If your kids are not watching The Disney Channel or Disney+ then you might not be familiar with Gigantosaurus but since it launched about a year ago it’s been quite the hit show for kids around five to six years of age. Now, Outright has released a videogame adaptation that was developed by Wildsphere. It’s out for PC as well as all major consoles, and we’re testing the Switch version.
Gigantosaurus has been such a hit that, despite Disney pulling its content from Netflix to support its own steaming service, it’ll be launching its first season on the rival streaming service later this spring. You’ll still need Disney access to view the subsequent seasons, but it’s enough of a sign to conclude that the show’s indeed a big thing.
Publisher Outright, who specialize in kid-friendly games (like the recent Ice Age game or Crayola Scoot), picked up the license and had Wildsphere develop a puzzle-platformer aimed at younger gamers who are fans of the show but relatively new to the world of videogames. Those are the glasses you should be looking at this game with, for reasons we’ll discuss later.
In Gigantosaurus, a group of young (cartoon) dinosaurs go about their daily business and experience adventures that teach the viewers a thing here and there – it’s a bit like Sesame Street in its approach. The show gets its name from Giganto, who is a huge Giganotosaurus (a breed that can also be found in the Jurassic World Evolution game) that the kids regularly interact with. None of the kids are voiced by the actors from the show though, which is a shame as it would have brought the game to life much better for its young audience.
You do get a narrator telling you what’s going on and what to do though, so that’s an improvement over Outright’s previous title (Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure) which just left you to make up your own narrative on top of the “Scrat wants nuts” premise. Still, since kids in the target audience are unlikely to be good readers, it would have helped to have more spoken content in the game.
In Gigantosaurus, gameplay is mostly fairly standard platforming in levels that look a little like those in the recent Spyro trilogy remasters – only less detailed and more ‘square’. Everything’s colorful and the main characters look detailed and resemble their TV counterparts very well, so kids playing the game will easily forgive that it doesn’t look like a AAA production. Character recognition is important in these children’s games, and Rocky, Bill, Tiny and Mazu are present and accounted for – as are elements of the show’s soundtrack.
What’s also a neat touch is that each character has abilities that match with what they do on the show – for example, Tiny the triceratops can ram into trees to knock them down. It’s fairly simple stuff, but for kids it’s these moments where they feel like they really are their favorite characters and it also helps keep the gameplay varied and interesting. Many of these character-specific abilities have to be used in order to reach your objectives, which is often to reach eggs that were scattered across the level.
You also need to use various elements of the environment to help you get to where you need to be, all of which are platforming staples that introduce children to things like the ability to bounce off certain surfaces to get to higher ground. Once they get comfortable with these abilities, the game also offers a bit of replay value in the sense that other (harder to reach) objects can also be collected by players. There are also a few race/chase sequences, but despite the diversity in gameplay this is a very accessible game and a good starting point for budding gamers younger than seven or eight.
If you’re not in the target audience and don’t have children who are, then the simplicity of the Gigantosaurus game will likely bore you, but for children who adore Gigantosaurus this is to 3D platformers what last year’s Paw Patrol game was for 2D platformers. Both games are published by Outright and although they’re not stellar games in their own right they certainly appeal to their audience.