Zniw Adventure - Point and Click to Walk the Dinosaur
The adventure genre can sometimes seem a bit prehistoric, but that works just fine when your adventure game is about dinosaurs.
Zniw Adventure, developed by an independent two-person Polish team, hits on all the right nostalgic marks as it tells the story of a yellow dino by the name of Zniw (pronounced Zniff), and her journey to get home in time for her mother’s birthday.
But will this game give the genre new life like a mosquito from Jurassic Park? Or will the game make you wish games like this would go extinct? It will more likely be the former if you're a fan of a good point and click.
You know what you're in for as soon as you open this game and see the language select screen. Instead of a stock screen with flags to pick from, there is a dinosaur that holds the flag in her hand of the current language. Select the other language and the dino will slide the flag behind her back, shuffle about a bit, before pulling out the other flag.
This wonderfully-done opening screen shows you that you’re in for an expertly-animated treat. Clearly inspired by the Sierra games of old such as the Quest series (King, Police, Space, etc), this is a point and click adventure with plenty of charm and adventure - including a reference to those old games when you click the save button and hear the noises computers used to make when reading or writing the disk.
You will also get a nice journal that will teach you the different dinosaur species and how to pronounce them. Which, when streaming, is important, as my adult tongue brought my dinosaur loving young self great shame. I guess that’s one way to know that you’ve gotten old: the inability to correctly call a dinosaur by name.
The interface is also quite slick with you being able to pick up objects and know what you are attempting to accomplish. They give you a hint if you’re missing a piece of the puzzle, but are on the right track.
You may be able to upgrade your backpack to something nice late on in the game. Be prepared for a surprise when you do.
A Dinosaur Odyssey
You play as Zniw who is trying to get a birthday present for her mother. In the tutorial section you try to get her some flowers but ultimately fail. So you turn to find something a bit more natural to try and create for her. This leads to being surprised by a carnivorous beast in the bush, causing Zniw to freak out and get chased into the deep wilderness.
Sort of like Milo and Otis, you begin your journey in the wilds and try and make your way back home running into many roadblocks that you will need to overcome along the way. Funnily enough, the present for your mother becomes more a sidequest than the main plot as you try and find shiny pebbles throughout your journey. Finding more of them unlocks bonus mini-games and other goodies.
While this is a point and click adventure game, all the puzzles and progress implements are intuitive. Any time I did have to look up a guide, which was probably about three to four times in the playthrough, the solution was one I would have found eventually if I had more patience and looked more carefully. Streaming can sometimes make you worry you’re boring your audience trying to solve puzzles, but if you’re on your own you’ll probably be comfortable. Try not to overthink things and you’ll make your way through this adventure just fine.