I still have fond memories of waking up early on a Saturday morning as a kid just to catch my favourite cartoons. From Digimon to Beyblade, I loved them all and Fossil Fighters Frontier feels exactly like those shows to the point where it even has its own cheesy 90’s type theme song. It’s a nostalgic feeling and it really does take me back to a simpler time, but the sentiment was fleeting and I ended up longing to go back to reality.
Fossil Fighters Frontier tells the age old story of a young kid who has finally reached the age of about twelve (which seems to be the age of adulthood in these type of tales) where they’re able to venture out into the world, on their own and with no adult supervision. Your character, be it a boy or a girl, decides to join an organization known as the Wardens who are tasked with the preservation and protection of Fossil Parks from all around the world. You’ll be collecting creatures called Vivosaurs which are created from fossils found in these parks to help in your fight against the evil of the world. It’s a pretty simple and straight forward story featuring the usual group of clichéd kids that tag along for the ride. While it does have a certain amount of charm it is by no means engaging and you’ll probably end up ignoring most of it.
The gameplay in Fossil Fighters Frontier is broken up into a few sections. We have the hub world exploration where you take control of the main character and run around talking to people, go shopping and take on some side missions in classic RPG fashion. As the game progresses you’ll be whisked away to different hubs that are all laid out in the same way but are just aesthetically different to match its particular region. The meat of the game however lies in the exploration of the Fossil Parks where we get to do a host of different things.
Easily my favourite part of the game was going out into the world and exploring the various Parks but unlike traditional RPGs where we control the actual character; we’re instead given a vehicle called a Bone Buggy that we get to drive. The whole mechanic reminds me quite a lot of the PlayStation 1 game, Digimon World 2, where outside of the hub world we also get some form of a vehicle used for traversal. Unlike Digimon World 2 though, Fossil Fighters Frontier is not bound by strict dungeon crawling rules, and we’re given much more freedom to explore and roam around, from speeding up ramps to drifting around corners, it was always fun to take your Buggy for a spin and there were even races and challenges that one could partake in. It’s a nice way to change up the normality but as fun as it was, it couldn’t hide the tedium of the rest of the game.
Creature capturing and collection in these types of games comes in different shapes and sizes. Shin Megami Tensei has you conversing with demons to recruit them while Pokemon sees the player employing numerous techniques to catch a Pokemon in a tiny little ball. They’re all different and unique in their own way. Fossil Fighters Frontier is no different and it fittingly has you excavating the fossils of actual dinosaurs around the Parks to use in the creation of new Vivosaurs. You’ll be tapping and swiping on the bottom screen in a race against the clock to chip away at the stone and dirt covering those essential bones. If you find an undiscovered bone of a particular type, a new Vivosaur will be revived based on it. Find an already discovered bone of the same type and that Vivosaur will become stronger. At first the exercise was mildly entertaining but after my umpteenth time doing it, it became a chore and I found myself dreading having to dig up yet another bone. It’s a mundane activity that rarely changes things up but the mundanity of it is equally matched and even surpassed by the battle system.
The premise of dinosaurs fighting each is surely a cool one but the battle system is everything but that. Battles are turn-based and each Vivosaurs can have up to 4 attacks available for choosing depending on how strong it is. Each attack uses a set number of Fossil Points from a pool that accumulate and replenishes each turn. Stronger attacks may need more points than you can currently have in your pool forcing you to wait till you have the required amount. You’re also accompanied by two other characters called Paleo Pals but you don’t have direct control over them.
Before an attack commences there is a small period wherein you can use consumable support shots such as increasing attack power or replenishing your health. The window is small and you’ll have to mash the buttons to get in a few shots. The management of support shots is the only real strategic aspect of the battle system. Besides a few other nuances such as some attacks changing an enemy position for a more advantageous follow up attack, the battle system is incredibly bare bones. You have no control over your team mates and you’re limited to at most only 4 attacks. The only time I really felt involved was when I was mashing the support attack buttons. There really isn’t much else of note to say about the battle system.
The graphics are pretty average and nothing really stands out. The 3D effect doesn’t really add much to the overall look and I played most of the game with it turned off. On the plus side, the game is incredibly colourful and vibrant and the music for the most part fits in nicely with the world. The actual Vivosaur design is somewhat of a mixed bag though. Some of the models do look pretty awesome while others look downright ugly and scary, but that’s a minor gripe in all honesty as this kind of design is usually the case in these types of games.
Last Updated: May 28, 2015