Game Design, Game Reviews

Game Review: Sabertooth Simulator – For those that want to roleplay a tiger

sabertooth_iconI always wanted to roleplay a tiger.

Available on Google PlayAvailable on iTunesWith so many RPG games out there, it strikes me as quite unbelievable that there are basically no games where you can assume the role of a wild beast. Sabertooth Simulator is one of those rare games that bring the well-known RPG genre into fairly unknown territory. For a start, I can say it’s decent, but still lacking in some parts.

The game was built by the Area730 development team, and was created for both iOS and Android. On its Google Play site it makes a couple of really bold statements:

“This is one of the best simulator games ever!” Hardly. But you can still applaud the attitude.

“This is the most realistic wild sabertooth tiger simulator in stunning 3D!” This one might even be true, as I don’t know of any other sabretooth sim games.

Simplicity is not an RPG thing

Screenshot_2015-10-20-15-36-07At the game’s core is simplicity in all things – graphics, gameplay, interface. However, RPG games are not popular for their simplicity, but rather the opposite – width and depth in all things.

Starting the game, I was greeted with a splash image of a Sabertooth Tiger chillin’ in the Savannah somewhere, or wherever it is that these wild cats dwell. On the screen there was just one button – play.

Once I started the game, a short tutorial explained what I thought to be the basics. However, the tutorial managed to explain the entire game in just a few screens. Your tiger has levels and a couple of statistics which can be upgraded, including speed, strength and damage.

The controls are also as basic as they can be: the left joystick is for movement, and the button on the right is to attack. The quests are also fairly basic, but that’s not something I can criticise, as an average wild cat’s life is basic – you hunt other beasts, and that’s pretty much it.

A large game

Screenshot_2015-10-20-15-36-15The goal of the game is not simply to survive, as all wild beasts do, but instead to hunt and evolve into “a real terror of the wild!” At the start, you will only be able to hunt weak animals, like rams and sheep, but as you level up and grow, you will be able to target bigger beasts.

What (positively) surprised me was the size of the map. It was quite big, and featured a lot of different animals all over the map. However, it was hard to tell where you were at the map, as you only had the minimap. Also, there was no way of distinguishing the “huntable” animals (weak enough for you to engage) from the stronger ones, as the minimap shows all in the same way. There also seemed to be no level zones (different zones where only animals of a certain level dwell).

Looking at the game as a whole, I can say it kicks off to a good start, but loses the initial run-up quite fast. It taps into unsaturated territory of wild beast RPGs, where it could easily dominate. However, it lacks many of the things which make RPG games great.

Considering that it’s a simulator – things such as items and spells cannot be implemented. But various attacks (jumping attacks, clawing with both paws, sprint, etc.) could be added. A day/night could also be interesting to see, with different types of beasts giving different experience bonuses appearing at different times of day.

Hunting in packs could also be added, as well as a shop for various visual improvements, such as the animal’s colours, size and shape of its teeth, etc.

If I were to recap the game in a single sentence, I’d say it shows great promise, tapping into new territory, but has lots of room for improvement in every aspect, and that is something the developers should be looking at.

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