By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Pokemon-ish RPG substitutes fighting dinos for monsters.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Primary themes include discovery and friendship. However, the game glosses over the notion that innocent beasts are being pitted in battle against one another, rather like dogfights. The concept is similar to Pokemon, only the fighting isn’t quite as easy to dismiss since the animals are recognizable as creatures that once walked the Earth as opposed to purely fantastical monsters.
Positive Role Models
Our hero attempts to help others in need and is probably the most honest and trustworthy character in the game. His goal is simply to become the best fossil hunter and dinosaur trainer on Vivosaur Island.
Ease of Play
The controls are intuitive. However, players need to wade through loads of text dialogue to learn the intricacies of the world, how to clean fossils, and battle strategy. Required reading level is second grade, minimum.
Violence & Scariness
The dinosaurs brawl with one another by snapping their teeth and swinging their claws, but players never see impact. The creatures simply approach the camera with teeth bared. Defeated dinos disappear from the screen.
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One scientist talks about extracting fossils from ancient pieces of poop.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this child-oriented role-playing game has players finding dinosaur fossils and reanimating the creatures so that they can be pit against one another in battle. It feels like a Pokemon game, but the notion of innocent creatures fighting one another is a vaguely off-putting. It feels a little like a dogfight (Pokemon avoids this issue because the creatures battling in those games are fantastical monsters rather than recognizable creatures that once walked the Earth). That said, the battles are very mild; players never even see the dinosaurs make contact with one another, much less draw blood. What’s more, finding and cleaning bones takes up much more of the player’s time than fighting, and may even spark interest in the field of paleontology.
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Based on 2 parent reviews
An enjoyable game for almost everybody.
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What’s It About?
FOSSIL FIGHTERS’ slogan could be “gotta find and clean ‘em all!” It’s a role-playing game involving the collection of animals that makes no bones about drawing inspiration from Nintendo’s popular Pokemon games. The primary difference is that rather than finding monsters and pitting them in battle against one another, players are instead digging up dinosaur fossils and cleaning them in a laboratory using a hammer, a laser chisel, and a their breath (they can blow into the mic to remove dust) before re-animating them and throwing them into the ring. All of the action takes place on remote atoll called Vivosaur Island. Players take control of a young fossil fighter in training who slowly learns the ropes from the locals while upgrading his fighter’s license and earning access to areas of the island home where he can find rarer fossils.
Is It Any Good?
Fossil Fighters is a polished and entertaining children’s RPG. Using a sonar to find fossils in fields is exciting, and the bone cleaning activity requires a very delicate touch in order to preserve as much of the dinosaur’s remains as possible. What’s more, the battles are fairly strategic. Players are required to manage teams composed of up to five creatures, each of which has its own upgradable abilities and is assigned an attack, supporting, or escape position on the battlefield. Later battles demand both thought and skill.
However, play is hampered by excessive text dialogue. Consequently, the game moseys along rather slowly. It will take most players better than a couple of hours to reach the first major battle to level up to a second grade fossil fighter. Plus, the cleaning, though fun, begins to feel repetitive once you realize that the vast majority of discovered fossils are duplicates of others you’ve already found. Pokemon lovers will have fun, but it’s unlikely they’ll consider Fossil Fighters a permanent substitute for their favorite franchise.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about paleontology as a career. What do you think paleontologists do? Do you think hunting for and researching ancient fossils would be fun? Do you think the number of findable fossils is dwindling as more researchers head out into the field? Does that make a paleontologist’s job more difficult? Which would be more fun to investigate, plant or animal fossils?
Families can also contrast the game with Pokemon, a franchise with a similar concept. What are the major differences between these two games? Is one more appealing than the other? What do you think of the idea of using once-real animals instead of fantasy monsters in battle?
- Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release date: August 10, 2009
- Genre: Role-Playing
- ESRB rating: E for Crude Humor, Mild Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: August 31, 2016
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