App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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Having a barbeque can often be tricky. Not only is it important to stockpile enough food and beverages, there's also the matter of actually preparing it all. And then there are the pests. Flies and mosquitoes are irritating enough, but Go Home Dinosaurs takes it to the next level with Pteranodons, T-Rexes, and a whole menagerie of other Jurassic (and Cretaceous, and Triassic, and so on) party crashers.
I could try to summarize Go Home Dinosaurs as a tower defense game, and to an extent that's accurate, but there's a bit more to it than that. Yes players have to construct automated defenses and attempt to fend off the dino hordes using limited resources, and yes the nuisances follow a set path, but terrain and character placement is also a major factor. First off, players are in control of a sort of lead gopher. He chucks rocks for an okay amount of damage and has some good range, but his best function is gathering coconuts that are needed to build stuff. Once enough have been collected it's then a matter of dragging a card - one of several pre-selected at the start of the level from a library, a-la Plants Vs. Zombies - onto the field. The catch is that each structure has a specific shape, not unlike Tetris pieces. It both allows from some pretty devastating combos when two complimentary bits of ordinance are placed near each other, and forces players to change up their strategy since some levels simply will not accommodate certain choices.
I found virtually every one of Go Home Dinosaurs' quirky hybridized elements to be fantastic. Having direct control over that one gopher leads to some exciting moments spent bouncing between coconut collecting and doing direct damage. The resource collection and card management also do a fantastic job of keeping players from relying on a single strategy and requires that they really pay attention to the terrain. And I absolutely love how the puzzle-like structure placement feeds in to the terrain strategy.
The only thing about Go Home Dinosaurs that bugs me is the shop. It's possible to collect lots of coins during most of the levels, then turn around and spend them to unlock temporary power-ups that can be equipped and used much like regular defense cards, but I never really used them much. They just feel like a pointless option. Not that there's anything wrong with giving players a choice to develop strategies around these items if they'd like, but for me it just felt unnecessary.
Going in to Go Home Dinosaurs I was half-expecting a cute but typical tower defense game. Turns out it's anything but. Okay, it's still cute, but it's far beyond typical. It's also well worth checking out.