Modern Dinosaur Video Games (2016)
You can find dinosaur video games on any platform, but they are most plentiful on PC. Getting a game on a console system (PS4, XBOne) is very expensive for the developer. Meanwhile PC game developers can easily sell and distribute their games comparatively cheaper through resources like Steam. Finding a current dinosaur game can also be a little difficult given that the internet can pretty much keep anything going on for a decade or more, if not forever. I’ve compiled a list of the more recent dinosaur video games, either released or updated in the last few years. These range from shooters to platform jumping games to survival simulators. As far as video games go, they are pretty affordable too. The most expensive one I have found is $39.99, which is substantially cheaper than the usual $59.99 price tag.
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I’m going to use some terms below that you may not be familiar with. Feel free to refer to this list if it gets confusing. You can also ask questions in the comments below if you still don’t understand.
- PvP – Player versus Player where you square off against other human opponents.
- PvE – Player versus Environment where you square off against computer AI.
- Cooperative/Co-op – Playing cooperatively with other players.
- Steam – An online marketplace of video games where you can easily buy and access independent and major video game titles. It is a free download, only requiring you to sign up for an account. It is predominantly for PC games.
- PC – A desktop/laptop computer.
- PS4 – PlayStation 4
- XBOne – XBox One
- Cross platform – You can play with friends on different platforms from your own. (You on PC vs friend on PS4 for example)
ARK Survival Evolved
Probably the most widely played dinosaur game today, ARK: Survival Evolved takes you back to a prehistoric world, stranding you on the beach with no tools of any kind. With only the rags on your back, you must survive in a world FILLED with dinosaurs. You must craft your own clothes, weapons, and shelter to make it! You can even tame dinosaurs to enlist them in your struggle to survive. Rags turn into armor, and shelters turn into elaborate fortresses. Exploration is also a big part of the game, and that includes underwater in the ocean! ARK: Survival Evolved is currently available on Amazon, Steam, and XBox One. 74% of player ratings have been positive on Steam. Amazon users have given it about 3.5 stars. It will also be coming to PlayStation 4 holiday 2016 according to the developers. This game can be played solo PvE, cooperatively PvE, or you can square off against other survivors in player versus player battles! ARK costs $29.99 on all platforms. I add this trailer because it is a very honest representation of what ARK is, and because the music is amazing. I have bought and played over 60 hours in this game so far, and my wife even plays with me occasionally. You can check out a more in-depth overview of ARK here.
ARK Survival of the Fittest
This game is a spinoff of ARK: Survival Evolved. ARK: Survival of the Fittest is a Free to Play game. It is strictly a PvP game where you compete with other players. If you have ever seen the Hunger Games, ARK: SotF is modeled after the arena style competition in the movie. Players must content with prehistoric dangers, not limited to dinosaurs, as well as random events and other players. There are leagues forming on the various platforms with up to $50,000 in prizes being offered. If you enjoy competition with other players, this could be your game. And it’s free! It’s currently available only on PC through Steam. ARK SotF arrives on PlayStation 4 July 19th, 2016. It will also be coming to XBox One, but there has been no release date given yet.
If you enjoyed the 16 bit games of the 90s, and want a real challenge, Jumpjet Rex is right up your alley. It is a self proclaimed “punishing, old-school platformer with a modern time-trial twist!”. In case you aren’t familiar, a platformer is your standard Mario/Sonic fare. It is another retro type game with 16 bit graphics. At an incredible 95% positive reviews, it is the highest rated dinosaur game I could find on Steam. The base game is $9.99, and there’s more content available for purchase if you end up liking what you see. It was released in April of 2015 and is PC only through Steam.
Carnivores Dinosaur Hunter Reborn
If you’ve ever wanted to hunt dinosaurs, there’s a game made just for you. Released in May of 2015, Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter Reborn lets you stalk and hunt dinosaurs. There are multiple, huge environments, as well as various weapons to use. 80% of Steam ratings for this game are positive. It is described as a hunting simulator, so if you’re a hunter in real life, this game may appeal to you. At $14.99, this game is only available through Steam for the PC.
Much like ARK, you must survive a hostile dinosaur world. The difference is, in The Isle, you get to be the dinosaur! While this game is under heavy development, it is thus far moving along very quickly. There are over a dozen different dinosaurs to choose from, both herbivores and carnivores. All the dinosaurs you see in the game are other players. The herbivores must eat plants to maintain their health, while the carnivores must eat meat! You can expect a heavy PvP experience from this game. In the future the game will add humans and cannibals into the mix too. This is currently one of the more fun and innovative games available. I have purchased and played it for over 50 hours myself. The developers call it a dinosaur simulator, adding a touch of realism into the game with systems like broken bones and bleeding. Currently The Isle is $19.99 and only available for PC through Steam.
If you’re a fan of simulation games, DinoSystem promises a unique experience. From an overhead, 2-D view, you can choose to survive as a human, or manage the dinosaur ecosystem in “god mode”. Currently on PC through Steam for $7.99, DinoSystem was released in June of 2015. Currently it sits at 84% positive steam reviews. While the graphics do look a little simplistic, it has some deeper game mechanics for someone looking for a more immersive experience.
