Evolution is beautiful, staggering, and uncaring. So too is Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, a survival-adventure game that rewinds the clock 10 million years to shine a light on the plights of early hominids.
It’s one of those video games that doesn’t come around all that often, both in subject matter and scope. You won’t just figure out how to walk upright – you’ll also learn to use both of your hands in tandem, then how to fashion tools, then how to use those tools to forge primitive weapons, and so on and so forth, passing crucial knowledge down through the generations and eventually evolving as a species.
A few months after its PC-only launch, Ancestors is now playable on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with better tutorials and a few extra sorely-needed niceties. The original timing wasn’t quite right for us – travel and other priorities got in the way of a review – but December is a different story. I’ve spent all week teaching my adorable children how to fend off saber-toothed cats, pythons, and even hippos.
Ancestors is ambitious to a fault, but it’s impressive that a relatively small studio – Panache Digital Games, led by one of the creators of the Assassin’s Creed series – was able to pull it off so well.