Indie Quickie: Go Home Dinosaurs!

It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

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What is it? Go Home Dinosaurs is a whimsical tower defense game involving fuzzy critters, extinct prehistoric beasts, coconuts, and grilled meats. Or, if you prefer, the world’s finest BBQ defense simulator. (Actually the world’s only BBQ defense simulator.)

Who made it and where can you get it? Fire Hose Games is the grill master of this tower defense feast, served up piping hot on Windows PC for $9.99 and iPad for $4.99.

How much did we play? Successfully prevented Todd Rex and the gang from storming the backyard grill through all 20 stages of World 1 as well as a handful of stages in World 2.

Any technical concerns or hardware requirements you should know about? I’ve found it mildly annoying that every time I’ve launched the game through Steam the Microsoft VC Redist package has needed to install. Not sure what that’s all about. But the game itself runs as smooth as coconut milk flowing down a gopher’s gullet.

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Why should you play it?

    • Gophers vs. Dinosaurs: Finally we have an answer to the age old question: Who would win in a battle over slabs of grilled beef, dinosaurs or gophers? OK, so I’m pretty sure the folks at Fire Hose are the only humans on the planet to imagine such a scenario, but hey, it sure makes for a wonderfully absurd tower defense setup. Other touches of goofball charm and humor stand out as well, from the colorful art style, to the unlockable vegetarian mode that switches out the steaks for carrots, to gopher DJs who repel dinos with awful music, to silly, referential one-liners. This is my stump. There are many like it, but this one is mine!

    • Jigsaw Tower Defense: Go Home Dinosaurs at first seems like a fairly basic, entry level tower defense game, but as you tuck in you’ll discover some cleverly nuanced strategic twists to the standard formula. Like any tower defense game, the hungry, hungry dinos march along a fixed path towards the gopher army’s precious grill, and as usual it is your duty to place turrets along the path to send the dinos scurrying home before they can sink their teeth into the three juicy steaks at the end of the road. Similar to Plants vs. Zombies, turrets are represented by cards and before each stage you must customize a deck to best attack the weaknesses of the next wave. However, instead of just plopping a turret down in the nearest empty space, the unique shape of each turret must match the contours of the twisting and turning path, sort of like slotting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. Since the maps are fairly small, space surrounding the path is also limited. This means that you have to think about how the turrets will fit together with each other as well. This extra layer of strategy makes pre-stage map examination and defensive planning even more crucial to success as the difficulty increases.

    • Collect Those Coconuts: Another fun twist on tower defense convention is the way you get to directly take control of a gopher in the war against the dinos. With the click of the mouse, the gopher general can tunnel across the map and pop out from any empty space around the path to toss rocks at encroaching Jurassic reptiles. He’s like a mini, player-controlled helper turret. This mechanic is also used to harvest coconuts that randomly sprout from palm trees over the course of a level. Coconuts aren’t as delectable as steaks, but since they are the currency needed to place turrets you better gather them quickly, and spend them wisely.

Parting Thoughts: Beyond the silly premise and the added elements of puzzle-piece strategy and coconut-collecting mouse agility, Go Home Dinosaurs at its fundamental core just feels like an incredibly well thought out, well balanced and cleverly designed game of tower defense. Turret AI does a good job tracking and shooting appropriate enemies. Levels don’t seem to be limited to any single method of turret strategy (unless you’re using a new weapon of gopher defense for the first time). The turret and dino designs are cute and imaginative. And the mechanics are simplistic and accessible, yet nuanced enough to appeal to players of all experience levels. Any fan of the genre, young or old, should have a blast. I give it three steaks up!

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!