[Review] Explosive Dinosaurs – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: RAWR Lab
  • Publisher: Flynns Arcade
  • Release Date: 16/07/2020
  • Price: £6.99 / $7.99
  • Review code provided by Flynn’s Arcade

Introducing Explosive Dinosaurs Switch Review

“There is no failure, there is only win or lose” This is the opening quote of a game that can be described as an interesting take on the “multiparty party” formula. When you get through the quote you are treated to some 90s rock that instantly reminded me of the early 90s X-Men cartoon. You are also introduced to…the “characters” of the game which are multi-colored dinosaurs. From there you can either play the game as intended, update some options(more on this in a second), get help – which is a short tutorial on the game and what you do, and then the credits.

Ain’t No Party Like A Dino Party

If you go to the options, curiously you can set it to “Party Mode” which allows you to instantly unlock EVERY minigame within the game at the cost of not being able to save “progress” and also the Prehistory mode will be unavailable. Kind of an interesting way to handle it if you have 3 other friends over and you want to play, well as a party. From the options you can also turn the sound/music on or off and set the difficulty. If you’re interested in the main experience, you’ll just hit the asteroid that says play, which is somewhat foreboding.

In the main game mode, you can choose between 1-4 players and then each player gets to choose one of the dinosaurs shown on the main screen. Each have interesting names like “Chlorie”, “Dyna”, and “Fiss”. I found myself to be a “Fiss” main most of the time. You’re then given the option to either play Prehistory Mode or just play Minigames, however this minigame mode is completely dependent on what you’ve unlocked from Prehistory Mode.

In Prehistory mode, the object is to beat each minigame to unlock the next era and subsequently the next set of 4 minigames. You do this until you unlock all 40 at which point you can play them all in the minigame mode. Even though this is somewhat of a “shovelware” game, there are some good ideas presented within. While some of the minigames are somewhat the same – I found myself enjoying quite a few and tried to play over and over to get the best score. However, don’t go into this thinking it will be Mario Party caliber. Although, if like me you have younger kids and want to introduce them to something a little easier that you can all play together – this might be your ticket.

It’s Dino-MITE!

To give you an example of the types of minigames you can expect, I’ll list out a few that stood out (and didn’t) to give you a good sample size:

The very first game you can play is “Asteroid Blasters” which is a lot like Space Invaders, but their twist is you can only hit things that are the same color as you. There are also purple meteors that give you 3 points – and you are trying to get to 20 points before time runs out.

Another game within the first set is “Labyrinth” which like the name suggests has you trying to get through a maze. That’s it. It can be fun with multiple people but if you try with 1 person, it could be more tedious than fun.

The next set of games includes “Run Away from Lava” which has you jumping over obstacles and running to the right to avoid instant death. Admittedly, as simple as this game is, I had fun with it and played it a few times.

A Tyrannosaurus Wreck!

“Dinotron” is essentially the game TRON from the 80s but in Dino form. Hilariously, they are even riding light cycles and the aesthetic is basically the same as Tron.

“Minefield” was one of the most frustrating minigames to play. Mostly because you have to remember where all the obstacles are and it’s a maze. That’s not the frustrating part however. What’s frustrating is the hit detection on the blocks is bigger than it should be. I often found myself hitting blocks even though I wasn’t near them at all. Probably my least favorite game on here.

“Conquer the World” is almost RTS like in the fact that you have to gather troops from your home base and try to take over all the other players bases around you. That minigame was pretty fun minus the timer.

Don’t be an Eye-Saur!

“Red Carpet”. So I have a confession, I’ve been talking about how easy this game was and how shovelware-y it seemed, but once I got to this minigame my entire world was shattered. Up until this point the game followed a basic formula: You’re a dinosaur doing dinosaur type minigames. Once I hit this minigame where you have to “autograph” fans before going to an award show and it was at this point when the game had a complete tonal shift. It seemed this game could be a parody in disguise.

“Flappy Dino” Yep. This confirmed it for me – this game is definitely a parody in disguise. Basically Flappy Bird but not.

“Dinobot Combat” This was pretty fun for me as I do programming as a hobby. This kind of makes you think about how the dinosaur is going to move in a bot like way before taking actions. You queue up all the actions and see them play out at once. Definitely a highlight for me.

Chrome-asaurus Rex

The last real age you unlock is “Age of the Internet” which if I can be honest made this game for me. There were a LOT of great parodies. I don’t want to ruin all of them but I do want to point out one more minigame:

“Offline Dinos” this is a clone of that dinosaur game on Chrome when you have no internet. It’s also multiplayer. Up to this point – all the graphics had been hand drawn and 2D and for this game they changed it to 2D colored pixel art just like the Chrome game. This is definitely a contender for top game if it weren’t for one of the ones you unlock after beating all the ages.

Final Thoughts

With all that being said, you can easily play it single player to unlock all the minigames for use any time or just use the Party Mode. I spent probably 2 hours unlocking all the minigames and I’d say for $7.99 in the eShop, it’s worth a glance. Especially if you have kids, as the minigames start off easy and ramp in difficulty appropriately enough. Some final thoughts I have on this game, it taught me not to judge a book by its cover…or I guess a game by its box-art. What seemed like a really terrible shovelware game at first, wound up subverting my expectations by panning out to be a pretty good parody on not only party games but gaming itself.

Pros

  • Pretty decent selection of minigames
  • Difficulty ramps naturally
  • Can play with 1-4 players

Cons

  • Hit detection is terrible in many minigames
  • The music for most games was very stock
  • Some games are brutally hard as a result of bad instructions/programming

Verdict
While I can’t say this is for everyone as there are plenty of frustrating aspects such as hit detection and what not – I do think if you’re looking for a quick party game to play with some friends or your kids, you could do a lot worse.

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