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December 2021


Platform(s): WiiU
Genre: Edutainment
Developer: Engine Software
Release Date: Dec. 10, 2015

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.


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Wii U Review - 'Dinox'

by Brian Dumlao on Dec. 29, 2015 @ 11:30 a.m. PST

Dinox is a trivia game with over 900 questions about the world of dinosaurs. The aim is to get the highest score possible. Dinox supports multiplayer, and up to four players can play against each other.

Making a trivia game focused solely on one topic can be tricky. You have to ensure that the topic has loads of information. You've got to make sure the material is intriguing to those who aren't already enthusiasts. You also have to make it appealing in some way outside of the questions. Dinox for the Wii U does a few of these things right, but the stuff it gets wrong is enough to make it less interesting than it should be.

Every game starts off the same way. You pick the number of people who are going to play (one to four). You choose a difficulty level for the questions, and then you pick which dinosaur will represent each person. From there, you answer multiple choice questions about dinosaurs and the other inhabitants of the era. Each correct question gets you a set of bones related to the dinosaur that you've chosen. Get 10 questions correct, and you win the game and complete your dinosaur skeleton, so you can take a better look at it later on.

What makes the questions more interesting is that they're always preceded by video clips about the dinosaurs or the era. The footage is from the BBC series "Walking with Dinosaurs," and while that isn't exactly new anymore, it remains a fascinating series with loads of good footage. On the Wii U, this means that some of the footage is cleaned up, but you aren't exactly expecting an HD remaster. In fact, some of the footage still has noticeable interlacing lines whenever footage moves at a fast clip. The other annoying part of the video is that the solid watermark for the game is plastered on the top left corner at all times. Nevertheless, for those who haven't seen the series yet, you'll be mesmerized by what you see and a little disappointed once the snippets end.

As far as trivia goes, what you're getting is pretty decent. There are over 900 questions that span a wide range of eras. Some of the dinosaurs are pretty well known, while you may never have heard of some of the others unless you watched the series or are really into dinosaurs. The game also has the option to have both questions and answers read aloud, so at least the game feels somewhat modern as far as presentation goes.

What doesn't work is how the questions and video go hand in hand. They don't. Despite having questions split into categories where you have to watch the video clip carefully or listen for clues, the queries rarely use of the medium they trot out at every instance. You may see a clip of a Utahraptor, for example, but the question may ask about when it was named instead of asking about the clip. There's nothing wrong with the question, but without a solid relation between text and video, the clips feel like filler.

It also doesn't help that Dinox provides little to no incentive to replay it multiple times. Unlike the iOS version, everything is unlocked from the beginning, so the only thing you're unlocking is a 3-D model of the skeleton in a gallery. Once you do that, you can't see the model in great detail, and there aren't a load of facts for you to unlock, either. Even though you have three difficulty levels, all of the questions feel about the same as far as difficulty goes. There's nothing to help ease new players into the subject material, so players who are losing on the easy difficulty level will check out before the first session is even halfway done.

Dinox is as basic of a trivia game as you can get. Aside from the "Walking with Dinosaurs" clips that are thrown around before every question, there's no real flash to get those who aren't particularly interested or versed in the subject matter to give the game a shot. The difficulty levels seem to have no bearing on the questions, and neither do the video clips. It's an inexpensive game at $5, but unless you are a real big dinosaur fan, it's easy to skip it.

Score: 4.5/10

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