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May 25, 2016 by Aethyna

Support Niche on Kickstarter

Virtual animal breeding has never been ever more realistic with Niche!

Virtual animal breeding has never been ever more realistic! With Niche, a simulation/strategy game about population genetics, you’ll be able to breed and evolve your species based on their genetics. How does this work? Well, let’s fine out!

If you’ve learned about genetics before, you’ll know that most characteristics have a dominant and a recessive form of their genes. By mixing and matching these genes – in some way, you’ll be playing the matchmaker; you can shift and shape the characteristics of your species.

Naturally, you’ll want to keep genes that are beneficial to your tribe as a whole while getting rid of genes that you don’t want. Unlucky for you though, genes are tricky little buggers. Some genes that give you good traits – traits that you want – are dominant, which makes things a whole lot easier for you, but there are some beneficial recessive genes that you may also want. Trying to figure out the chances of you getting the offspring with the desired set of genes can be pretty challenging too and well, honestly, it boils down to luck.

Of course, the game spices things up with various other genetics-related “laws” including co-dominant heredity and more. By the time you’ve successfully mastered the basics of Niche, I dare say you’ll probably have a very good knowledge and understanding of how genes work.

Not to mention, in this game, you’ll be given a sizable island to inhabit and to start building up your species. However, the island is not as peaceful as it looks. Dangers lurk in the tall grasses, on top of trees or even behind large boulders. In order to ensure the survival of your species, you’ll need to expand your tribe so that it’s big enough. There are also other environmental factors, including weather conditions that will affect the well-being of your species besides the presence of natural predators, so you’ll also need to account for that. If all your animals died due to any of the factors, this means that your entire species is extinct and you’ll lose the game.

The cycle of life works perfectly in Niche as well. So, you’ll need to make sure your birth rate is higher than your death rate or your species will shrink. Adaptability is also critical for a species and having a varied enough gene pool will help tremendously with that. So, be sure to keep an eye on your gene pool too.

Aside from its amazingly unique gameplay, Niche has also won several awards since its conception, including the Official Selection A MAZE Joburg award and the Official Selection Indie Prize award. It has also won the Pro Helvetia Swiss Games and snagged the silver medal at the Quo Vadis – Indie Pitch event.

Niche will be available on PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) and possibly on consoles and tablets in the future. According to the devs, the game is slated for release on February of 2017 while early access players can get into the game half a year early on July 2016. The game’s been recently greenlit on Steam, so you’ll be able to download and play the game via Steam as well.

If you’re interested to show your support to the game by donating, you’ll get some really sweet rewards. The rewards range from digital wallpapers, soundtrack and copy of the game, to animal figurines and adding a special monument with your name on it into the game itself. Of course, they also offer early access Steam key or beta access to people who have pledged $18 and above.

With over 1800 backers, Niche has actually exceeded its target by more than 3 folds. All of its stretch goals have been reached as well. However, if you want to be a supporter of the game, one of the first few players to play the game or secure your place in its early access and beta testing phases, you still have 5 days to do so. So be sure to drop by their Kickstarter page and pledge while you still can!

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