Summer Fun Found in ‘Jurassic World Alive’



When Pokémon GO launched in 2016, I, like so many of my nerd brethren, ventured outside to walk around the neighborhood in search of virtual Pokémon on my phone. After about two months, I fell out of it. The game took up too much of my time, ate my phone’s battery and the Pokémon became a chore to catch. I was over it. So when “Jurassic World Alive” debuted in the App Store last week, I was a bit apprehensive. I didn’t want to throw myself into another geo-location-based walking game with little reward. But by replacing Pokéball-throwing with dart-shooting, swapping endless collecting with purposeful collecting, and trading pocket monsters with terrible lizards, this game may have a fighting chance to be my favorite summer activity.
“Jurassic World Alive” is a real world game. It takes players out of their homes and into the streets, searching for dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals that have gotten loose from their Isla Nublar home to roam the Earth. The dinos can be found in neighborhoods, in homes, in business districts, in parks – anywhere. By watching the screen on your mobile device, players find dinosaurs and send out their virtual drone to recover it. The drone fires darts at the virtual dinosaur and, depending on accuracy, yields a certain amount of DNA codons. When enough codons are collected, the dino can be cloned and added to the player’s collection. The collected dinosaurs can then be pitted in battle against each other, or computer teams, or other players’ teams in an old-school Pokémon-style fighting game to earn more DNA and more dinos.
I played the game for just over an hour and encountered 21 different dinosaurs, and fully collected 11 of those. Some of these are classic, well-known dinos like Velociraptor, Edmontosaurus and Stegosaurus, while others are more obscure ones, some that even I am unfamiliar with, like the theropods Majungasaurus, Monolophosaurus and Tanycolagreus.
In all fairness, I did take advantage of their store. Whereas Pokémon GO is totally free, “Jurassic World Alive” is a “freemium” game that offers shortcuts to those with dollars to spend. I joined the monthly VIP program for $10/month and then purchased a $2 booster pack. Some of the DNA came in those packs, but about one third of the dinos were caught organically. It’s doable either way, via purchase or grinding to get those codons daily.
The real benefit with this game is the battle system. Whereas Pokémon GO just had a “tap till you won” battle feature that left a lot to be desired, this has a fully featured fighting game that happens to have a geo component. And rather than using AR to locate the animal to be caught, the AR is just a camera that places the dinos in your world for pictures and video. It’s not quite as fully a geo-game as Pokémon GO, but it’s more of a game overall.
“Jurassic World Alive” is available now on the iOS and Android app stores.