Go Home Dinosaurs!

5.6 Overall Score

Cutsey tower defense

Dull man's Tetris

Go Home Dinosaurs (GHD) is a tower defense game that delivers a cute concept in a somewhat familiar package, but for all of its uniqueness, its greatest failing is that it doesn’t bring enough tradition to the table. While the objective of using gopher troops to defend against a parade of hungry dinosaurs hell bent on eating your barbeque is funny, the execution can be a bit cumbersome.

GHD starts off strong, granting you several different tower types to deploy on the map, gradually teaching you the basics of what it means to defend your grill. Each unit, you’ll quickly learn, occupies a set amount of blocks, where turning these units during deployment is your only opportunity to effectively use your space – place a tower in the wrong, or less than ideal position, and you’re stuck with it there until you win or lose.

That wouldn’t be so bad if your resources didn’t constantly feel so limited. In order to deploy towers, you use your main character (a spunky, rock-hurling gopher) to move about the map and collect coconuts. How that translates to the currency necessary to draw other gophers onto the field of battle is anyone’s guess, but the game maintains this indelicate balance of saving up coconuts for stronger units, versus getting smaller, cheaper ones out the door sooner.

To make this matter just a little bit more frustrating, you have a limited hand size of unit “cards” that you can bring onto each map for potential deployment. While this hand size increases, early on constricting yourself to four or five towers doesn’t feels more like hampering than strategic decision making. And what’s worse is that after the initial influx of units, the game quickly tapers off, stringing out over dozens of levels before finally beginning to grant you the final five towers in your arsenal.

More often than not you’ll find yourself relying on specific units, and repeating the same strategy over and over again, despite the fact that there are multiple “unique” dinosaur types. The term there is used rather loosely, as the only real difference in any of your attackers is how fast they move and how much life they have. Thankfully it’s not more complicated than that, because any more interplay between dinos and tower types would just be a train wreck of not being able to place specific towers where and when you need them. Using the Laser tower as an example, it works great against hordes of quick enemies, but requires three spaces in a row to deploy. Naturally, placing the laser at the end of a long run is the most effective scenario, but after the first few maps it is available, you will rarely again find prime real estate to make the thing useful (it comes back into its own much, much later, but in the mean time it’s just underutilized).

GHD also lacks any sort of fast forward feature, which makes sense in the context of the game due to the fact that you’ll constantly be micromanaging your main gopher, weighing the benefit of moving away to pick up a sprouted coconut against the cost of allowing a dinosaur to slip by unimpeded. Additionally, your cursor will also be occupied by having to hover over gold coins dropped randomly by killed foes, where the coins collected can be spent on mostly useless temporary “upgrades” to your main character. The problem again is that due to limited hand size and transient nature of, say, throwing fire balls instead of rocks, you’ll be far better served by deploying an actual tower on the battlefield. Alternately, you can spend gold coins to dress your gopher in women’s clothing. But I’m not sure why.

The sad fact is that none of the towers themselves are upgradeable, and the usefulness of some of the units (like the Prospector, who does nothing more than slowly dig for coins) are highly questionable. It would have been great if GHD could have incorporated some system where you could spend money to make the towers stronger, or occupy fewer spaces on the battlefield, but that just isn’t the case. Consequently, the game feels a bit more like Tower Tetris, where the best you can do is rotate pieces clockwise in hopes of making the best of a bad fit. Ultimately, that’s what you’ll be doing internally as well, if you purchase this game – there are some character quirks that can make it endearing, particularly for young’uns, but for those a bit more experienced in the world of tower defense, finding real enjoyment in this game takes more work than should really be necessary.

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Author: Patrick Cassin View all posts by
Patrick has been playing games since the days of Pong. To support his video game habit he got his BA in English. Then he cut down some trees, put out some fires, rescued some dolphins, got paid to go to prison, and arrested someone's horse. Now he writes the things he imagines that you LOL at.

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