Ultra-Indie Spotlight Sunday: Dinohazard Has Everything We Want In A Game, Which Is Dinosaurs
Locked in an arctic base, strewn with the corpses of your dead colleagues, this game initially has the feeling of John Carpenter’s The Thing. This time, however, the Thing is actually a couple of dinosaurs. Dinohazard is a game by developers Jim Gennisson, Nicolas Schoner, Guillaume, and Mathusalemherod. The antithesis to the previous game Biocrisis, if only for the Biohazard and Dino Crisis joke, this latest game is a pitch-perfect recreation of classic survival horror, featuring the delightful monsters we all love.
Normally I would find some aspect of the game spotlighted that is innovative, or at the very least, does something well. For Dinohazard, it’s dinosaurs. Can’t get enough of them, and yet, few developers have put forth projects about these noble creatures. Though there has been a bit of a resurgence in the Dino Crisis genre, for instance the upcoming Compound Fracture, but beyond that, few indie horror games come to mind.
Whether it be the Jurassic Park style nightmare lizards or the scientific community’s big birds, dinosaurs are always going to be an interesting addition to your horror game. Okay, maybe not, but I do think there is plenty of room for more dinos in the indie horror community. After all, they’re about as close as we get to real life cryptids. Dinosaurs are a well of creativity just waiting to be pulled from.
Non-Wanky Game Recap:
Gameplay in Dinohazard can be boiled down to running around looking for keys while trying not to get eaten. Tank controls and fixed camera angles make Dinohazard reminiscent of Resident Evil (or as it is also called, Biohazard). As this is a beginning build, there is much subject to change, but right now there are no guns nor items for you to worry about. Just keeping your flesh out of the raptor’s reach.
Dinosaurs always work. They’re cool, they’re scary, and they activate that childlike part of my brain that can appreciate the coolness and scariness simultaneously. Dinohazard is not exactly doing anything new—it’s really just a new take on the Dino Crisis formula— but at the same time, it’s doing something that works, and reminding us of a fact most developers seem to forget about: that dinosaurs are neat.
Unfortunately, the dinosaurs in Dinohazard could be done a bit better. For one, they aren’t all too quick to see you, leading to some awkward sequences. There was one moment where, having been bitten twice and reduced to a hobble, I was running around a small box several times with a raptor in tow. Obviously there’s only so much an indie dev can code, so I don’t expect a realistic hop over the box. But something to make the threat more threatening would do the game well.
There’s also, as itch.io user Zzzlaud points out, some room for improvement in the dinosaur reveal. As the main antagonist and danger of Dinohazard, first impressions are important. We see the dinosaur doing its rounds for at least a few moments before we get some kind of cutscene reveal. Cinematics are important in any classic horror game, all the more so when dinosaurs are present.
How To Fix It:
The obvious fix for the first one is to make the dinosaurs move a hair faster. Dinohazard doesn’t have any combat, and so the entirety of the stress comes from evading the dino jaws. They must, as the game’s name suggests, be a serious dino hazard.
As for the cinematics, maybe add one or two cutscenes hinting at the dinos before the reveal. Make the character walk by one with its back turned, tearing apart a former survivor. Dinohazard does not have a whole lot of issues. With some fine tuning for the game’s pacing, this could be something truly magical.
We need more dinosaurs. I guess that’s the thesis of this article. There’s really not a whole lot more to that. I’m a simple man. I like Dinohazard because dinos are the hazard. I wish there was some deeper analysis to it than that. But sometimes, you just gotta speak your truth.
You can download Dinohazard from itch.io by clicking here.