dealing with kiddish doppelgangers (ex-dino life or dinosaur war anyone?)
I love JP.
May just download this, great review :)
There actually is a chaos thing where a storm approaches the island and you have keep the dinosaurs calm by tapping them before their rage meter fills up. Each tap nets you gold coins and the more often you tap the faster the rage builds. If you fail, the dinosaur breaks out and is put down,(you don't actually see it happen) and you have to wait for a new one to hatch. I played this for a while and it is fun but after about level 12 or so I just kinda stopped. I think the Metal Gear HD collection came out and Metal Gear is like digital heroin for me. And Revengence is a bad batch.