Jurassic World Alive is a scaly Pokémon Go with bigger teeth

If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, then all of Niantic’s staff must be blushing pretty hard right now. Universal Studios has announced a tie-in game with the new Jurassic Park movie, and it bears more than a passing resemblance to Pokémon Go, to put it mildly.

Like the breakaway mobile hit of 2016, Jurassic World Alive sees iPhone and Android users wandering around the real world with their phones looking for AR beasties. Because dinosaurs would at best be perplexed by you throwing a ball at them, the developers have given the formula a small twist: you’re collecting DNA, not actual dinos. Capture the DNA, make your own twisted creations and force them to fight with others’ dinosaurs in a slightly barbaric fashion.

Another twist: if your main beef with Pokémon Go was that you had to actually leave the house, then this cover version has your back. You can dispatch a virtual drone to do your dirty work for you.

If there was any doubt that this is a lot like Pokémon Go, the trailer below should assuage you of this view pretty quickly.

(And no, this isn’t the first time another developer has tried to board the Pokémon Go bandwagon. Garfield Go is a particularly egregious example of the genre.)

I used to work in game production, and worked on my fair share of reskins of games for commercial pitches (“Could the truck have the Pepsi logo on it?” Sure, why not), but this isn’t actually anything to do with Niantic – it’s the work of Canadian developers Ludia, which previously made Jurassic Park Builder and Jurassic World: The Game. These were your more traditional theme-park-building fares (despite the message of the first film being that building a theme park with actual dinosaurs is a terrible idea), but the reheating of that idea is now being handled by another developer: Frontier Developments.

As with most movie tie-in apps, promotion of the film is the main aim, with any money made from the game very much a secondary bonus – which is probably just as well. If you want a Pokémon Go style game, why not just play Pokémon Go? Still, if you didn’t know a new Jurassic Park movie was on the way, well, you do now.

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