This is an FPS/shooter game available only on the PC through Steam. You play as WWII soldiers on the side of either the Axis or the Allies, OR you can play as their dinosaur weapons of death! While this game initially came out in 2011, it did receive an update in September 2014. According to steam, 84% of ratings for the game have been positive. Meanwhile 74% of ratings for the latest expansion are positive. At $9.99, this seems like a good purchase if you enjoy dinosaurs and WW II history.
Lego Jurassic World
If you aren’t familiar with Lego games, they are light-hearted story adventures. This one is, of course, based on the Jurassic World movie. As a bonus though, you get to play through ALL of the Jurassic Park movies! It’s like four games in one! This is currently my wife’s favorite dinosaur game, she loves the Lego series of games. Lego Jurassic World is probably available on more platforms than any other game. It’s available on Amazon for consoles, and Steam for PC. Consoles include PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Playstation Vitae, XBox One, XBox 360, and Nintendo Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS. There are online codes as well as physical games, depending on your platform. Amazon users have given the game 4.5 stars for the console version, while 84% of Steam ratings have been positive. You can expect to pay $17.46 – $39.99 depending on which version you buy.
If you want a little humor in your life, Caveman Craig promises not to take itself too seriously. It is a strategy/survival game with a sidescroller prespective. You lead a tribe of cavemen through a prehistoric world facing off against other tribes and dinosaurs. While initially a single player experience, a February 2016 update now allows co-op play. Caveman Craig is for PC only, available through Steam. Released in August 2015, the game has a $10.99 price tag. 83% of Steam ratings are positive.
This game is an FPS/TPS shooter where you must work together with, or against, other players to survive. Dinosaurs are your main obstacle in Orion Prelude. You must take them out with amazing weaponry, and even with vehicles! Danger comes from land and air. There are several game modes to choose from including timed survival, rampage where you play as the dinosaurs, and more. Currently it is only available on Steam for the PC. 79% of players rate this game positively, and the last update came in 2013. At just $0.99, it’s a great deal if you want to kill some time and dinosaurs.
The Orion Project
From the creators of Orion Prelude comes The Orion Project. While this game is in early development, it promises to be a mixture of ARK and Orion Prelude. An open world like ARK where you must gather resources to survive, as well as Sci-Fi action shooter elements where you blast dinosaurs. Your character plays from a third-person perspective (TPS), and can use varying combat styles (Sniper, Assault, etc). It is currently only available through Steam for PC. Early development games can sometimes have bugs which may temporarily make the game unplayable. These are generally fixed very quickly by the developer, however, but it is something to consider before purchasing. At $0.99, it’s hard to complain about. 73% of Steam user ratings have been positive.
Ever wanted to race other dinosaurs? Dinorun DX is a racing game. It is multiplayer compatible so you can race your friends! Released in September of 2015, development continues as more copies of the game is purchased. Similar to Kickstarter stretch goals, more features are added as they reach funding goals. While it does say it is cross platform, I can’t find what other platform it’s available on. I can only find information about the PC version through Steam. This is so far one of the the highest rated dinosaur Steam game with 94% positive reviews. At a cost of $5.99, if you like retro 8-bit games, this could be a good choice for you.
Primal Carnage 3: Extinction
Another member of the shooter genre, Primal Carnage 3: Extinction is the latest in the Primal Carnage Series. This game is all out combat between dinosaurs and humans! You can choose to play on the side of the humans or the dinosaurs. As dinosaurs, you have access to a variety of carnivores: raptors, dilophosaurs, spinosaurs, and more. The games last saw an update in April of 2016, and it looks to have more in the works. 74% of Steam ratings are positive. This game is available as a PlayStation 4 code on Amazon, as well as on PC through Steam. Primal Carnage Extinction costs $19.99 on both platforms.
While not yet released, Saurian offers a unique experience for dinosaur loving gamers. A scientifically accurate video game that will allow you to play through the life of a dinosaur from hatchling to extinction! The game will be a single player experience with 4 playable dinosaurs at launch. Saurian was funded through Kickstarter, so there were several goals added based on the funding level including more playable dinosaurs, as well as multiplayer. I personally backed this campaign. At just $15 for the game, it is a great deal for anyone wanting a true dinosaur simulation game experience. A console version is also possible in the future, however the console stretch goal has not been reached in the original campaign. Currently it will only be available through Kickstarter for the PC. The game is slated to release in January of 2017.
Before You Buy Dinosaur Video Games
I have a few tips before you purchase any dinosaur video games. First, you can sometimes check out games on Twitch.tv to watch some of the gameplay to see if it’s as interesting as it sounds. I have started a Twitch channel, and will be streaming dinosaur related games. Next, if you’re buying through Steam, there are ALWAYS sales going on. The big summer sale is around June, of course Black Friday in November, and then generally a winter sale in December. Aside from that, there are different sales every week and weekend. If you’re not in a hurry, you can add these games to your Steam watchlist and then pick them up on sale. Finally, some of these games are Early Access games. Finally, if you see a game that is in Early Access, keep in mind it is not a finished product. It could tank early on, or grow into an amazing game worth twice the price. A bit of a gamble, but generally speaking you can get your money out of them in their current condition. I can answer questions on several of these games: ARK: SE, The Isle, The Orion Project, and Lego Jurassic World. Just ask in the comments below. I’ll try my best to answer questions on any of the other games. Some I just haven’t bought yet, others just aren’t my type of game. With all the games here, i’m sure you’ll have luck finding a dinosaur game you can sink your teeth into!