Wild Earth: African Safari Impressions

Move over, Afrika: The Wii will get its own wildlife-photography game soon.

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The people in charge of Afrika at Sony must be kicking themselves right about now. If they don't hurry up and get the wildlife-tech-demo-turned-vaporware-safari-simulator onto shelves soon, Majesco will beat them to the punch with Wild Earth: African Safari on the Wii. In a Majesco rep's own words, Wild Earth is exactly what the elusive Afrika has been rumored for months to be: a safari-themed Pokémon Snap in which you quietly hunt down and grab pictures of the many beasts that inhabit the savannah.

Jeep versus wildebeest: Who wins?

Wild Earth gives you a handful of assignments in different parts of Africa, and each assignment has a sizeable number of photography-related objectives to complete. Some examples we saw included getting pictures of a cheetah chasing its prey, a close-up of a spiderweb, and a crocodile with a particular kind of bird perched on its head. You've got an "impact meter" that gauges your intrusive effect on the environment; in other words, if you get too close to or otherwise disturb the animals, you'll ruin your chance for that perfect shot. Many of the objectives are also timing-based, so in some cases you'll need to slowly follow behind a particular animal and closely watch its behavior to get your shot at a specific moment.

The game gives you basic information on each animal after you snap an acceptable photo of it, so Wild Earth might be useful as an educational tool (though we didn't get to look at the included text to see exactly how in-depth it is). There's also a four-player cooperative mode here in which all four players can take pictures independently (though only the first player can handle the walking or driving controls), with everyone competing for the best pictures. Lastly, if you get bored of the core gameplay, you can jump into 11 minigames that use various motion controls. We saw a game in which you flap the Nunchuk and Wii Remote to guide a vulture through aerial rings; another that has you, as an elephant, hosing down dirty animals as they plod along the riverside; and lastly, a whack-a-meerkat game similar to what you'd see at any carnival or county fair. (GameSpot does not endorse the wanton bodily abuse of meerkats or other defenseless wildlife.)

Wild Earth is clearly a kid-oriented game, with its low-impact gameplay and educational bent. But if you've been desperately awaiting news of Afrika while Sony has cryptically released bits of footage and not much else during the last couple of years, this might be up your alley. The game is scheduled to be released in the spring.

Discussion

29 comments
CherokeeXP
CherokeeXP

shocking graphics. Barely beats an N64. How can you justify havaing rubbish graphics on a game like this? Its all about the graphics, there's no gameplay in 'looking' at animals!

alexbartle
alexbartle

can you shoot the animals in the head with a gun?

Raiko101
Raiko101

Might not look as good as Afrika, but i'm sure its just as much fun. And by that I mean absolutely no fun at all lol.

ninjarat
ninjarat

hmm, I think the PS3 is going to triumph here.

Toadso
Toadso

When it comes to games like these, graphics become an important factor. Afrika for the PS3 is clearly superior on this point. For various reasons, I believe that this game will only create more attention and hype for Afrika. If this was some sort of a move against Sony, it certainly was a bad move. I like games like these and believe that this game can become somewhat fun. We probably have to take into consideration that this game have had less time for development then Afrika.

Maazer
Maazer

i hope it's not like Endless Ocean

curua02
curua02

In a game where the goal is essentially to *look at things*, you have to give the advantage to the console with better graphics. And I'll bet a fistful of dollars that the Wii remote's sketchy targeting will be a strike against them; that thing's meant for moving, not holding still.

Itsthetruth
Itsthetruth

(just wondering if any developer actually reads this, free comments!) Yup as everyone said, graphics. The picture game market is probably quite limited already for such a bad-looking game to survive. Besides graphics:.... Add some good trivia quiz ( lots of random questions pls) about the animals (since it's an educational game also) Co-op game (and the ideal quiz) must have online support. Get a nature foundation (WWF, green peace,..) sponsorship!

Wanderer5
Wanderer5

Oh come on, the Wii can handle better graphics. It look like a early PS2 game!

Teyon
Teyon

Wow...looking at the pics, Afrika has little to worry about. This doesn't look tempting at all graphically. I hope it does well though, the Wii needs to prove itself in the third party areana.

greystone227
greystone227

Seriously, this looks like a PS2 launch game... I mean, I know graphics aren't everything, but you can't deny that they matter - especially to the general audience.

gamer082009
gamer082009

OMG..those graphics lookl horrendous! Now i'm startin to think the only good reason to get the Wii is for Mario Galaxy and the new Mario Kart, cuz if games are gonna look like this i'll stick with ma 360.

Ravi_1900
Ravi_1900

This could pass for a N64 game bck in 1998, comon Wii can do much better than this.

ice-freezer
ice-freezer

this looks really bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jaguarfxf2
jaguarfxf2

Graphics look horrible...looks like something you would have seen on the PC about 10 years ago

jello_flouride
jello_flouride

My first thoughts on this were to download pokemon snap from virtual console. Sorry but this game feels like it's nothing but novelty. And Pokemon trump real animals any day.

frankeyser
frankeyser

odd i liked pokemon snap, i liked endless ocean, i have interest in afrika but this... just seems lame.

IAmTheRad
IAmTheRad

This game doesn't look like much fun. It's like Pokemon Snap, except with real animals. Endless Ocean looks like much more fun, and way more relaxing.

Can-o-Mark
Can-o-Mark

Like Mrjam0 said, games like this really depend on their graphics. If you're going to take pictures of virtual animals all day, they had better be worth taking pictures of. And right now, they're not.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

If this sort of game has tons of achievements, bonuses, collectables and unlockables then it'll be excellent. If they don't then they will generally be very average. Take a note of this comment Majesco.

mrjam0
mrjam0

very much like endless ocean, but please... if ur going to make a game based on photography, at least make the pics look GOOD. this game looks terrible, better off on the ps3, and i dont even like the ps3 now

xvwvx
xvwvx

I want this game as well as Endless Ocean.

acejk25
acejk25

I would rather play Endless Ocean.

Padrepride
Padrepride

This does sound fun. Kind of like Endless ocean. But it sounds more intense!