Customer Reviews: Fossil Fighters - Nintendo DS
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on August 25, 2009
Dinosaurs + Fighting.
How could this be bad? Well, it's failed miserably before, and I'm sure a lot of people have since been a bit cautious with this combination.

So, no, I wasn't expecting anything ground-breaking, but I was hopeful that it would be decent fun.
Well, let me tell you, this game is much more than it let's on.
First impression:
It's slow to begin.
Dialogue and more dialogue. But it wasn't at all boring. Surprisingly, the game has a lot of personality and humor. Once you learn what you'll be doing and how to do it, you won't want to put it down.
Anywhere outside of town there will appear a radar on the top screen to find fossils in the ground (while in town, the top screen is a very helpful map), you dig them up, and use your stylus to break away the rock from the fossil. The stylus will act as a hammer or a drill. If the fossil is a skull, you get a new Vivosaur! If you get a body, arm, or leg fossil, it will add power to your Vivosaur.
Each Vivosaur has an element. An element is stronger and weaker than another element. Basic stuff. You have a team of 5 you carry around with you. You can fight with up to 3 Vivosaurs at once. On the lower screen you see their positions and their condition, and on the top screen you see their 3D form either attacking the enemie's team or waiting for a command. There's even little commentators announcing what is happening in the battle (in text form). This bit of the game is very reminiscent of Pokemon Stadium, which I loved.
I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I wasn't expecting anything more than choosing a dinosaur and fighting another dinosaur, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was entirely wrong. This is a very, very long adventure game. So far I have clocked a little over 15 hours and there's no hint to an end in sight. You travel to different parts of the island to find different fossils and take on new missions.
This game is easily addictive, so be careful.
Also, there is little to no necessary grinding. Do so if you want, it will certainly make your Vivosaurs stronger, but collecting different fossil parts will make them strong enough for any battle.
Yes, this is an EASY game. I haven't had much trouble with anything. But that isn't the point. It's a fun ride, easy on the eyes, and never boring or repetitive. If you're a "hardcore gamer" and enjoy "mature games for mature gamers like myself" then this is not for you.

Gameplay: Fun, creative, and addictive. It doesn't take itself too seriously and it doesn't try to be anything it isn't.

Graphics: They're fantastic. It feels like I'm playing an old N64 game. It easily rivals Animal Crossing: Wild World.
Now, you have to understand, the DS is limited to a certain extent, so next to a handheld like the PSP, the Nintendo DS is almost laughable. However, graphics aren't everything, and it doesn't take away from the quality of the game. If anything, the game has a sort of nostalgic feel to it.

Overall: You can always tell when developers love the games they make. A lot of thought was put into this game and it shows.
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on September 3, 2009
I wanted to get my son's thoughts on this game for nearly 2 weeks now but he's been so busy playing it, I haven't been able to get a good overview from him until now. I shouldn't be surprised. It combines his favorite thing in the world, dinosaurs, with something he does every day with his sister... fighting.

Fossil Fighters is a new game for the DS where you can pretty much guess what it entails from the title. You play a boy (what? no girls?) who comes to an island to hunt for fossils which will turn into battle-ready dinosaurs, ready to tear your opponents dinos apart. Well, its not quite that exciting, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The gameplay consists of 4 main elements: the story, hunting for fossils, cleaning the fossils, and fighting. The story helps move things along and does a good job of introducing the other parts of the game as you come to them. New areas of the game open up as you progress allow you to explore and find new fossils. The fossil finding is dead simple. You have a radar that tells you where they are around you and you dig them up. The excitement is in finding new fossils that give you a new dinosaur makes existing ones more powerful.

My favorite part of the game is the cleaning. If you have kids who have always wanted to be paleontologists or archeologists, they'd love this. You have to chip away at the rock using a hammer and drill to uncover the bone within. The challenge is you must do this without damaging the fossil as well as complete the task within a set time limit. The less damage you do to the fossil, the more powerful your resulting dinosaur will be. This can be both rewarding and frustrating. Some rocks already have parts of the fossil showing, so you must be more careful in those areas. Some rocks resemble swiss cheese making the cleaning process feel like surgery. The DS is perfect for this task with the touchscreen. To top it off, your drill creates dust making it difficult to see what you're doing so you blow on your DS to remove the dust making it great fun.

That brings us to the fighting. Battles crop up in many different ways, but most are when you dig something up and another fighter pops out of nowhere claiming it to be theirs. You break out your pack of dinos and take turns unleashing a variety of moves. There is actually a good amount of strategy involved as different types of dinos are strong or weak against other types. This affects which ones you bring with you to battle (you can only choose 3). Also, one of these does the main fighting at a time while the others serve supporting roles. If you win, your dinos get a little stronger. If you lose, you don't lose your fossils or any similar dire consequences with lowers the frustration factor for kids. You simple end up back in town and you try the same thing again.

