The Croods is a brand new game on Android from Angry Birds creators Rovio. it’s based on the new movie of the same name by Dreamworks and is available as a free download with the option to buy in-game currencies using your own hard earned cash should you feel the need to speed up certain tasks.
The Game is aimed fairly and squarely at the target audience of the movie, which is the younger generation, and the gameplay reflects this with its simplistic and repatitive nature. However, it’s not all that bad and will entertain those who it’s targeted for a long time.
The player takes control of the prehistoric family, The Croods. They will be given various little adventures to take part in, and the basic idea is to hunt and gather, just as prehistoric man would have done. At its most basic, The Croods has the player trying to hunt and capture any one of the ten different kinds of animals. Once captured in a dedicated trap for that animal, the animal (all sorts of interesting prehistoric-esque animals) can be transferred to a holding pen where they can be tamed. Taming the animal is just a matter of feeding them the correct food, and this food is harvested from the various plants that are around the area, or from plants that you set up. Once the animal is tamed it can then be let back out and it will be a useful animal for you to use in the game.
The selection of items that unlock other items can be used to build structures, trap different kinds of animals or invent various new items that unlock new areas of the map. As is quite often the case in these games, players progression through the game is measured through an experience point system. These points are earned by hunting and gathering new animals and food, and also through “chores” which are provided by one of the games characters. Chores is a good name to use, as an older player, this reviewer found the endless repeating tasks of the game a major chore, but no doubt younger viewers may enjoy it more.
It seems to be coming the norm that activities in free games are given a time limit to complete, and this is the case with The Croods. However, never fear, as with real money you can buy credits that speed up those activities. This is one part of gaming that is going to be the bugbear of many, and although the game is free, there has to be a better way to make people spend their real hard earned cash.
Another annoying feature, is that the game has to be played with an online connection, and you have to sign up to have a Rovio account. Why this is a necessity is not made obvious, perhaps Rovio are trying to make the player be more interactive with other users? Either way, it’s an odd feature to implement when the game is aimed at the younger players.
As the game is based on a computer animated production, it means that the graphics can reflect the film very accurately. Each of the main characters and animals are represented very well and look like the characters that are in the film. The game is played on an isometric map, and the landscape has a lot of detail just as it does in the film. There is little to no animation on background objects, and everything looks like a cartoon, which is in keeping with the film. Animals have basic animation, as do objects that are growing or being built. It’s all in keeping with the look and feel of the film, and it will look good to the games target audience.
There is a great tune that plays on the menu screen, and there is some interesting music and effects played while in the game itself. The characters talk in a cave-man-garble, and their speech is shown on screen in little speech bubbles. The sound and effects are very much like the game, in that they are done a certain way for its target audience, and they work very well.
The Croods is a strange game. On the one hand it looks and sounds good, and there seems to be a lot on offer, however being tied to the time limits before completing certain tasks and having to spend real money to accomplish things quick enough to feel like there is any progression is becoming an annoying habit in these new “freemium” games.
For younger players, The Croods will no doubt keep them amused, but other than the repetitive hunt and gather mechanic and the film tie-in aspect, there really is little to recommend about this title.