So, I’ve been playing this game and it may not be for everyone and may be for a particular type of person. If only there was a word for that! Anyway, Niche is an interesting game that took me a little while to really find my feet with.
What you get here is a genetics survival game that is based around turn-based strategy. The goal is to keep your species alive and let them flourish against a cruel and unforgiving world full of predators and other dangers.
It mixes the turn-based elements with a surprising amount of freedom in a grid-based open world that feels really alive despite a low-poly aesthetic. I found myself being drawn in by the ever-evolving nature of the species and I was caring about their survival.
Niche wasn’t in instant success with me though, as playing through the tutorial felt slow and dare I say it, a little dull. I get there is a lot to take in, and it all needs explaining. I can’t even think of a better way; it just makes the game a difficult one to onboard early on.
Which is a shame, as it may turn many off and see them miss out on what is a very enjoyable and interesting game. One that mixes many elements into a neat package. Even delivering on promises that Spore (remember that?) tried to deliver all those years ago.
You species evolution is based around real-life genetics and you do notice it as the game progresses and you see the results of breeding. It doesn’t feel set in stone and you want to stay with things to see how things progress.
The science that Niche is based upon feels cemented in reality and using some thought, you can plan your way through the various biomes the game has to offer and reacting in a way that will hopefully continue the growth of your species.
Niche is a game all about discovery and despite a good many hours with it, I feel I have barely scratched the surface. To tell you too much would mean you lose the impact the game has at certain points.
It can feel slow-moving at times, but that only cements the feeling that evolution takes time and isn’t something that happens in an instant. It feels methodical and never rushed. A mechanic that works wonderfully against the theme of the game and one that feels relaxing.
I honestly wouldn’t know if I could recommend this to anyone in particular, as despite having many trappings of a traditional game, it feels like something else. Not quite an education tool, but not fully entertainment.
If you want to test your brain matter in a unique way, then please do give Niche a look. It is a slow burner, but one that will keep a place on my regular rotation for a long time to come.