The downside of this game is that for being named after fighting, the fighting doesn't seem to be the best part. The fights are repetitive and very easy for most of the game. It's fun to try out new dinosaurs when you get them, but it's the same routine over and over. Many times, the fighting gets in the way of the fun, which is a shame. The good thing is that the rest of the game is quite satisfying and its certainly not a game they will finish in a few days. There's plenty of entertainment for the kids in this one.
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on February 9, 2011
My 6 yr. old son got this game for Christmas. He is a "struggling reader" and this game had LOTS and LOTS of reading. We assumed it was sort of a tutorial at the start, so I sat with him and read, and read, and read. At first, he was very frustrated with all of the words. As he got to playing, and digging bones and gems, creating dinosaurs, having his first battles, he became more excited. The fossil cleaning is fun, and both my kids cheer when they do a good job. The battles are interesting, and you have to think and use strategy. So, all in all, I am pleased with it, and my son has played it enough now that he doesn't require me to read for him anymore, because he understands the basis of the game. I think it is his favorite game.
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on July 26, 2011
I LOVE this game. Adults most likely won't be interested but from maybe, 6 - 13 may like it. I'm a girl, but if you are a girl and want to play it, be prepared, you MUST be a boy. :( That doesn't take anything away from the wonderful quality of the game though. You go to gig sites, dig up fossils using your sonar and pickaxe. Then, you go to the Fighter Area and inside the fossil place. Go and clean the fossil!!! Depending on how good you clean the fossil (a matter of cracking it or not) is how impressive you dinosaur's staus will be. Collect dinosaurs, and battle! Battle to rank up your dinosaurs while beating each chapter, then fight your
Level-up battle! I didn't buy this on amazon, my best friend let me play hers, and I got addicted. So addicted that yesterday, I played from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm! There is one discription I have for this game, Exciting,Strategy,Puzzle, and definitly for all ages! Take my word for it!
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on December 26, 2013
the older kid has enjoyed this for a few years, and introduced younger sibling to it. Now younger sibling is very happy to have own copy. If your kid has an interest in dinos/fossils, they will likely enjoy. I have not played it, but sounds like you are challenged to find fossils, fight dinos and can level up and achieve all sorts of dinos. 15yo has done all this, but still plays the game on occasion or is game of choice when playing with younger sib.
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on July 7, 2012
I bought several DS games for my 7 year old son to keep him busy during a 60+ hour cross-country drive. He liked this one more than the other games and said it was one of his all-time favorites. He was happy to play it for many hours. If he's a happy traveler then I'm happy.
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on March 3, 2012
The humor and storyline of this game are clearly intended for a younger audience, and the graphics for everything other then the battles were fairly crude (though this is greatly improved in the sequel). However, even despite these set backs, the battle system, the system in place for collecting and cleaning fossils and building teams of dinosaurs is a great deal of fun and is unique in a number of ways.
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on December 16, 2010
When I was a child, I loved dinosaurs. But then I grew up, and you know what? I still love dinosaurs. I'm also a big fan of RPGs, including the RPG subgenre of "monster-raising game". On top of all that, I'm a huge fan of the Pokemon games. So, every time I see a dinosaur-themed game that resembles pokemon, I can't help but want to try it. There are a couple options available on the DS, such as Dinosaur King or Dino Master, but for the most part these feature crappy rock-paper-scissors type battle systems (an exception to this problem is Fossil League - so pick it up along with this game if you have an interest in dinosaur themed games). However, when I was researching this game, I discovered that it seemed to feature a decent battle system similar to Pokemon. I was intrigued, and decided to go ahead and try out Fossil Fighters. So how does it fare? Let's find out!

Graphics (score 6/10): Let me be honest here. The graphics here are not exactly fantastic. The character models are extremely simplistic - think blocky people with big round heads and goofy facial expressions. To make matters worse, the people look rather pixelly, despite the fact that they are so simplistic. Character movement is stiff and jerky - everyone moves like badly articulated plastic action figures. The graphics for the surrounding environments are simplistic looking too, but better than the character models. The dinosaurs look the best, but they still aren't as detailed as the dinosaurs featured in Fossil League, and that game is much more obscure than this one. What gives?! Well, despite the fact that the graphics aren't fantastic, they aren't so terrible as to make the game unplayable. I got used to them after awhile and I even found their badness rather amusing! However, if I'm going to be judging these graphics on a serious basis against other DS games, I have to honestly say that these grahics are clearly below average, and merit a low score because of it.

Music (score 7/10): How to describe the music? I'd call it pretty average RPG-ish music. There are a couple songs that stand out here and there (Nick Nack's theme song comes to mind). I don't recall any tunes that grated on the ears, but I won't exactly be rushing out to buy the soundtrack or anything (actually this game probably doesn't have a soundtrack for sale). The music is appropriately upbeat and there are some sound effects for the dinosaurs and things. No voice acting, but you don't see a lot of that on the DS anyways.

