Dinosaurs are pretty cool aren’t they? Whether seen in films like Jurassic Park and Land Before Time, TV shows such as The Flintstones and Dinosaurs, or even in the gaming world as part of Jurassic World Evolution, you can’t help but think it’d be rather exciting if these beasts were still roaming around the place. That’s why the arrival of Roarr! Jurassic Edition on Xbox One piqued my interest with its promise of a fast and furious brawler that’ll “make Jurassic Park look like some fairy tale for kids!” – That’s a genuine quote.
The problem is, Roarr! Jurassic Edition doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as Jurassic Park as it struggles to deliver an enjoyable experience. The fact that it’s damn cheap is something of a small mercy at least, so let’s discover if there are any positives to be found that may entice you in for a purchase on a whim.
Roarr! Jurassic Edition doesn’t take itself too seriously and that’s immediately apparent with the silly, but totally fine narrative, which sees a T-Rex named Sue awoken from her sleep by an alien invasion. These aliens, the Squiddies, are so noisy that Sue takes matters into her own hands and decides to decimate every last one of them in order to get some kip. Aside from a low-budget opening cutscene, the rest of what little story there is plays out through a selection of static scenes and even though they aren’t anything out of the ordinary, it does an acceptable job of setting the scene and sprinkling a tiny bit of humour into proceedings. The latter is especially true if you take time read the ‘Rexopedia’ entries for background info on the enemies.
The Squiddies come in a variety of forms, including a bunch of different coloured, fairly standard looking squids, alongside a host of other more interesting types that have made use of earthly machinery to transform into a force to be reckoned with. For example, some have merged with equipment taken from a construction site and even a ferris wheel, while others are fused with frogs and fish. Knowing that Roarr! features 19 different Squiddies – not including bosses – is quite impressive, until you factor in that most are carbon copies of each other in alternate colours. Still, it’s pretty much a positive to grasp onto.
With only six levels present in Roarr! and each one following the same pattern of eliminating enemies within an area, before moving on to do the same again, the gameplay gets monotonous far too quickly. Even the anticipation of locating a boss at the end of each level probably isn’t going to be exciting enough to drive you through without feeling like it’s a real drag. Without exaggerating, completing a level will feel akin to finishing a marathon, despite only lasting around 10 minutes – it gets very boring, very fast.
The low-poly style visuals don’t help matters because the scenery looks bland and, apart from minor variations in colour here and there, it’s all quite samey. In fact, there’s only one level with a completely different environment, an indoor offering, however even that fails to capture the imagination as it’s mostly devoid of colour.
Sue’s attacks are pretty standard, with tail whips and the ability to chomp at enemies the main ones in your arsenal. She’s also able to dodge roll and jump, but the former doesn’t seem to help avoid damage when you’re getting mauled from all angles. There are two special moves that can be charged up by destroying the environmental structures, which are rather small in comparison to your T-Rex. The roar manoeuvre sends out a blast that instantly kills nearby enemies and that’s helpful when surrounded. There doesn’t seem to be much point to the other as it just makes Sue charge forward at speed, but it’s an option.
In total, there are six bosses to tackle, ranging from a combine harvester type beast to a living, breathing, oil rig that’s ready to attack anything in its vicinity. Creatively, nothing can be complained about, but practically, the boss battles just lack any kind of sense. Get anywhere near the behemoths and they’ll destroy you swiftly, and with no obvious window of opportunity, it’s a painful activity. Even when you get behind them, they can turn on a sixpence and harm you in an instant. The only viable solution involves back-tracking to build up the special meter, then unleashing the roar on the boss, before rinsing and repeating.
To add insult to injury, at any point, normal enemies can just disappear and occasionally bosses won’t even appear, forcing a retry to be required in order to advance. This happens most often after pausing the game, so I’d highly advise to never do that for fear of having to replay a level all over again.
Forget fast and furious, Roarr! Jurassic Edition on Xbox One is painful and laborious, with incredibly repetitive gameplay, environments that are far too similar and a myriad of senseless boss battles. It’s visually unimpressive and the main audio track is highly irritating too. The saving grace, if there is one, is the enemy and boss variety, but that’s clutching at straws. So, after weighing up all of the evidence, even at under a fiver I’m not entirely sure who would enjoy this brawler.
Put it this way, if a meteor hit the Xbox Store today, no one would miss Roarr! Jurassic Edition.