Fossil Fighters Frontier
Although there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the franchise before, Frontier is actually the third Fossil Fighters title, and the first to make its way to the 3DS. But despite the relatively unknown brand, there’s little here that’s not disturbingly familiar.
Try as I might, there was absolutely no way for me to get through this review without mentioning the almost painful similarities between Fossil Fighters: Frontier and Pokemon. With the success of the latter being a major boon for Nintendo over the past couple of decades, it’s not entirely surprising that they’ve looked to attempt to replicate the formula elsewhere, but never has it been as blatant and unimaginative as here. Frontier is for all intents and purposes a streamlined Pokemon for younger players. The “catch them all and put them to battle” premise remains untouched, but the characters, setting, narrative and presentation all scream “Saturday morning kids’ TV” to me, right the way down to the complete cheese- fest of a title song ( one you’ll never want to hear again within a matter of seconds). They key differentiator between the two franchises ( both Nintendo published) is the fact that, here, you’re digging up dinosaur fossils to build vivosaurs, reanimated dinos that battle against each other when necessary. Playing the role of a warden entrusted with keeping valuable archaeological dig sites safe, it’s your job to rise through the ranks with your NPC buddies, building up your vivo- armoury and driving around in your amusingly titled “bone buggy”. And that’s pretty much all there is to it aside from a screen tapping and stylus sliding mechanic that, for some reason, sees you jump from warden to paleontologist to dig up fossils yourself, either to add new vivosaurs to your collection or power them up with some new skills. For about ten minutes this is a mechanic that works reasonably well, before becoming one of the most needlessly dull gaming ordeals ever. It’s obvious that I’m not the target demographic here, as the childish narrative is unlikely to resonate with anyone over the age of ten, but that doesn’t stop me from being able to identify one key issue with Fossil Fighters: Frontier - it’s a rubbish Pokemon that somehow manages to make dinosaurs, the most awesome creatures in our planet’s history, seem dull and uninspired. Honestly, just pick up a Pokemon game instead - even if it’s a gift for a younger player.