Niche – A genetics survival game.
Niche – breed your own tribe of species to survive as they face sickness, famine and hungry carnivores lurking nearby.
For £13.99 on Steam, Niche is a strategy survival game where you use your knowledge of genetics and evolution to create the ultimate tribe. The game, developed by Team Niche, is a work in progress and can be played in early access as it develops.
The point is to breed your creatures in a way which will produce skilled offspring in all aspects of survival: foraging, speed, strength, sense of smell, sight, etc. As your tribe grows, adapts and evolves you’ll encounter rarer traits and genetic mutations.
Inspired by the games ‘Creatures’, ‘Spore’, and ‘Don’t Starve’ this game is great for people who love biology, gaming and animals.
This game drew me in with the unusual look of the creatures. The animals look beautiful with their fantasy-like features and variations. The art style of the game is very aesthetic and geometrical presenting the individual tiles of the island in little hexagons.
The music is very gentle and relaxing. The sound effects are useful when your island is big and you may not notice when your creature is being attacked or something is rustling in the bushes.
You begin with an island, generated uniquely each time you begin a new game, and two starter creatures “Adam” and “Eve”. The Island is made out of different environments such as deserts and swamps. When breeding your animals you can view each of their dominant and recessive genes. This will give you an idea of the appearance and traits of their baby. You can use this to be selective of which coat colour, eye colour, skill, or trait you want dominant in your pack.
While this information can be used to create skilled and beautiful babies you may also run into some genetic mishaps. You will have to look out for things like blindness, the no-paw gene (your creature cannot collect), breeding animals of the same immunity genes (their baby is more likely to get sick) and inbreeding. The game uses the foundations of real population genetics. This will enable you to create creatures which will adapt for survival in the different areas of your island as well as forcing you to think about the breeding choices you make.
The island is all yours to explore, and it hides many curiosities such as new tribe members, food sources, and different environments which enable you to discover new genetics. But, you have to also keep in mind that your creatures can get sick and only have a short lifespan, carnivores are lurking nearby ready to attack, and finding food is not as easy as you may think.
The great thing about Niche is that it is constantly changing and can be supported to become a better game. There are so many possibilities and discoveries to be made while playing meaning it is hard to get bored of Niche. For example, my main goal is to discover the whole island and so far I haven’t even got close to doing that.
This game is fun, challenging, and informative. I personally really enjoy it and think it has great potential as the developers continuously improve it. It’s interesting to see all the new genetic variations you can create, and it can actually get pretty difficult at times which makes it more exciting.
The only thing I dislike is how hard it can be to find berry bushes on the island. The bushes are the primary food source for your creatures and it’s easy to starve without them. However, the more you explore and the better you get the more likely you are to find them, as well as other food sources.
Try it out for yourself and breed a tribe that’s built to survive.