Welcome to Dino Frontier, it’s a tabletop management similator with cowboys and dinosaurs… What’s not to like? Nothing, it’s utterly brilliant at what it does, and it does everything marvellously.
It’s a shame that it needs to be in VR, it could work without it, and thus open up even more of the market, but VR does enhance the whole experience to another level completely.
So gameplay. You are the mayor of a small western town and it’s you’re job to look after the settlers, make them chop down trees for lumber, which helps you build new building, they also need to scavange for food, to keep their little bellies full. At the start you’ll be micro-managing everyone, but as you progress you’ll train dinosaurs to help out. Along the way you’ll also play a little tower defence game while you’r settlers will be digging for stone and gold. All these resources you’ll need as you get deeper into the game, upgrading is part of the process and you’ll be doing a lot of it.
The controls I found to be a little fiddly at first, but that was my problem and not an issue with the game, once I had my headset and wands in frame of the camera I could and did play for hours with barely a single problem.
There is a lot of detail here, and if you don’t zoom in you’ll likely miss most of it, to me this is where the richness of the game lies, it’s just watching you’re little peeps going about their daily business, as they chop down trees, scavange food, attack and are attacked by dinosaurs, turn trees into usable planks, and train at fighting, strategy and weights, all to get to the final mission.
In the tower defence game you’re settlers are attacked by The Bandit King! while your peeps are mining for gold and stone, at the start you’ll need to rush and get as much stone as you can to upgrade the defences and place settlers in them to defend the outpost, this can be a bit slow and frustrating at first, but once you get the hang of it and get the defences ready it’ll get a lot easier. You will need to upgrade the Wagon station to take more settlers, more settlers make for easier defending which makes for more stone and gold, which means more upgrades and so on.
Once you’ve hit a peak and can have no more dino’s and settlers, then it’s time to take on the Bandit King in his own lair. This is the end game and while you will win if you’ve trained everyone and all the dino’s to the max, you can continue going back and forth between the gold mine and your town. Once you’ve done that, you’ll probably want to finish and collect all the trophies, and to be honest it’s an easy game to 100%.
A couple of weeks later I came back to the game and started from scratch, finished everything, and came back again for this review, to make a video I played for what felt like 30 minutes, but what was in fact 3½ hours! Not bad for a game where I’m on my third play through.
From start to finish the campaign is a little short, roughly 3-4 hours, but it’s so enjoyable I’ve played it through 2 more times and I’m still loving it. This is the only thing that lets it down, it could have been a little longer, but it’s so damned enjoyable I really didn’t mind.