Developed by Visiorama, Rex Tribal Society mimics a creationist view of ancient history. In the game, men use dinosaurs like horses and tanks during their daily struggle to build a village and survive in the wilderness. As a player, I found myself packing a fire-starter and machete for the daily struggle of survival required to play this game.
Rex Tribal Society is an online game (or at least it’s supposed to be, but more on that later) so I had to create an account on startup. I opted to begin with the tutorial modes: they ranged from basic to online combat. A special combat mode called “favor” was included that always proved challenging, so much so that I wondered if the title related to the way the mode favors the opponent. In the basic tutorial, I learned how to send workers to mine gold, use that gold to buy structures, and spawn soldiers or workers from said structures. The twist in RTS is that workers are loincloth-clad cavemen and soldiers are mounted on raptors, hadrosaurs, stegosaurus or tyrannosaurus. The combat mode was aptly named. This open-ended level allowed me to learn how to send soldiers out to attack the enemy. Many of my stegosaurus died on the battlefield, ripped to shreds by little green enemy raptors that emerged from the dark areas of the map.
One thing that seemed counterintuitive about the tutorials is they don’t do much actual tutoring. Those levels granted me the freedom to try different strategies and explore the mechanics of the game, but no in-game messages popped up to explain that dragging a square over characters on screen is a quick way to issue group orders, for example, or that clicking on buildings is how you spawn workers or soldiers. The mechanics were either obvious or obscure, and figuring out how to accomplish things that weren’t obvious, like how to activate the plinths that mark the map, proved a frustrating guessing game.
Other than the tutorials there isn’t much to do. While there are other modes, the low number of players made finding online games difficult, so that negated starting or joining new ranked games. This is where the real world survival comes in: If you want to play online with another human, you need to keep the game open for hours in the hopes of being on at the same time as another player. The single player campaign is still under development, as is survival mode, so the only real options are the tutorials. This will hopefully change with updates, but as of now these limitations make Rex Tribal Society into half an RTS game.
Frustrations of discovery aside, there were some fundamental problems with the game when I first began playing. For instance, the Facebook login didn’t work, workers would get stuck in their tasks, and sometimes the game wouldn’t respond. Some of these, like the Facebook login issue, were fixed in subsequent days with updates, but bugs can be hard to exterminate. The workers were still getting stuck at the time of this writing. In addition, while the Play Store page advertises in-app purchases, the market is non-functional (though I wouldn’t recommend paying the initial $1.88 for the game let alone buying any add-ons anyway).
On top of that, whoever is in charge of the text both in game and on the Play Store page does not know how to spell the words he or she is using and is apparently too lazy to use spell check. Reading the ‘About’ section in Rex Tribal Society made me cringe. It was another strike against the quality of the game overall and made me lower my expectations for it in the future. It did not make me want to fight any “enemys on this new bornig fantastic world.” If “bornig” is boring misspelled, then the description is spot on. Taking the bugs and the lack of content together with the disregard for the English language, and you have a game that plays like an alpha build at best.
Is it Hardcore?
You should only play Rex Tribal Society if you need practice enduring torture.