I would argue that above zombies, dinosaurs are probably the world’s most beloved sub-culture. From The Land Before Time extending to Jurassic Park, I argue that dinosaurs have maintained a special place in most everyone’s heart. The problem is that there has not been much love (or hate) for dinorsaurs in video games since the Turok series. The problem’s solution came with advent of Kickstarter. Spiral Game Studios has had the design for Orion started since 1998, but it wasn’t until their Kickstarter campaign for $10,000 that net almost $20k in over a year that they made some serious headway. They’ve released the game early on May 4th and will be continuing to update the game and produce more content for it. In fact, when I received my copy, I couldn’t even play it. It is running on the Unreal Development Kit and for some reason, mine kept crashing. So I sat by and was patient until the release when the forums would be up on Steam and more people would probably experience and fix the same problem I was having. I was correct in that assumption and ever since I did a small bcdedit on Windows to expand my virtual video memory, the game has worked. I am not going to say flawlessly, because inside the game there are certainly issues and I will point out the ones I’ve notice as I tell you more about the world of Orion: Dino Beatdown and all the dinosaurs I’ve killed.
The game itself plays on the popular games that feature hoard mode. On the worlds of Orion, you step into what is perhaps a failed terra-forming project. The reason for failure? Self aware dinosaurs. Perhaps they fled our world when the catastrophic event neared and perhaps this is the same reason we are exploring space trying to do the same. Like any good military would do, you’re sent down to get things working again. Generally on the maps there are four bases, each containing: a generator system, a personnel upgrade station, a weapons depot and a vehicle depot. Once you flick the switch on the generator, things start to spiral downwards. Something about it drives the dinosaurs crazy and a wave of them approach the base hell-bent on eradicating everything. Each dino you kill or help kill earns you credits to spend at each previous mentioned station (minus the generator). You’ll be able to buy new weapons or bonuses, upgrade abilities or even bring out some heavy weaponized vehicles to more efficiently dispatch the giant lizards trying to eat you. Of course, you can only do this as long as the generator is working. Eventually the dinosaurs will bore of the hide and seek game you’re playing and attack the humming beacon of power. The upgrade stations are then down until you repair the generator. Healing the generator is not an easy task when you have a wave of Raptors, T-Rexs and more .
Classes are split into three groups. Assault, Medic, and Recon; each with their own special abilities and armors. Assault is my favorite as you have a jetpack allowing you to soar across the map and out of harm’s way. Medic of course can heal team members, but is also a bit more armored to make up for the lack of anything else. Recon has a cloaking ability and is probably the most useful team member when needing to heal a generator. As it stands, out of your squad of five you will need to find the right mix of each class. Once you reach activate the generator, be ready for the swarm to engulf the base and keep your eyes on the skies for the flying Rhams that snatch you off the ground, smack you up a bit and eventually drop you perhaps to your death. Some servers setup by people will give you some starting credit, but for the most part you will have to earn your own way through the game. Stopping at a weapons depot will get you a new secondary weapon at a reasonable price until you can afford a more powerful main weapon. However, you’ll always have your dependable trusty pea shooter that you start with. Die, and you have to hope your remaining teammates can finish off the wave without you for you to spawn, unless you have a stash of credits that can buy your way in.
As the game is now, dying is inevitably for most. Occasionally a T-Rex will clip through a wall and eat an unwary player. However, most deaths will come down to poor planning. Since this is a team based game, you will definitely have to rely on communication and unless you are in a group that has a Vent or Mumble server ready, you are stuck with texting within the game leaving you motionless and vulnerable. However, the game is constantly being updated. The launch game was a different download than my early access and since then there has been two patches to fix major issues. I swear that Spiral has faster response to issues than most AAA game studios. I for one do not mind the current glitches present in the game, as it is overall a wholly rewarding experience. Spiral wanted to push the idea to everyone that right now they are not buying a finished game, but a seed that will grow with the users and eventually blossom into the game it was meant to be. As it stands, I cannot find any flaw within the idea of UTTERLY DESTROYING DINOSAURS! If I could go back in time and be the one to hurl a meteor at the Earth causing a dust cloud of life extinguishing proportions, I would! Ala,s I am gladly stuck with Orion: Dino Beatdown; It is a close second!