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Game Info:

Tyto Ecology
Developed by: Immersed Games
Published by: Immersed Games
Release date: April 14, 2016
Available on: PC, Mac, Linux
Genre: Simulation
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $6.99 without the Himalayas DLC, $9.99 with it

Thank you Immersed Games for sending us this game to review!

Tyto Ecology is a 3D ecology simulation game where you have several biomes to choose from and balance with producers, consumers, and decomposers.  There are over seventy plants and animals to scatter and keep alive in your territories.

No matter which biome you start off with, the objective remains to same: to populate and maintain life in the zones that you’re in charge of. The default biomes include the Amazon Rainforest, the Mojave Desert, and the Great Plains.  At first you’ll only have access to one zone and you can unlock the remaining three with in-game currency.  The Tyto coins are earned weekly by keeping a diverse amount of plants and animals alive and well.  There are various achievements and each of them awards you with bonus coins and energy.  The energy regenerates over time and is required for placing any type of plant or animal in the biome.

Tyto Ecology
Highlights:

Strong Points: Great way to teach people the circle of life and the importance of each species for the survival of others; some of the DLC proceeds goes towards the World Wildlife fund 
Weak Points: Have to pay with in-game currency to speed up the game significantly
Moral Warnings: Insects and animals can die if not properly cared for

At first the number of plants, insects, and animals are limited, but you can unlock more with Tyto coins.  The last purpose of Tyto coins is to speed up time by a week, a month or three months in advance.  This is the ultimate test of your biome’s sustainability.  While the cost of fast forwarding time is steep, you regain most of it, if not moreso for having a healthy biome.

There’s a wide variety biomes and each of them has unique species of plants and animals to choose from.  There are many that are the same throughout all of them too.  Moths are found in all of the biomes and are a food source for frogs and can pollinate plants.  Before you can place herbivores you have to have enough vegetation for them to eat and enough pollinators to keep the plants blooming.  Plants, along with any other animal with a lacking food supply, will perish if their needs are not met.  Fortunately, you’ll be alerted if any animals are starving or if their population is decreasing. 

If there is too much death in the habitat, mushrooms, millipedes, or earthworms can make the environment healthy again.  Many of the habitats have streams and waterways that support fish life.  Make sure that the streams are fully stocked to keep the carnivores and omnivores happy.  The fish are easier to replenish than herbivores.  

Tyto Ecology
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 98%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

If the needs of the animals are met, they will reproduce and flourish.  The mating process is not seen as babies literally fall from the sky.  The hunting process is shown, but blood is not seen.  Other than the natural violence, this game is safe for people of all ages who are fascinated with or want to learn more about biology.

Visually speaking, the environments are as pretty as you make them.  Energy permitting, you can place many flowers and huge trees to beautify the biomes.  The animal models are fairly detailed and are well animated.  Their sound effects are pretty good too.

My biggest complaint is the pacing in this game.  You can speed it up slightly, but it’s never enough.  This is a common enough compaint that the developers have listened and there is an update in the works to address this issue.  I tried running the Steam beta, but it failed to launch so I cannot comment on the changes.  It’s great to see them listening to the players and making this educational title more enjoyable.  If the learning isn’t enough of an incentive, it’s good to know that some of the proceeds are going towards saving our environment.

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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