In the hierarchy of how we discover new games, we’d say hearing about it directly from the developer is near the top, being a follower of the series or creator is pretty high up there, and randomly downloading it because of its adorable dinosaur app icon is probably a close third. Bronto falls under this latter designation, but it’s quickly stolen our heart with its surprising amount of depth and absolute dino-loving cheeriness.
You play as a wobbly green brontosaurus who’s out for a swim (that’s probably something brontosauruses did) in ichthyosaur-infested waters. The controls are simple and responsive: you tap and hold to swim down and release to swim up. Although you don’t have any inherent special powers, you do have a ridiculous range of movement. If you swim up fast enough, you’ll fly out of the water and through the air, where swarms of pterodactyls are passing. If you keep holding down, you’ll swim farther and farther into the sea, with the deeper waters darkening around you. Although there is a “too deep” end point, you can go surprisingly far beneath the surface before hitting it, allowing you lots of vertical space to move and avoid dangers.
The game is endless, so your only real goal is to survive as long as possible. But there are some interesting ways to earn points that keep the game fun and which are explained simply through in-game challenges. Diving near an ichthyosaur but just missing it will give you a “close call!” bonus; latching onto a pterodactyl and then letting go will allow you to do flips for points; diving far enough under water will reveal high-value sea dino eggs; the constant barrage of volcanic rocks that will hurt you in the air can be picked up (for points) once they cool off underwater.
There’s a lot going on here, and it’s done in a smooth, fast-paced format that we’ve been really enjoying in short bursts. You can also unlock new types of dinosaurs, not only to play as, but also to assign as your air, sea, and “giant”—deep underwater monsters like the kronosaurus that give chase if they catch sight of you—dinosaurs to keep your dino-rotation fresh. New dinosaurs and stages are unlocked with points, so your ability to buy new items is tied to your success at keeping Bronto alive.
And the game is just constantly adorable and cheerful: Bronto kicks his tiny front legs while swimming; he lets out a “Whoo-hoo!” when flying into the air; the pterodactyls flip out when you grab onto them and try to shake you off; you can “knock out” the ichthyosaurus if invincible (via special volcanic rocks) and they just sort of comically sink off the screen. Bronto does a lot of things right, including always putting a smile on our dino-loving faces.