Jurassic GO - Dinosaur Snap Adventures ($3.99) by BebopBee, Inc is an on-rails photography shooter and simulation game. If you are familiar with Pokémon Snap, then you will know how Jurassic GO works, as the two are similar, but this title deals with dinosaurs, of course. Whether you’re a kid or adult, there’s a lot of fun behind Jurassic GO.
Back in 1999, Pokémon Snap was released to the masses in Japan and North America. While I was a Pokémon fan back then with collecting the cards and watching the anime, I did not have Pokémon Snap at the time because hey, I was 12-years-old with not a lot of money to spend and my parents weren’t always buying me video games. Plus, I wasn’t too into spinoff games at the time anyway, so I didn’t think too much of Pokémon Snap. As I look back on it now, though, I wish I played because it definitely looked like a fun title, and who can resist snapping pictures of Pokémon? You can now do that in reality with Pokémon Go, but if you’re still looking to replicate the original Pokémon Snap feeling in an iOS game, well, Jurassic GO is a nice alternative, plus, who doesn’t like dinosaurs?
Jurassic GO is definitely one of the cuter games I’ve played recently. The game is fully rendered in 3-D and the four environments are lush and packed with enough detail to immerse you in the prehistoric world. Colors are bright and vivid with realistic shadows and lighting, so it’s real eye candy for everyone. The character models for all of the different types of dinosaurs that you’ll encounter are cartoonish and adorable, but they stay true to the roots of real dinosaur models at the same time. Animations and movements of the dinosaurs and the on-rails mechanic are smooth and fluid with no lag on my iPhone 6s Plus, so there won’t be any issues when it comes to finding those great photo ops. Jurassic GO also has a fun and whimsical soundtrack that is rather upbeat and catchy, so it’s fun to get your earbuds and just dive right in to the game.
In Jurassic GO, you take on the role of a photographer who is hired by a Dino Museum to venture out to different environments for tours and snap photos of the dinosaur creatures that you happen to come across. Since the game is a simulation, you will be there as you watch the museum grow in size and popularity, and you’ll have to help build things around the island to attract more tourists. There will also be plenty of various NPCs that you’ll meet who will provide you with useful tools for your tours and upgrades to your camera once you meet their requirements and criteria. There are four different environments that you can take tours of (Swamp, Crater, River, and Badlands), and you’ll have to unlock them as you progress with Exploration Funds. While it may not sound like a lot of environments, the dinosaurs that you find on each tour will be randomly generated, so while you may think you’ve seen all that the Swamp has to offer, sometimes you’ll find brand new finds that you weren’t expecting. It’s also a good way to get even better shots than the ones you’ve taken before.
To set out on a tour of a land, just tap on the hot air balloon button in the bottom right corner. Then choose the setting you want to check out, and you’re off! Like Pokémon Snap, you will be moving forward automatically since it’s an on-rails experience. As you seamlessly move, you can aim your camera by swiping around on the screen. When you find something that is worthy of a snapshot, just tap anywhere on the screen to capture the moment. You’ll also get items that you can use to interact with the dinosaurs, such as the Goofball, and you can use this by tapping on the button in the bottom right corner. And once you have camera upgrades, such as the zoom lens, you can activate them by tapping the button in the bottom left corner. To use things like zoom, just pinch the screen.
While each environment has a set path for you to go through, the creatures that you’ll encounter will vary on each run. Sometimes you’ll just see the same ones you’ve seen before, just in different spots or even in groups. Other times, you’ll encounter something rare or uncommon, and there are even legendary dinosaurs that you can find too. You never know what you’ll find, so the replay value with going back to each of the four areas is high and full of excitement. You can view information about each species that you find in the museum, and who knows — you can totally end up learning something new here, unless you’re already some kind of expert on dinosaurs.
After each tour, whether you just reach the end of the path or run out of film (you start off with just five snapshots for each run, shown in the top left corner), you’ll have to pick just three of your best shots to show the captain. He will check your shots and grade them to see if they’re worthy of being in the museum or turned into a postcard. If your shot ends up being a postcard, it will be sent back to your loved ones but not displayed in the museum. Each picture will be graded on size, spot, and angle with a number from one to 10. The average of these three scores determines the overall score for the shot, and you can get up to three stars as well. Having museum display or postcard status helps boost the score too. The main goal during the tours is to get perfect shots, which are harder than they seem once dinosaurs start moving and reacting to you, sometimes too fast for you to catch.
Even though most of the fun is going out and finding the dinosaurs for photos, you’ll have to keep an eye on your island as well. Pay attention to the number of tourists who arrive to check out the museum, and build new buildings to make it an even bigger tourist attraction and rake in those exploration funds.
I’ve only just started Jurassic GO this morning while sipping my coffee, but I’m finding it to be an incredibly fun and relaxing experience, as I’ve never played Pokémon Snap before. The graphics in Jurassic GO are super cute and charming, the music is soothing, and the controls are intuitive. I’m having a blast just finding new dinosaurs in each environment, and it’s always exciting to watch your park get fame and fortune as a result of your work. I think the only improvement that could be made to the game is more environments, so hopefully the developer considers adding this in the future. Still, the game is solid right now, and proving to be rather addictive.
I highly recommend checking out Jurassic GO if you are looking for a Pokémon Snap-style game on iOS, or just want to take pictures of dinosaurs that are way cuter than they should be. Jurassic GO is on the App Store as a universal app for your iPhone and iPad for just $3.99. There are no in-app purchases.