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To The Green: There Was a Caveman

Don Parsons / December 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM / Gaming, Previews

To The Green is a weekly look at one game on Steam Greenlight trying to get onto Steam. Many games get mired in the process trying to get there, caught up with abandoned projects, shovelware, and other things. With To The Green we hope to highlight one worthy game each week that is attempting to get on Steam and let you decide if it is something you’d be interested in trying out.

Trigger Warning: This Game contains violence against Raptors and other dinosaurs

With that warning out of the way, for all those Raptors who can’t abide harm on their own kind, we can sit down now and look at There Was a Caveman. This game is a look at life from the puny human perspective of what it was like when they were still around before we finalized our control of things.

In this game we see one of the last of the Caveman on a murder spree. Driven by primitive needs to find company and a mate, he has decided to leave his cave and fight his way to them.

The caveman’s weapon of choice is, as always the club. Using his trained upperbody strength the Caveman attempts to injure sturdier dinosaurs. The specimen in the game is represented as physically elite having great jumping ability shown by his ability to double jump and sprint incredibly quickly for short periods of time.

As an action platformer this is to be expected though in this dramatization of the human caveman. With these great abilities, he is able to fight dinosaurs of various sorts in challenging encounters and jump over pits, around magma and bits of stone that are oddly and conveniently in the air for him to use. This is, the standard of the genre and provides minor challenges in most cases for jumping about in the introductory level that was available to play.


The Caveman is scared off by a raptor…

Evolution on the basic jumping mechanics comes mostly in two ways in the introduction level so far. The first is the combination of jumping and dashing, as one can jump and dash in mid-air allowing for the Caveman to cover some distance. The second is white jumping pods, as the human shows its lack of respect for nature by abusing it to bounce around on and reach odd heights.

One other part that in the opening level is clearly represented is the human ingenuity that allowed them to survive so long. The Caveman here is able to use various weapons he finds as projectiles against different types of dinosaurs throughout the level. Thrown Rocks are the most common, but sharpened spears and bones also get turned into projectiles against the Caveman’s enemies.

For an early entry into the game, the variety of dinosaurs on display is quite nice and each has their own strengths. The flying ones get in the way of vertical leaps, the slow ground ones ones require timing some for pit jumping. The small fast raptors are annoying and in higher amounts would be good at swarming the caveman. They also seem to be the most alert to enemy presence. The last of the main enemies seen is the rock thrower who shows up twice and is tougher, lazier and tosses rocks up in the air around where the Caveman might be.

Fat Dino and then raptor… what will he kill next….

The controls in it are tight and while basic, generally decently optimized. It needs a way to allow the user to quit easily and pull up key commands easily but that was the only lacking part I found in them in an early demo and they were very responsive.

Level design was definitely a plus in this early show part as well. While I joked slightly about the floating rocks, it is part of the genre staple and works here to give platforms to jump between. I think later on you’ll see more things requiring mixtures of jumping and sprinting to make it – this first demo area didn’t need much in the way of difficult jumps. Climbing vines adds some environment interactivity, as well as changing up some movement a bit and how you can attack things. The other thing to note is that there are secrets throughout the levels hidden around it which make it interesting to go around poking your nose into corners much like classic platformers would have. These things include rewards for the explorer such as getting a free hitpoint heal and bonus health heart.

The old style graphics mesh well with the games older action platforming feel – much like they did for the smash indie hit Shovel Knight. Right now the game suffers from a lack of music, but the ongoing campaign is planning to add that and so I wouldn’t judge it too harshly on the lack of music at this point. It is obviously needed  and its lack is obvious. If you despite

All in all, despite its Raptor killing ways, There Was a Caveman seems likely to deliver on what it promises – a fun varied Action Platformer. It’s not seeking to reinvent the wheel or such, but does its work well within the genre its chosen.

Unlike most To The Green games we cover, There Was a Caveman is currently seeking some additional funding on IndieGoGo – about 2000 Euro to be precise. It is a fixed funding campaign like a Kickstarter.. The money for this will be going to getting a music composer and letting the developer work full time. Greater amounts would allow for more levels, polish and mechanics likely.

As always though, here is the Greenlight Link and also to the Devblog where you can see about how the game has come. The Demo is available on Dropbox here. And to see you out, here’s a trailer of what it was to be a caveman in Raptor Land:

EDIT: I misread and its Fixed Funding not Flexible funding. My apologies. This has been corrected.

Do you know a game that’s in Greenlight that you think we should take a look at? If so, send an email to [email protected] or share your thoughts in the comments below!

Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.