It's one thing to be able to play as a solitary predator and quite another to experience the life of a social creature, living amongst a pod and establishing relationships with creatures just like you. In Orca Simulator, a life simulation title by Gluten Free Games, you get to play as one of the ocean's most fearsome creatures. Begin life as a lone killer whale, hunting prey and just trying to survive day to day. Once you've mastered the art of biting and dashing, you can then go up against other predators to gain experience and level up. You can also start a family to have calves of your very own. While there are plenty of things to do in the original, there's always something that can be improved for its sequel.
From Night to Day
One of the best things about the first game is the dynamic day and night cycles. Exploring during the night is not nearly as tricky as doing so at night. Being able to hunt for prey under low light conditions is certainly a feat; factor in some unpredictable weather and you've got an even greater challenge. That being said, players are not created equal. Whereas some don't back down from anything, others prefer to relax to their games. To be able to cater to both, Orca Simulator 2 need only offer a toggle switch to turn day and night effects off or on. The same can be used for the weather in order to allow players to simply enjoy and roam the deep blue sea at their leisure.
Now, with the weather comes a variety of hazards that could put a damper to any great, underwater experience. In the original game, cold temperature means having snow and that produces huge icebergs. The upside to this is that you get to climb up the icy hunks of rock to chase some seals. On the other hand, it's silly to be able to flop around land and level up ten times straight. Repeatedly doing flips gives you an endless supply of experience points, making it possible to max out your levels without needing to dive into the water. While it's not the worse glitch, it's certainly a game breaking issue.
Fine Dining in the Arctic Ocean
Another element that needs a bit of work is the game's hunt system. Although chasing after seals, dolphins and sharks help satisfy your killer whale's hunger, Orca Simulator doesn't allow it to fill its belly with small fry like schools of fish. Compared to the level up workaround, this is something minor but having the option would certainly add a little something special to the game's role-playing experience.
Speaking of glitches, there are a few to be fixed as well. Some are minor graphic glitches while others are a bit harder to ignore. An example of the latter is that you can get stuck within certain areas of the map such as in your den or over an iceberg. Needless to say, these have to be addressed and polished for the sequel.
Make Some Underwater Pals
For the nitpicky, having tropical creatures swimming alongside their orca may not be the ideal setup. But, while we're at it, why not add a different mode altogether? While the main game sticks to adventures in the Arctic, a side quest mode can allow players to cross borders to the Pacific Ocean and beyond. This way, they can meet a slew of other creatures and be able to fill up a travel journal with facts and trivia that can be useful beyond the game. Having the ability to clear certain areas and declare territories also opens up a world of possibilities. That way, players have the option to just immerse themselves in a quiet virtual ocean without needing to keep an eye out for aggressive predators.
Because Orca Simulator is such a dynamic game, it serves as a good base. It lacks polish but is already immersive as it is. Aside from addressing some game breaking glitches, Orca Simulator 2 has to both take the realism to a whole new level and offer a more entertaining experience for casual life simulation players. More modes mean more to do as well as a higher replay value. A travel journal also gives younger fans the chance to learn a few facts that are useful outside the game. Gluten Free Games has quite the road ahead of them but as fans of the original, we'll be there to play it come harpoon or tidal wave.