Hmmm, take a
photo safari and do…..well, do nothing besides take a photo safari. When I
received the beta preview of Wild Earth, I was a little perplexed as to why
someone would make a computer game that only required players to snap virtual
“photos” of various wild life and other items of biological significance from
the African Serengeti. I mean, how much could just taking pics hold someone’s
attention? Surprisingly, the game turned out to be pleasant and educational,
and, while not embodying the most exciting or engrossing moments ever spent in
front of the screen, still offers a worthwhile experience.
Earth, players spend their time on assignment in the Serengeti plains of
Africa. After choosing an assignment, they will need to explore the
surrounding areas in search of various items on a list, and then snap pictures
of them. Once the assignment is completed, the photos are assembled into an
article, complete with informational blurbs matching the pictures. While this
may seem like not much, there’s actually quite a bit of computer time involved
in this adventure. There are lots of assignments, and each one requires quite
a bit of pictures. The items to be snapped are also somewhat scattered about,
and will necessitate extensive searching.
are very good, and the animals and other objects are animated very well. The
animals are realistic and move fluidly, and the plants, rivers and other items
are animated to move in a realistic manner. The shrubs and trees bend in the
breezes, and the water flows down the hills. The sounds are also nicely done.
movement is a little odd, in that the direction of movement is determined by
the mouse, which is the snapshot camera of the game, but the actual movement
itself is accomplished by the keyboard. A player can move sideways and up and
down with the keyboard, but can only change direction by using the mouse.
However, the movement style is soon learned.
there’s not a whole lot of variety here, the game is fun and relaxing, and
offers a lot of educational information. With the emphasis on taking pictures
of animals on assignment, coupled with the educational focus, this is a good
candidate for a school classroom, and for anyone who likes animals and doesn’t
want a whole lot of action in front of the computer. A nice choice for
elementary schools, and for anyone who likes a “lite” computer gaming session.