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Breeding ground: Niche offers turn-based genetic survival

Niche

Remember Niche [official site]? I told you about it a while back – it’s a genetics-focused survival game where you forage and hunt and breed and explore little hex tile islands. The idea is to keep you little tribe of creatures alive and one of the keys to doing so is to try and breed particular desirable characteristics for how you want to play or deal with threats.

It was a successfully funded Kickstarter when I wrote about it last but today it’s evolving from early access to a fully-fledged game.

So Niche is a turn-based survival strategy game where you make decisions with what to do each day – moving around, mating, nesting, stockpiling food, wooing new animals to your tribe for their delicious genetic material… – then nap to move onto the next day. You’re balancing hunger and other things as day-to-day issues but there’s also the necessity of keeping a lineage going as earlier animals age and die so the broader aim is to fight extinction.

I haven’t had a chunk of time free to play the finished version yet, only the old demo, but the origins story for the game is really endearing so I’ll add that here in case you’re interested:

“It all started five years ago, when our game designer Philomena couldn’t decide whether she wanted to study biology or game design. Game design won, but it was a close call! Even though she had a lot of fun with the systems that game mechanics have to offer, it was impossible to let go of the wonders of biology, especially evolution and zoology. As a result, Philomena decided to create a game about population genetics as her final thesis. The first prototype of Niche was born. Niche – a genetic survival game is now published and developed by Stray Fawn Studio, founded in 2016 by Philomena Schwab and Micha Stettler.”

Niche is out now on Steam for Windows, Mac, and Linux. A small launch discount brings it to £12.23/€16.19/$16.19 until the 28th.

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Philippa Warr

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