Niche is all about making biology cool. It’s a new simulation/strategy game that allows you to take full control of a small species.
In Niche: A Genetics Survival Game, you breed and watch these creatures evolve into the most majestic, or most pathetic, pack that you want. Their survival depends on your strategic gameplay and ability to think 3 moves ahead.
How Niche works
The game starts off with Adam and Eve, two beings sitting on a nest next to a berry bush, surrounded by tall grass full of danger, new pack members, and food.
At first your focus will be expanding your pack by having Adam and Eve do the dirty, and finding new berry bushes to get a solid food source.
As you begin exploring the area you’ll notice rustling in unexplored tall grass nearby.
This can mean 1 of 3 things:
- There’s a bunny nearby
- There’s a carnivore who wants to eat you nearby
- There’s a wanderer who wants to join your pack
Once your pack starts to get established your next step is to start breeding for specific genes and establishing your ideal species.
You can breed them to have a certain coat color, certain abilities (fighting vs collecting), different body types, or breeding out bad genes.
Each action you take is a “move,” and each move you make consumes one piece of food.
You can collect food by picking berries (if your species has that ability), killing and eating rabbits (if they dare to get close enough to you), or from defeating a nasty carnivore who’s looking to eat your pack.
If you make a move when you have 0 pieces of food your creature will start starving.
When your creature starves, gets sick, or gets attacked their lifespan is shortened by about a day.
The main goal of this game is to create a thriving pack that can dominate any challenge that comes their way, while also making sure you avoid inbreeding and bad genes like blindness and crippled paws.
Video: Niche – a genetics survival game
How you win at Niche
As of right now there is no definitive ending point to this game so you win whenever you reach your own personal goal.
Winning could mean you’ve explored the entire map, you’ve made a super pack of killers or a peaceful pack of herbivores, or that your entire pack is a blue eyed, tiger striped, antler-having specimen. It’s up to you.
How you lose
Even though there’s no way to “win” in this game, you can definitely lose. Losing in a genetics game means one thing – extinction.
Extinction can happen due to starvation, excessive inbreeding causing diseases, not enough repopulation, or being wiped out by a pack of carnivores.
Niche is fun and addictive
Overall, Niche: a genetics survival game is simple and still in its development stage, but at the same time is also oddly addicting.
When I first played it, I spent a solid 8 hours building up my pack and breeding them to get just the right set of genes to build a super pack of self-efficient beasts.
I recommend Niche to anyone who loves getting themselves completely absorbed into a computer game.
It is now released on Steam’s early access and is available to anyone who wants to pay for it, but keep in mind it’s still incomplete. You can buy it for $19 now, or if you wait until it’s completed you can get it cheaper. The completed version price is not listed on their website yet.
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