Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 4Also available on Microsoft Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch
Gigantosaurus is a children’s TV series, based on a popular series of novels, which aired on the Disney Channel. It follows the adventure of four young dinosaur friends, exploring and understanding the world around them, that they share with the fearsome Gigantosaurus. The diverse set-up of dinosaur breeds and the constant presence of an apex predator makes me think of The Land Before Time, only with far less traumatic sadness.
The cutesy characters, the colourful world design, and the base themes of exploration and adventure make Gigantosaurus a perfect fit for an all-ages video game.
The presentation is a mixed bag, in terms of fidelity to the series. The simple, clean graphics may be a little basic for a current-gen title, looking more like a nicely polished previous-gen game, but it has a charm about it and retains the likeable designs of the show. None of the main voice cast from the show are present in the game, instead, a narrator, not part of the show, relays the story in rhyme. It’s simplistic but charming in its own way. The music is similarly basic but cute.
This runs through the gameplay, too. If you have played any 3D platform game since the days of Croc or Spyro the Dragon, you know what to expect. You are presented with a modestly sized series of maps that you are free to explore, collecting key items like plant seeds, or acorns, or lost dinosaur eggs, that you return to scattered drop off points. There are a variety of obstacles to overcome, which you accomplish by switching between the four main characters, each of whom has a speciality skill. There is an option for other players to take on an individual character but the swap-out mechanic makes single-player mode easy enough for anyone to grasp, the game will make sure to prompt you when a specific character is needed, which is not always.
The titular ‘giganto’ roams the map and startles your character but otherwise poses no real threat, he is mostly there out of obligation to the series rather than a central figure. There are actually very few threats in the game, the ones that do exist are not aggressive and will not seek you out, rather they will cause you damage if you accidentally bump into them. It is very generous to any potential young, first-time players so do not expect a Crash Bandicoot level challenge.
When assessing a game like Gigantosaurus, it really is only fair to judge it by its intentions and who it is intended for. This game always keeps in mind that it may well be a child’s first video game, it makes sure the visuals and sounds are clean and not overwhelming, there’s a lot of room to explore and get to grips with the controls without any pressure. It would be hard to find a more ideal entry point for young children into video games that are not an educational game. Gigantosaurus delivers some charming, low stakes fun for kids.