Fossil Hunters' casual co-op is perfect for parties


Hands-on at EGLX

The cornucopia of games making up the show floor of EGLX is a mix of old and new, with arcade classic rubbing shoulders with the indie hits of tomorrow. There are a lot of inventive ideas here, but what I’m looking for are games I can play with my family and friends right on the couch. And when I get bored of beating them at Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, I may have to boot up Fossil Hunters.

From developer Reptoid Games, Fossil Huntersis a co-op action title that’s all about assembling dinosaur bones for big profits. Up to four players can work together to unearth fossils, combine them into crazy skeletons, cash them in for money, and more. Each stage is presented as another floor in a massive cavern. The action is easy to pick up with contextual buttons. A single button chips away at the rock and sand to reveal the fossil then wipes the bones clean which helps bring in those bigger cash rewards. When a fossil is clean, all I need to do is put it in the correct position and link it up with other fossils.

While there is a specific fossil shape I have to complete on each stage to advance, it’s up to the players to decide what the other assembled skeletons look like. So long as they’re complete with no open joints, we can sell them for cash. The more elaborate and clean the subject, the more the game makes it rain with those sweet ass gold coins.

On the EGLX show floor, I had a chance to try Fossil Hunters with a variety of people. Young or old, what I learned is it’s easy to pick up. Just seeing it in action is enough to tell you what you have to do in it. With four people it’s an absolute blast. In a few of the more memorable moments, the lot of us got careless and chipped away at too much of the rock and sand triggering an avalanche that destroyed part of our skeleton-in-progress. We just had to dust ourselves off and start looking again for the randomly generating pieces.

There are a lot of fun moments like that to have, but Fossil Huntersis also a very casual title. Perhaps too casual. There’s no time limit though I was told the longer you took the more often cave-ins would trigger. I didn’t see that in action, but I will say it is incredibly easy to just assemble the blueprinted skeleton on each level to breeze through the game. There are quests players can take, but it never really adds a sense of urgency that could elevate the game beyond a laid-back experience. Not that it necessarily has to be, but I’m sure my friends and I would stick around long enough to complete the more than 30 levels. I can play the game by myself, but it loses something when going through it alone.

Fossil Huntersis available now on Steam for PC and Mac. The build I played at EGLX was running on the Nvidia Shield, giving attendees an idea of how the game will run on Switch, PS4, and Xbox One later this year.

[This preview is based on a build from EGLX, hosted by Destructoid’s parent company Enthusiast Gaming.]