Adventure’s right around the bend - the bend of slow tutorials.
While Fossil Fighters Frontier begins with a bang thanks to the super cheesy but catchy theme song, it dramatically slows down due to a slew of tutorials before evening out to become an entertaining ride. This Pokémon-like RPG where you dig up dinosaur-like vivosaurs is charming and entertaining, even if it’s not all that complicated.
The journey begins mired in tutorials. The fossilized pace made it hard to keep interested in progressing, especially in the early throes. Progression is mostly an issue due to the main systems of the game focusing on grinding. I found myself spending most of my game time digging up fossils and fighting foes to power up my vivosaurs as well as completing missions for money to improve my bone buggy, which you use to move around dig sites. It’s a repetitive gameplay loop that has some issues.
While the missions themselves are not very exciting, they luckily can be done in the same excavation trip as the main quests. However, in order to obtain the rewards from completing the quest, the player has to return to that Fossil Park’s hub world and turn the quest in to the mission-giving computer, the lovingly named Missionator 400.
Out of all of the stats you can improve during your adventure, the progression of the bone buggy feels the slowest. Your starting buggy is very slow while you navigate dig sites and I did not find myself capable of upgrading my buggy until I was a handful of hours into my adventure. It’s mostly worth putting the time into upgrading the buggy because the end-game upgrades look pretty dang cool looking, but it’s still a slog. However, I found the improvements and upgrades to my digging tools to be immediately beneficial and far easier to obtain. Having different power levels of tools to choose from added an additional layer of depth and fun to fossil digging.
The battle system took me as pretty complicated in the beginning of the game, however as soon as I understood which vivosaurs are weak to which elements and which are weak in certain stances, the battles became quite simple. Fossil Fighters features a turn-based battle system. Each vivosaur has an elemental type that determines that vivosaur’s weaknesses and advantages. In addition to elemental types, each attack leaves the attacking vivosaur in a stance. Certain vivosaurs are more vulnerable when left in a certain stance. Getting the best chance in a battle comes down to selecting the right type of vivosaur to battle with as well as being mindful of not leaving your vivosaur defenseless in a stance.
Throughout the adventure, you meet other vivosaur enthusiasts who can become Paleo Pals. When going out on a dig you can chose two of your Paleo Pals to battle alongside you. My Paleo Pals seemed strong and were there most of the time to take charge when I was slacking. It’s a handy concept that is helpful early on if you don’t grasp the battle system immediately.
Pace aside, Fossil Fighters Frontier does evolve into a fun and solid RPG adventure worth taking the time to dig up. Fortunately, even though the major elements are repetitive, they are simple and entertaining. The story is mostly cheesy but it frequently put a smile on my face and was a main reason that I wanted to keep playing. Players wanting a simple but entertaining light RPG experience will scratch that itch well with Fossil Fighters: Frontier.