Saturday, 01 October 2016 00:00

Dyno Adventure Review

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Dyno Adventure is 3D indie platformer developed by Aresarx, a computer engineer with a passion for game development. The game follows, you guessed it, your dinosaur, as you traverse a relatively open landscape in search of Baby Dynos that are hiding from evil monsters lurking around the world.

That's cute.

And it is cute. The aesthetics have excellent visuals that transport you back to the fundamentals of the charming platformer, as you run, jump, and stomp your way through multiple stages and worlds.

Sadly though, significant issues mean Dyno Adventure ultimately fails to perform.

Dyno Adventure is barebones in almost every possible way. You navigate each level collecting Baby Dynos and coins while avoiding traps and enemies as you search for the portal that will transport you back to your homeworld. As you rescue the poor little ones from creeping doom, you unlock areas are thus able to access other stages.

Now occasional issues with camera angles and, at times, textures, get in the way. The dinosaurs resemble a cross between something you’d see in Banjo-Kazooie with Rayman style limbs. And while it does fit with the overall style and ambient, it's a shame that their design is one for all. Even enemies are far too many of the same kind, and gameplay, more problematically, suffers the same limitation.

It's the same fight, recycled over and over again.

Progression is there, sure. You’re rewarded with additional content, and to be fair, there is a solid amount of variation in every level.

Then is the issue of clarity.

How many babies need saving in each level, and how do we know when we've found everything? In the homeworld, each of the stages are represented by a small set of blocks that depict some aspect of the stage, but there are no names, numbers, or status related to any of them, which makes it difficult to know which levels have been completed and which levels have yet to be visited. To make matters worse, if you enter a stage and realize that it wasn’t the one you sought, you either have to complete it, or you can also Alt+F4. And that's never a refined experience. I was unable to return to the homeworld via any other means.

The game's introduction also mentions that it couldn’t remember what the coins were used for, and throughout my time with the game, I never found any use for them other than a means of tracking progress or keeping score.

The background music is calming, and again, it fits. Too bad that once it's over, well, it's over. Awkward silence replaces it, and weak sound effects fully come to light.

Then are the bugs, many of which contribute to the overall feeling that the game is more of a concept demo than a fully thought out release. At times the game won't even register your dinosaur-saving actions. Then, the physics and collision detection are off just enough to make platform essentials like jumping and avoiding obstacles nearly impossible. On more than a few occasions, I found myself having to repeat an entire level dozens of times, simply because of the inability to dodge boulders. In sum, responsiveness in Dyno Adventure is far behind its competitors.


The Verdict

Dyno Adventure doesn’t feel like a completed game. More like a tech demo or something, that was put together by a talented guy in a hurry without much testing or validation. Yet there is potential underneath the hood. Fix the problems and release a finished product. Commit to your adorable Dyno and his adventures. Throw some music at him, make sure he collides with objects, and add some funkiness to the mechanics and physics he faces. Until you do so, Dyno Adventure won't have enough gameplay to justify a purchase.

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Mark Klink

Mark is a self-proclaimed nerd who has an undying need to take anything and everything tech related apart at the seams and break it down to the basics. His interest in video games reaches all the way back to his early days of playing Road Rash on the Sega Genesis. Games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Unreal Tournament only fueled Mark’s desire to get his hands dirty in video game design by offering in-depth level editors and a budding modding community. But alas, Mark was never a very good programmer, so when he’s not playing video games, he delves into information security and network engineering including Capture the Flag Tournaments and writing on current cyber security issues.