Clever Kids: DinoLand

Yeah, so the old format wasn't working too well so from now on I'm going to update the site every time I play a new dinosaur game. So what better way to re-launch the site than to look at Midas' Clever Kids Dino Land.

Clever kids

The gaming establishment said that the PS2 era was over. They said that next-gen is the way forward. This game proves them all wrong. I picked up my copy for a mere £8. Perhaps the best 8 pounds I ever did spend.

The game (philistines may claim it is aimed at the kids) is a series of dinosaur themed minigames set in the titular DINOLAND. Dino Land appears to be nothing more than a 2D landscape with 6 dinosaurs in it but oh what a land! Lucky players have to solve complex puzzles (with upward of five pieces!) in order to unlock such wondrous dinosaur themed games as 'Trax', Slide Puzzles, Target Practice and Spot the Difference. The game is so forward looking that you don't even need a memory card! A mere passcode will work (hint star, star, cross, square is the code to unlock all the minigames). What a future looking title, if only some of the triple AAA games would take a leaf out of the CKDL book. Anyway, on with the overview.

Dinosauriness: A number of dinosaurs are present as well as the usual extinct prehistoric critters: Amargasaurus, Brachiosaurs, Deinonychus, Euplocephalus, Mammoth, Plesiosaurus, Pterodactyl, Pteranodon, Shunosaurus, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Troodon, Tsintasurus, Tyrannosaurs and Velociraptor.

Scientific Accuracy: For a low budget Edutainment (or is that Infocation) title there are a surprising number of misnomers, weird language use and factual inaccuracies. Mammoths, plesiosaurs, pterosaurs and icthyosaurs are unashamedly called dinosaurs and there is no attempt to highlight that they aren't. The game also claims that Ultrasaurus is unequivocally the biggest dinosaur known. Firstly, Ultrasaurus is the genus of an insect not a dinosaur so it should be Ultrasauros but even then the correct name for this species is Supersaurus and was changed over 10 years ago, so triply wrong. Furthermore, it's not too clear if it even is the biggest dinosaur (Sauroposeidon is a recent candidate for bigger). Doesn't anyone fact check these games? Also, the sentence "Tyrannosaurus was born in the late cretaceous" wouldn't sit well with most palaeontologists either. Some of these mistakes have been seen time and time again and are always pointed out by some nit picking scientist and it's a bit saddening to see them reproduced here especially for a title aimed at the "kidz". Overall it's a bit too naughty and lazy 3/10.

Buzz Bonus: On the pause screen you can check your progress in the minigames. Completing all the games, slide puzzles and spot the differences will get you a higher result on the "Dino meter". I have a serious problem with slide puzzles though so I only ever managed to reach Brachiosaurus status :(

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