After the historic success of Pokémon GO, it seemed logical that especially in the mobile space, the market would soon be flooded with clones and competitors from big IPs to total knock-offs.
That didn’t really happen though, because as it turns out, making a location-based AR game is…not exactly like ripping off Flappy Bird. We have seen only a handful of GO-type games, and practically zero have made any kind of market impact outside GO itself, despite that one week where Draconius GO was a thing.
But we may soon have our first major IP trying to get in on the action. Beating the upcoming Walking Dead AR game to market, we have Jurassic World Alive, a Pokémon GO um, competitor, which has players collecting dinosaurs in the wild and splicing their genes together to create new ones.
The concept could sound interesting in theory, but I’m a bit put off by the promotional screenshots which…well you can see them above. Needless to say it looks more like a hurried photoshop project than a finished game, but I suppose I’ll reserve final judgement for when it’s actually on my phone.
Perhaps the weirdest thing about Jurassic World Alive is the fact that you…don’t actually have to go outside to play it. You can, but you can also send out a “drone” that will collect samples for you. Essentially a sanctioned form of GO spoofing. While I’ve long complained about there being relatively little to do in GO without being outside and mobile, this isn’t really what I was talking about, and it seems to kind of defeat the purpose of a title like this when you can sit at home and have a drone do the work for you.
I’m also not convinced that regular old dinosaurs will have the appeal of iconic Pokémon, though I suppose perhaps my five year-old self who wanted to be a paleontologist would disagree. Interestingly, Jurassic World Alive has a few features that Pokémon GO does not, like the ability to essentially breed dinos, take selfies and AR video with them at any time, and live PvP battles between dinosaurs. Pokémon GO should be taking notes about those elements, at least.
Do I think Jurassic World Alive will be a smash hit? Probably not. I want to see the game in action, not cinematic trailers or off-putting screenshots, but this seems like it’s an odd choice for a game and one coming at least a solid year late. It will remain hard for really anyone to compete with Pokémon GO outside of Niantic’s own Harry Potter game coming this year, namely because Niantic was spun out of the Google maps team so they’re experts on all this location stuff, and they also have had an enormous pool of Ingress portals on which to build these other games, something Jurassic World Alive or The Walking Dead Our World don’t have access to.
I’m curious to try this but yeah, I wouldn’t exactly be worried if I were Niantic here.