The Adventures of Darwin

Now here’s something rarer than Milky Bar Chunky chocolate bars – a budget game that’s actually worth more than five minutes of your time. There’s a simple reason for this though – they’ve used Nintendo’s loveable Pikmin as source material. Don’t call the lawyers just yet as it isn’t a complete clone.

The Adventures of Darwin screenshotPlot: Darwin the monkey has a premonition of a dinosaur trouncing meteor, so the chimp and his primate pals go out in the wild to stock up on materials and discover a way to evolve. At the start of the game only three followers are at your disposal, with more becoming available by collecting the yellow stars dotted around the wilderness. They’re usually hidden in the back of caves or given as rewards for solving puzzles. The more followers you have, the more materials you can carry back to the village and the easier combat becomes. Safety in numbers and all that.

Evolving is just a simple of case of finding the artefacts (read: tools) that are more often than not located within the domain of a boss creature. We quickly learned that you can run around the back of a boss quite easily to nab the goods, although you miss out on experience points by doing so. Most artefacts let you reach new areas – the first, for instance, is an axe that can be used to break through boulders. The levels have been designed in such a way that it’s essential to re-visit them once more man power and new artefacts are at your command. Stone walls are a good example – there are loads of these around, each requiring a certain amount of monkeys to take down. Unlike Pikmin there’s no time limit so you’re free to explore the expansive levels at your own pace.

The village also evolves depending on what you get your troops to carry back home – bring back plenty of meat and fruit and a mess hall will open which you can visit to regain health before heading back out, while later a weapons store selling spears and bows opens for business. Elders are also on hand to give out hints, although they’re usually garbled as the translation from Japanese isn’t perfect. Conversations become more articulate as the chimps evolve from primates to cavemen though, which is a nice touch.

There isn’t as much humour or charm as Nintendo’s garden gang RTS, but it’s clear that the developers have at least tried and it isn’t completely faceless. Some levels are actually quite ingenious – the underground one has a puzzle involving panels that need spinning around in order to re-direct rolling boulders, while another is set on a series of islands where the water current has to be altered. The enemy AI could have done with a tidy – most, like the sabre toothed tigers, just stupidly jump around on the spot, although they do have attack patterns such as vultures that swoop down and pick off stray troops. The controls could have done with refinement too – having to walk up to every item to interact with it is nowhere near as intuitive as Pikmin’s cursor/whistle combo.

Once you consider the muck that some publishers push out for a tenner this is still something of a diamond in the rough – exploring new levels is always a pleasure and there’s easily a good ten hours of play. Perhaps even more if you try to bring back home one of every item to complete Darwin’s picture book. And besides, it’s not as if we’re going to see Pikmin 3 anytime soon.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

Post navigation


  • Хорошо пишете. Я бы конечно некоторые моменты оспорила, ну да ладно.

Comments are closed.