Fans of Spore and life simulation games might enjoy this game about genes, natural selection, and evolving your little creatures to survive the harsh and ever changing conditions of life.
Team Niche is a small indie development studio from Switzerland, that first launched their game on Steam Greenlight earlier in the summer as they revealed their game about breeding your small little creatures and helping them to strive in the world. They went on to successfully raise funds from their Kickstarter Campaign and raised about $72,000 USD to bring their game to life. The developers say that games like Don´t Starve, the previously mentioned Spore and the Creature Series of games were inspirations to form the idea of creating Niche, and I think you can see a little bit how those games have influenced its design.
Niche: A Genetics Survival Game isn’t just a simulation game, the developers say that they also mixed in rogue-like survival elements to make the game a bit more interesting. Your little creatures can die in a variety of ways, and your goal is to spread them out from your little island to populate the rest of the world to keep them from going extinct.
Depending on how your little creatures breed will determine their genes, and based on those genes will determine how your creatures evolve and what type of physical and genetic traits they will inherit. Sometimes those traits will be mutations that are quite unique and causes your little creatures to benefit from the change in DNA to create something stronger to lead your tribe and help them grow. However, sometimes the mutations aren’t always so pretty and they create deformities in the creatures. In the below quote, the developers talk a little about how the genetics system works in Niche: A Genetics Survival Game, saying —
While playing Niche, the player is introduced to the scientific mechanics of genetics (featuring dominant-recessive, co-dominant inheritance, etc). The game also features the five pillars of population genetics (genetic drift, genetic flow, mutation, natural selection, sexual selection). All knowledge is interwoven with the game-mechanics. This creates the effect of learning by playing
Gameplay wise, Niche: A Genetics Survival Game plays like a point-and-click turn-based adventure game. Every action you make requires berries, or food, and if you run out of berries, every turn takes your creature’s life down a little. If you go too long without food your tribe will slowly starve to death. The developers have two videos that showcases the game, the first video is a small trailer that they put together for Greenlight, while the second video is close to 20 minutes of Gameplay that was put together while YouTuber Fork interviewed them about what players can expect out of the game and played a little bit for himself to give us a good look at what the game has to offer. Check out the two videos that I linked down below.
Niche: A Genetics Survival Game is now officially available for purchase from the Steam Store for about $18.99 USD, as an Early Access game. For more information, you can also visit their official website for further information and details about the game. Furthermore, if you visit the official website they have a playable demo that you can download to test the game out for yourself before buying the game.