Venture Arctic  - Review

Venture Arctic

This is sort of a god game set in the Arctic. Moving through the seasons, years and levels you effect the ecosystem. Within the appropriate seasons you can increase or decrease the animal population, provide food, and even effect the climate. It's sort of a "what if" scenario. What happens if I overpopulate a species, what happens if the climate gets warmer, what happens if there is more/less snow, what happens if a species disappears altogether? Things will change overtime - the starting date is 1977.

The opening scene centers on an oil pumping rig - the pipeline vanishing into the distance. The graphics are good - not spectacular. The animals are blocky but they look and act naturally - small cubs, fighting caribou, hopping hares. Initially the animals you can effect are the caribou, winter hare and the arctic wolf and your goals are to increase the population of all. Hares were the easiest - wolves the hardest because there were fewer and harder to find. To help locate them there is a small map on the top of the screen with even smaller dots indicating the animal's location. You move around either using the mouse or with the arrow keys. Eventually the environment is enlarged with polar bears, orcas. bowhead whales, puffins - perhaps more, I didn't get that far.

There are green and yellow pulsating orbs which I intuited were spirits of dead animals that, if collected, provide funds to buy things - berries, animals. And that is one of the problem. There is no manual for this complex, big educational game. In-game instructions are spare. Ecosystem numbers 2756 are unexplained as is balance scores. For kids, there is even less instruction. The instructional raven says, "Leave you on your own for now. Play with the tools of nature, and build your favorite eco-system". Pocketwatch Games needs to sit down write a manual. It's a big game for a small price but I would have given an extra five bucks for a manual.

Note: Andy Schatz, the designer of the game just informed me that he has written a manual.

Fun Factor: Seriously educational
Player Friendly: Happily, there is now a game manual,
It answers the question I raised in the review.

Reviewed by: Editor - 07/08

  • Venture Arctic
  • © Brighter Minds/Pocketwatch
  • Platform(s): WVISTA XP
  • To Order: Win $17.99