Characters (score 7/10): The characters aren't exactly deep or anything; they're appropriately simplistic for a game in the monster-raising genre that's aimed at children. Many of the characters are quite unique and quirky (like Nick Nack) so that kept it interesting, and even memorable. I only wish that your main character (who doesn't even have a default name) was not a silent protagonist. I really hate that whole "silent protagonist" thing that seems to infect about 30% of RPGs. I know that developers like to make the protagonist completely silent and lacking in any personality because they think this will help the player project their own personality onto the character and thus feel that much more immersed, but I always felt like it just prevented me from forming an attachment to the character. It's really hard to form an attachment to a character who's basically just the video game version of a cardboard cutout. Oh well, I can't complain too much about this since the monster-raising genre itself is not really focused on characterizations.

Story (score 8/10): I was honestly surprised by how entertaining the story was! Here's the setup: a rich guy has bought an island and has access to amazing fossil regeneration technology. What does he decide to do with this scientific breakthrough? Invite 12 year old children to revive dinosaurs and battle each other with them, of course. I mean, it makes perfect sense, right? That's what I would do if I were rich and had access to such technology. All joking aside, though, the plot has just the right amount of ludicrousness that I yearn for in my escapist fantasy. What really surprised me was the fact that the story goes so much further than I expected. For a game of this genre I wasn't expecting anything more than "raise your team and rise to master status". That's basically what you get from Pokemon. However, Fossil Fighters actually goes beyond that to give you a more fleshed out narrative. The story doesn't live up to the standards of RPG greats like the Final Fantasy series or anything, but it's still very good for a game in this particular subgenre. I'm not going to give anything away, but if you are able to suspend your disbelief at the silliness of the plot, you'll have a fun time with this story.

Battle System (score 7/10): The battle system is turn-based, which I like. It's not as deep as pokemon but it's still good. You basically have FP (fight points?) which recharge a set amount each turn and moves which consume FP. Pretty standard stuff if you're familiar with RPGs. One thing that bugs me is the way that turn order is decided. The person whose vivosaurs have the lowest LP (life points) get to go first. In other words, if you have a good team that means that the opponent always gets to go first. That's rather irritating since it feels like your being punished for having a good team. My only other complaint in this category is the battle animations. They start to feel a bit too slow after awhile; it would've been nice if they had included an option to turn them off to help speed up battles.

Gameplay (score 8/10): This is a bit of a catch-all category for me. You know how some games drive you nuts because you feel like you can never move fast enough? Well, that's not an issue here! Your normal walking speed is pretty fast, but if you hold down the B button, it feels like your just zipping along. Besides that, this game has a number of nice features that make it a very forgiving game. Firstly, there's an in-game journal to help you remember what it is you need to do next. Then there's the fact that when you lose a battle, it just puts you back in the hotel and there's no other penalty - such as loss of money! Furthermore, there are no random battles, and every character that wants to battle you gives you the option to say no (except for some of the bosses, of course). Wow, this game is nice. Even the difficulty level of the battles is pretty easy until you get to around Master status, then the game gets slightly more challenging. The difficulty level is still completely manageable though, I raised my vivosaurs a single rank and made it through fine. Now, let's talk about the other main aspect of gameplay (other than battling), which is fossil cleaning. It's basically a minigame that makes use of the DS stylus and the microphone. You have to carefully tap the screen to hammer and drill out the fossil from the rock, and you blow into the microphone to clear away dust. At first this is rather easy, but soon into the game things get very difficult and it's hard to keep from breaking the fossils. Maybe I'm a little too rough? Anyway, the last thing I'd like to talk about is the pacing of the game. It follows a certain formula - dig for fossils, clean them, solve someone's problem, go fight a level-up battle test, rinse and repeat. It is kind of repetitive. However, the amusing story kept me entertained throughout so I didn't get too bored with it at all. Plus, once you beat the game, you can keep playing and there are a number of sidequests to complete. So, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck!

Overall (score 8/10): NOTE this score is not an average; it's my subjective overall score. When I went into this I was expecting a mediocre monster-raising game, but this game is really good! Fossil Fighters is a game that has a wide appeal: it's good for children since it has no objectionable material, it's good for beginner RPG-players since it's simple and easy, and it's good for RPG veterans like myself who want some downtime between harder games. Lastly, it's good for anyone who's ever liked dinosaurs and wants a game with which to indulge that desire. If you aren't too "mature" and cynical to enjoy a fun light-hearted game like this one, then I strongly suggest you pick up Fossil Fighters (along with Fossil League) to get your dino fix.
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on July 25, 2013
I got this for my 6 yr old son that loves dinosaurs. He plays the crud out of this thing. His older brother wants it too along with one of his girl cousins:) It requires some reading and he is challenged by the amount of reading at times (sometimes skipping it) and he needs some direction due to this, but he still can't stop playing it.
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on November 16, 2011
This game was really fun I played a lot. The plot gets really thick and I didn't want to put it down. This is an AWSOME game. It totally deserves 5 stars.
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