Developed by Panache Digital Games and published by Private Division, Ancestors: The Human Odyssey is a survival game where evolution is the main premise of the game, and here’s our review of the game.
The game is not meant for those who denied Charles Darwin’s theory on evolution.
The Circle of Life
Ancestors: The Human Odyssey is a third-person survival game where its setting of the game is located in prehistoric Africa. Players will have to control a lineage of apes as they go through the evolutionary cycle while discovering the land.
If an ape that you’re controlling dies, the other member in the clan will replace the fallen ape and continue on until all of the members in your clan are dead. Brutal.
The game starts off with the scene of an ape carrying its child on its back, but is suddenly killed by a bird, and the child drops down. The first mission will feature the player playing as the child and will need to hide from in a hole to avoid getting eaten by predators.
Through the mission, the game introduces to you some gameplay mechanics such as various of sensing abilities which is used to help in completing the missions. These sensing abilities come in the form of different abilities such as “Intelligence”, “Smelling” and “Hearing” which can be used for players to scope out their environments of threats or points of interests.
The whole gist of the gameplay for Ancestors is essentially “Survival of the fittest”. The hunt or be hunted concept is built around during the entirety of the game, all while advancing through evolution.
Evolution through Controls
Ancestor: The Human Odyssey is best played using a controller. The controls depend on the player’s own sense of discovery as much won’t be said throughout the game. The dev’s intention for players when playing this game would be to experience what it’s like to be in the shoes (in this case, feet) of a living creature who knows nothing about the vast world, experience and learning along the way.
One of the examples would be during the first mission where you have to save the child in danger, you’d have to click according to the controller’s vibration. Once the controller vibrates, you’ll have to click on the button. But the game doesn’t tell you what buttons to press to fulfill the entire interaction.
Another interaction would be grooming which is done to create bonds between apes; a specific button would initiate the grooming sequence but the game doesn’t explicitly tell you what buttons to press and at which correct timing.
The “Help” option in the menu would explain the game’s mechanics but there’s no further explanation as to how to utilize the function. So you’re pretty much stuck till you figure it out by yourself (unless you go search it online but where’s the fun in that). But once you manage to do it successfully, it’s very satisfying.
In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle
The visuals of prehistoric Africa is stunning. The sense of being thrown into the unknown gives the game a certain charm of exploration and adventurism really enhances the experience of the game. The environment can be a bit intimidating at times with how overwhelming it can be with its sprawling designs but it gets easier to mentally map out each locale over the course of time.
Time and time, you’ll discover new territories with beautiful landscapes, but while the environment can be nice to see and all but if you’re out adventuring for too long in a new and unknown territory, your ape would get afraid since it’s a entirely foreign land. And if your ape is feared for too long, you’ll be forced to change into a new ape.
The prehistoric land of Africa and also be an intimidating place filled with dangerous predators out for the hunt. You’ll need to keep an eye out for predators such as prehistoric crocodiles, pythons, bears and tigers while traversing the lands, and while running away is certainly an option, it’s not the only option you have. If being attacked by an opponent, you’re also able to fend off their attacks to fight back to assert your dominance.
Features That Will Be Passed On To Generations To Come
- Being able to climb up every tree and rock
While climbing up trees and jump from one to another can be fun, you’ll have to be careful as well since failing to land on a tree and falling down will cause damage to your ape, having it have injuries as well as making it difficult to walk for a certain amount of time.
Although I found it difficult to control using the analogue stick while climbing up and down trees. The camera movement was super awkward when climbing since there’s some weird interactions when climbing.
- Players can advance their species
Players can broaden a clan’s knowledge by inspecting different aspects of the environment such as checking out varying types of plants and learning their properties can greatly benefit future generations to come. And by observing other animals it’ll impact your survival traits.
- Skills and States
One of the main feature of Ancestors would be Neurological Growths. There are skills such as Motor Functions and Sensing Abilities can be upgraded and once its upgraded to a certain point, you’ll be able to advance a generation which allows them to see where their progress has taken their species.
Along with their abilities, there are multiple statuses to keep in mind for the apes from health, stamina, and to even dopamine levels which are significant for day to day survival.
When it comes to mentioning these statuses, the game will say what one can do to heal or recover all the negative status but as always, the game won’t mention what kind of stuff that I should be looking for to cure the status and I ended up spending a great deal of my time dragging my ape around when it got poisoned by a food that it ate until the poison left the ape’s body eventually.
Ancestor: The Human Odyssey is such a unique game that I really want to love but it playing it takes so much of your time and grinding through the same processes over and over again doesn’t give you enough payoff to encourage its players to continue playing the game. The learning curve for game mechanics just takes up too much time and makes players easy to give up on the game.
The features and concept of the game is such a breath of fresh air but I just wished they polish up the tedious parts of the game such as being able to skip some cutscenes like the grooming because it can lose its charm after watching it for the fifth time.
|Unique premise||Payoff of grinding doesn’t amount to the time it takes.|
|Environment gives a sense of adventure|