Dinosaurs have a storied history in gaming. From Turok to Dino crisis, Tomb Raider to Jurassic Park tie-in games, the ancient lizards have made for formidable foe’s over the years. It’s rare that they’ve ever been portrayed as heroes however (outside of Yoshi of course) but that’s where Roarr! Jurassic Edition is different. Here, a T-Rex that has hidden in the depths of the earth for millennia has been woken by an invading army of alien squid and he’s out to get revenge for his broken slumber. Unfortunately Roarr! won’t be entering the prehistoric pantheon of heroes because of deep repetition, imprecise combat, mammoth sized difficulty problems and a hand full of bugs.
Rise of the Dino-Snores
I imagine everyone on earth gets a little cranky when they’re woken up by some loud noises and the star of Roarr!, Rampage Rex, is no different. Squid like aliens have descended on Earth and have taken over the joint. Rex, eager to get back to bed, decides to kick some cephalopod ass by biting, body checking and rolling over everything in his way. The narrative to the game, played out in stills before each of the game’s 6 chapters, is little more than conversations between the T-Rex and his next target, the boss that awaits him at the end of this level.
The game itself is played as a 1-4 player button masher. You move through the levels guided by a red arrow that floats above your head until you enter a translucent bubble. Here you’ll be attacked by a few waves of enemies which you’ll need to kill before you can move on to the next until you meet and hopefully defeat the boss foe. Rex has 2 different standard attacks he can use – bites and body attacks – while mixing up the two can trigger combo moves. Rex can also dodge roll away from attacks, giving him a second of invulnerability, as well as performing jumps and double jumps. The last trick up Rex’s tiny sleeves is a roaring special attack – by destroying buildings and structures around the world, Rex can fill a gauge and once it’s full, a tap on L1 or R1 unleashes an explosive area of effect attack that will deal massive damage to anything caught in its proximity.
To give Roarr its credit, there’s an impressive 18 different types of standard squid enemies and 6 bosses spread across its chapters, each of which has its own visual style that’s in keeping with its abilities. There’s standard squid enemies that are bigger than a house but only take a few chomps to send packing, flying bee-like things that do ranged and charged attacks right through to Squid’s that have melded with excavators, drills and cranes to stand tall.
Having a squidlife crisis
This is where the first issue with Roarr arises. Despite there being a plethora of squid types to take on, and them being mixed generally well within their attack waves, they’re all far too simple to defeat. There’s no tactics to taking on these beasties. All but the bosses and a hand full of others are knocked back by any of Rex’s attacks so all you need to do is run over, mash some buttons and wait until they disappear (and they do simply vanish when they run out of health. There’s no fanfare to vanquishing enemies here). To put this into perspective, my 1 year old daughter picked up the PS4 pad, un-paused the game and managed to defeat all the squid that attacked her by simply smacking the pad repeatedly. I’d like to claim she’s a gaming prodigy but unfortunately, it’s down to the lack of depth to the fighting in this game.
The only time Roarr get’s even remotely challenging is during boss battles. There’s one of these waiting at the end of each chapter and they have much more health than any of the standard enemies with their own unique attack patterns. It’s here that the inaccuracies of the combat really show themselves. Rex can simply walk into them at times with their being nothing to stop them from doing so, then it’s simply a battle of attrition, chipping away at their health while retreating when your own get’s low to top it up with meat chunks which are dropped by fallen enemies. The final boss is the only one that requires an even remotely tactical approach and that’s because it’ll cheaply kill you within second if you try to take it head on.
A reptile dysfunction
None of this is helped by the unwieldy camera. In single player, when you have full use of the screen, the camera feels both too fast and unresponsive as it moves around, jerking as you turn. When played in local co-op and the screen is divided, the view becomes so restricted that these camera issues feel magnified.
Roarr! has a few bugs too. Ground attack squids will often end up floating in the air high above the actual game world and out of harms way. Some end up so high up that you can’t attack them which blocks your progress as you’ve not cleared the wave they’re a part of. This has happened quite a number of times in the 5 hours it took to clear the game.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Roarr has quite an appealing overall aesthetic. It’s a very simply but clean art style that makes up for what it lacks in detail by being varied enough through the games to stay fresh. It’s nothing to write home about but it’s totally inoffensive too. While the soundtrack is only really one song on repeat, it’s quite a catchy dance track that urges you moving forward. You can dress Rex Rampage up in a whole host of comedy outfits too including a tutu, an soldiers uniform, a squid costume and a load more.
Far from Roarr – some
Roarr! Jurassic Edition on PS4 is a budget title for a budget price. It’s 5-6 hours of family friendly, repetitive button mashing in a clean but simplistic world set to a half-decent soundtrack. The occasional bug, the difficulty that goes from too easy to cheaply unfair and zero replayability beyond butting a dress on a T-Rex mean any potential the game has is squandered however.
Roarr! Jurassic Edition is available now on PS4 (review version), Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.
Developer: Born Lucky Games Publisher: Klabater
In order to complete this review, we purchased a copy of the game. For our full review policy please go here.
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