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Tribia: Prehistoric Tribes

For: Mobile

A real dinosaur

Product: Tribia: Prehistoric Tribes | Developer: Qplaze | Publisher: Nomoc World Publishing | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: Mobile | Genre: Action, Strategy | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 492KB | Reviewed on: N95 other handsets | Version: Europe
Tribia: Prehistoric Tribes Mobile, thumbnail 1
If Tribia is anything to go by, life in prehistoric times – or, rather, the mythical era when man and dinosaur lived happily side by side – was far from easy.

The pitfalls are fairly obvious: an abundance of appalling body odour, the daily danger of a gruesome death at the hands – or, rather, teeth – of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the fact that the official pre-order process for the 3DS was still some way off at that point.

Oh, and everything that went on was utterly boring. That's pure speculation on my part, of course, but chances are anyone who tries Tribia: Prehistoric Tribes will draw the same conclusion.

Neither one thing nor the other

The game's main problem is that it's hard to figure out just what the whole thing is for.

Pitch-wise, Tribia: Prehistoric Tribes feels like an attempt at a fairly basic take on real-time strategy, requiring you to further your mini-civilisation by expanding its settlements, feeding its people, and bolstering its resources.

In reality, however, coming out on top in most levels is simply the result of obeying orders.

Each level you undertake comes with goals, but meeting them relies on your ability to follow through on set processes. For example, building new huts uses up materials that have to be obtained first – rocks and trees hacked and rolled into workable tools on command.

There's also fighting off beasties for food to consider, as well as taking down any rival tribes encroaching on your living space.

The whole thing takes place on a 2D map, viewed side-on, meaning your options are essentially restricted to moving left or right, and pressing '5' in any spot to carry out a set action - killing animals for food or building a new hut are among the most prevalent.

While you don't actually control any specific characters, you can instruct any of your tribe to take action by simply planting an arrow above any space or object.

Out of its time

Sadly, however, none of this is especially fun or engaging.

Tribia: Prehistoric Tribes's model relies on you investing love into your tribe in almost Tamagotchi fashion. In practice, however, it never actually works.

There's no sense that your band of brothers has any real character, and with no reason given for fighting and foraging in the first place play never really gets off the ground.

Even working out what you're meant to be doing and why is an ordeal in itself, with developer Qplaze giving only the bare bones when it comes to either instructions or settings.

It leaves Tribia: Prehistoric Tribes as a game without a cause.

The processes behind what could be a light but relatively entertaining strategy sim are there, but the framework they're housed in is entirely vacuous and devoid of fun, turning Tribia into a game that's old before its time.
Tribia: Prehistoric Tribes
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 31 March 2011
A game without a game, Tribia: Prehistoric Tribes' take on real time strategy feels entirely by the numbers, lacking the engagement needed to keep you on board during its functionary
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