In true survival of the fittest fashion, Niche – A Genetics Survival Game had a strong start to its Kickstarter Campaign. Developers, Team Niche, were quickly able to hit their goal of securing 100 backers in the campaign’s first 24-hours.

Having now exceeded its modest $15,000 goal, Niche is a game about genetics based survival. Players are entrusted with the survival of their very own tribe of (mostly) adorable critters. In order to further the species the tribe must grow and adapt through selective breeding. At least that’s the plan, unfortunately nature is rarely that simple.

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The majority of the vulpine-like creatures are very cute, even after the addition of deadly fangs, horns, or any number of mutations they can gain based on dominant, recessive and co-dominant heredity. Not all mutations are beneficial though, or necessarily pretty.

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Players have to weigh the risks of carnivores, inclement weather, famine, and the realistic aging of their critters when determining where and how far to wander from their nest site. Move too fast and there won’t be time to breed, but take too long and the food will be gone and predators may wipe out the tribe.

Hidden under all the clever strategy and fun are surprisingly complex biology lessons. I can see Niche being used to teach basic genetic principles in schools instead of another generation of kids having to waste away from dysentery on the Oregon Trail.

Niche looks great. The characters and backgrounds are beautiful and the game mechanics seem to be on point. For further convincing (though to be honest I’m already well on the bandwagon), Team Niche has provided a fun trailer on their Kickstarter page. The campaign runs until May 30th.

Track the progress of the Niche Kickstarter in our Campaign Calendar.

Joanna Mueller
Joanna Mueller is a lifelong gamer who used to insist on having the Super Mario Bros manual read to her as a bedtime story. Now she's reading Minecraft books to her own kiddo while finally making use of her degree to write about games.
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