One of Nintendo’s new IPs for this year is Fossil Fighters for the Nintendo DS. A game which mixes what made Pokemon great with the trilling and exciting world of being an archaeologist. Eh… if you can consider archeology to be a very exciting topic. Either way the game is something new and something old all in one, come join me on Vivosaur Island to find out what Fossil Fighters is all about.
The game consists of three activities that you will be doing repeatedly as you play the game. Digging for fossils, cleaning the fossils, and then working on perfecting your Vivosaur team.
Out of all the activities you have to do in Fossil Fighters, digging is the most uninteresting and boring aspect of the entire game. You basically run around using sonar signal to find what you would think are fossils buried in the ground. Then you have to line up almost perfectly with the location of the fossil and dig in the ground where you think the fossil is located. When searching for fossils there is always a small chance that you will get a rock that isn’t a fossil, or an even larger chance that you’ll get a fossil you have already collected. There is also a very small percentage that you will find other things, like Jewels for example.
The dig sites are somewhat interesting though as its a small island you on are, and there is so many different areas. I never expected to see an ancient pyramid but there are other areas like mines, pirate ships, and other locales where fossils are buried. You will also sometimes have to battle other people looking for fossils because they’re after the same fossil you are currently looking for.
Besides visiting dig sites for fossils, usually when you visit a new spot you have to spend some time doing a quest before you can move onto the next site. Which is where a majority of the games story and character development is present. This is where you meet other fossil fighters, bad guys, or your soon to be best friend Rosie. Who will usually need your help to get out of whatever trouble she is in at the moment.
When you are not helping Rosie, or digging up fossils you will spend a majority of your time trying to bring them back to life. Which involves chipping away at the fossils rock to get closer to the bone or gem if you found one. The cleaning process is a basically a timed mini-game where you have 90 seconds to clean the fossil as quickly as you can without damaging it. Which is almost flawed beyond belief as no matter how hard you try you will always end up damaging the fossil. As the only tools at your disposal for cleaning the fossils are a hammer and a drill.
The hammer bashes the harder areas of the rock off and the drill is used to get the finer sediment off. When you use the drill though rock dust will cloud the screen and you have to blow into the microphone to get rid of it. The mini-game is somewhat frustrating as it is very easy to damage the fossil, and no matter how hard you try you will probably never get a 100% fossil clean as the closest I ever got to it was 94%. Cleaning a fossil is important as you really need the higher the ratings to get the more powerful Vivosaurs.
Cleaning fossils is really hard if you are a perfectionist, and while it is fun you will probably not want to clean every fossil you get. Thankfully, you won’t need to. As you can give them to your fossil cleaning robot KL-33N, who cleans them decently and only gets better over time as he watches you. You also get points for cleaning fossils you have already found as you donate themÂ for credit toward earning special fossils. Or if you really want to you can sell them at the island’s fossil shop for cash.
Finally when you are not digging up fossils and cleaning them you can battle them at the fossil stadium. Your goal to become the number one Pokemon trainer Vivosaur trainer around. Battling with your Vivosaurs is rather weird. As you fight with three Vivosaurs at a time vs a team or three or less.Â Although, the battle system is quite fair for a weaker opponent as the weaker team always goes first. During a battle you collect 70 FP which can be used to attack with one of your Vivosaurs, or if you want to bide your time you can pass your turn and store it for another 70FP, which allows you to pull off more devastating attacks.
While it’s smart to attack with the Vivosaur in the Red Square, you can attack with the Vivosaurs in the Blue square although they can only attack the the red Square. It is a weird and unique battle system. Which pretty much anyone could win at if you are good at tactics, as you can move around your Vivosuars during your turn.
Overall the story itself is not really that deep for an adult gamer, but then again the game is marketed towards kids who love dinosaurs. It is also modeled almost exactly after Pokemon which makes me frown at Nintendo for this shameless de-make of a better game. Either way, the game is decent for a Nintendo published title. Yet it really is just a poorly covered rehash of Pokemon with less stuff to do.
Review based on retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.