I absolutely love Plants vs. Zombies. The mix of frantic unit placement and resource management worked perfectly. It really changed the way a tower defense game played. Well, let’s substitute gophers for plants and dinosaurs for zombies and give the game a more isometric view. Keep the simplistic nature of the game and give it a lot of charm, and you have Go Home Dinosaurs.
Taking a page from both Plants vs. Zombies and PixleJunk Monsters, Fire Hose Games has created a hybrid that puts players in control of gophers trying to defend their BBQ from being eaten by steak-stealing dinosaurs. Yes, the premise is goofy, but that all adds to the charm.
There is a single gopher that begins the stage, controlled simply by clicking on one of the map squares. This gopher can move anywhere on the map with the exception of the track on which the dinosaurs traverse, or areas blocked off by rocks. He will also attack with a relatively quick rock throw when dinosaurs come into range. This gopher is also used to collect coconuts. Coconuts are the currency for deploying defense units. Costs vary, so financial management is very important.
The units come in many different forms. Gun wielders attack with a slow shot, ice rays damage and slow dinosaurs and DJs emit a sound wave that affects all enemies in an area. There are a good amount of different units, each with a unique placement style on the map and a different area of effect. This is where the strategy comes into play. Placing a freezing unit next to a DJ will slow the dinosaurs while the damaging techno music from the speakers bombards them.
Much like Plants vs. Zombies, the game has the player choosing unit cards to take into the battle. Choosing the right combination is critical to surviving the waves of dinosaurs. Even then, coconuts may not spawn very quickly in a level, so utilizing the controlling gopher can make all the difference. If the dinosaurs do get past defenses, there are two dynamite blasts that guard the BBQ grill. If a dinosaur touches one of these, the dynamite explodes and kills anything in a limited range. Using the last resort dynamite blasts will result in a lower completion score, with ranks awarded on three-steak scale.
After killing a certain dinosaur or after completing a level, the player is rewarded with coins. Coins can be used to purchase special attack cards and special costumes for the controlling gopher. The costumes don’t do anything, but the special attack cards can power up the controlling gopher’s attacks, create three robot gophers that attack dinosaurs and gather coconuts and more. Once bought in the store, they are unlocked and can be chosen for use before a level begins.
The game has a strange way of dealing with difficulty. For the most part, the game is not too challenging, but one wrong move and it’s “bye bye BBQ.” I ran into a couple of brick walls, but after a few fails, I was able to figure out the best solution to the problem. There is some leeway and I never felt like there was a single correct way to complete each level. I really enjoy the flexibility of the game play.
The game is very cartoony, and the characters are goofy and quite funny at times. They always spout off funny lines that reference movies or video games. The DJ talks in an autotuned voice, and I swear, I think the freezing gopher is modeled after Arnold Schwarzenegger playing Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin, that in and of itself is awesome.
After it is all said and done, the game can be completed in around five hours. There are no challenges or extra levels to play. Returning to levels for better rankings does allow use of all unlocked units, but other than that, replay value is at a minimum. Still, I can’t really say many bad things about the game. It is very well made and quite enjoyable.
For only $9 on Steam, there is a fun, charming and thought out game to be had in Go Home Dinosaurs. Tower defense fans should not miss it, and it’s so simplistic that almost anyone can pick the game and have a blast with it. I strongly suggest picking this game up. After all, there’s barbeque to be saved.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.