Do you like lions? Do you like killing things as a lion? Then you might just like Predator Simulator by GameIndica Entertainment. Let’s get some things out of the way before we look into the gameplay elements. First and foremost, it’s developed in Unity. Now before you groan, there is some great games that use Unity like Hearthstone, Cities Skylines and Kerbal Space Program for example, but there is a ton of dross on Steam Greenlight that use unity and just buy basic asset packs and sell them off as a game to make a profit. Another point is that the game runs at 30fps, which I assume is something to do with physics and ragdoll simulation, but I honestly don’t know why. It isn’t exactly the most intense game on a system, so why lock it down?
When you first boot up the game and enter the main menu, you see a lion roar which sounds strikingly similar to the MGM Lion, and some basic menu functions. The options menu is sparse, as the launcher contains the graphical settings, so you get a blood, shadows and a tutorial checkbox, and an aiming slider, that’s it. The character button displays all of your potential meals for the day, ranging from chickens to “molesters”, which is different. The skills menu we will cover later, so what we’re left with is “Play”.
The tutorial the game gives you is very sparse. It tells you how to move around using WASD, how to kill something and eat it, and how to roar and sprint, which isn’t that big a step up from running around normally. From that, you’re on your own. It doesn’t explain that the bars at the bottom of the screen are your hunger, which needs to CONSTANTLY be refilled, as once it hits zero you die and it goes down pretty quickly, as does your stamina for your sprint.
The core gameplay is pretty much exactly what the tutorial shows you. Kill thing, eat thing, and find another thing to kill. Rinse repeat ad nauseam, until you die from hunger, gunshots or a trap. When you do kill however, be it a person or an animal, because it’s animal cruelty apparently even though you’re a LION, your defcon level will raise. As it goes up, stronger and more varied enemies will spawn in, quite literally right next to you in some cases, which is jarring.
The game does give you some sort of direction, which I was pleased by to begin with, but the missions it gives you are to kill or eat, and occasionally find some stars, of which I found one in my total game time. You earn coins and diamonds for your trouble, which you can use to level up your lion to have his hunger decrease slower, or run faster, or be able to become the “Lionborn” and Fus-Ro-Dah everything out of the way. It’s an endless loop of gameplay and that is by design, for better or worse.
On the plus side, the game is simple, which is good as it allows anyone to play it, and the graphics are nice, chunky and clean. I played with a mouse and keyboard primarily and it worked just fine, but it also plays with a 360 controller. And you can be a lion, and take photos of your lion escapades in game, that’s a good thing right?
But, as you can probably guess from the tone, this game has some issues. Now if this were an early access game you could probably get away with blaming its problems on that, but this is a full release. Invisible walls, textures going crazy and ending up on a skybox are just par for the course. The sound clip of a crowd looping at a very obvious cut off point is annoying, as are the constant messages from the humans appearing on the left hand side, repeating frequently and without a way to turn them off.
There are some much bigger issues, and the biggest one is the gameplay itself. It’s an endless loop of bland gameplay, where you can’t stop to explore much or you’ll die, rending it not enjoyable. Also, it comes at a time when Goat Simulator, the premier physics mess around funbox, has been and gone. Goat Simulator also has much more going for it, as it’s core gameplay is to explore and find all of the stupid things going on in the town. Predator Simulator doesn’t have anything like that. To be honest, the game is in a weird situation, where it’s not that enjoyable, but I can’t really recommend anywhere for it to improve. At £3.59 on Steam, it may not cost very much but don’t say we didn’t warn you…