Children’s games are an excellent way to introduce your young ones to gaming. My childhood saw me taking in adventures with Ratchet & Clank, or experiencing well crafted licensed titles such as the SpongeBob SquarePants games on the PlayStation 2. That era of gaming provided a wealth of unique and interesting platformers that opened my eyes to the possibilities of gaming. Gigantosaurus: The Game is based on the popular children’s TV show that airs on Disney Junior. As a kid, the idea of losing myself in the world of one of my favourite shows would have been my dream. With the opportunity for kids across the world to absorb themselves in the world of Gigantosaurus, this game should be a treat. However, the tedium of repetitive tasks, floaty platforming controls and a strikingly bland world create a poor entry point to the gaming world.
Based on the popular show of the same name, Gigantosaurus: The Game places our dino friends in a predicament of seeing their local volcano conveniently being blocked by a meteor. What ensues is a collect-a-thon of epic proportions as the cast of four friends aim to scout out each environment and clear it of its resources. It’s a basic premise to give players an incentive to venture out into its world, but lacks any sort of intrigue at all.
What makes the collect-a-thon so disengaging is the lack of incentive. Each world is broken up into four different collectibles to get. There are eggs to fetch, acorns to collect, seeds to plant and storybooks to find. The problem is, none of these reward you with anything. Collecting just a few eggs unlocks the next world, so why should I go out and gather the rest? Aside from achievements, there’s very little reason to do so.
To make matters worse, eggs need to be taken back to a central position, meaning that collecting all ten eggs is a back-and-forth adventure across the same land. It’s irritating, bland and downright boring. With no challenges to prevent your progress, it makes for a rinse and repeat sense of gameplay. If Fitbits were about, the daily steps would be astronomical, as you’re forced to walk miles and miles to gather eggs.
Luckily, other collectibles can just be collected and instantly obtained, but getting to these lacks any challenge or sense of achievement. You can switch between four different dinosaurs, each with their own ability, yet the most interesting is the ability to use disguises to navigate stealth sequences. These sections add a slight bit of challenge, but nothing that is going to demand any brain power. Remember though, for younger audiences this may be their first venture into stealth based gameplay. Other abilities lack any fundamental gameplay changes. One can pull levels and another can knock down logs to make progress. Why each dinosaur can’t perform these basic abilities makes no sense and just adds to the tedium of exploring the world. This is further exacerbated by having to cycle through each dinosaur to select the right one, instead of simply using a quick select menu.
The platforming itself is very basic, with little to no thought brought to the level design. The land has a sense of randomness to the whole affair, with no real sense of direction or interesting platforming gauntlets. It can be argued that this is aimed at a younger audience, but when I was at the target audience’s age games at least created inventive worlds which demanded some degree of thinking. Gigantosaurus: The Game creates the most basic challenges that even the youngest to gaming will be able to blast through.
Outside of the mind-numbingly bland platforming, you can engage in incredibly basic racing segments to break up the tedium between levels. However, Mario Kart this is not. Within a good ten seconds, you’ll find that you’ve sailed past the competition and are well on your way to victory. It’s a shame, as these tracks are perhaps the most visually interesting with the map providing many obstacles for you to avoid and shortcuts to uncover. It maintains a decent sense of speed as well, but without any challenge amounts to very little in the long run.
The world of Gigantosaurus: The Game on Xbox One is very displeasing. As each world is presented as an expansive open environment, it lacks any diversity or interesting vistas to make the lands worth exploring. Rocks, trees and grass are the most that will grab your attention, although the odd towering dinosaur roaming the land adds a slight element of visual flair. Graphically, Gigantosaurus: The Game feels like a product of a bygone era. This isn’t a graphically demanding experience and won’t push your system to its limits. Instead, it maintains the look of a bargain bin Xbox 360 game.
With plenty of exhilarating platformers on the market, such as A Hat in Time and Yooka-Laylee, it’s hard to recommend Gigantosaurus: The Game to any age. It’s too easy, repetitive and contains no sense of inventiveness. Younger gamers will no doubt find a slight amount of fun in the experience, but it will fail to push their skills any further or demand a large amount of attention. Gigantosaurus: The Game on Xbox One is a gigantic flop.