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Video Game / Niche

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Niche is a self-described "genetics survival game", developed by Stray Fawn Studio (formerly team Niche). It spent some time in Steam Early Access, before getting a full release in 2016. A mobile version is currently in development.

There, you start with two nichelings under your control, and use them to gather food, breed and explore the island you're on. Occasionally, you may run into predators. The real fun of the game, of course, is its breeding mechanics. Every nicheling has a set of genes, and you have to look at the recessive and dominant traits to figure out which two nichelings have the greatest likelihood of creating good offspring.

Unlike some games, there is no stopping the incest. To continue the game, you have to breed what you can get, and while you can meet friendly nichelings in the grass to avoid incest early in the game, the likelihood of meeting wanderers drops as time passes.


Niche contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Sometimes rogue males will show up and attempt to breed with your females. This can be very annoying, as they tend to carry undesirable genes like the derp snout, crippled paw, blindness, and hemophillia. Depending on how successful they are, they can be this or the Kavorka Man.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: The first two nichelings you get in Story Mode are aptly named Adam and Eve.
  • All Genes Are Codominant: Completely averted. Genetics work like in real life, with genes being dominant, recessive, and co-dominant according to what makes sense.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The predators often forget to use their turn to attack.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Toxic body - Despite being more difficult to obtain and giving your nichelings a more distinct look, it isn't really that useful compared to the other body types. It's only useful if your nicheling gets eaten, which you can easily avoid by simply killing the predator before it can.
    • Just as true for the spiky body. While it looks awesome, it's only useful if you get attacked. Even worse, it actually harms the nichelings the spiky bodied nicheling tries to breed with, making it worse than useless. The developers seem aware that these body types are useless though, as the most common place to find these body types are on rogue males.
      • The spiky body has been changed in recent updates so that it no longer harms other members of your pack when mating, only when licking to stop bleeding.
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    • The bearyena legs boost attack... at the cost of moving as slowly as physically possible unless you compensate with other parts. By the time you're fixing the problem with running legs, you might as well just use the bearyena claws you would also gain.
  • Boring, but Practical: Running legs, the pair of legs you get in the beginning of the game. They may not sound glorious, but they're more than capable of gathering all the food you need, and they increase speed by two per leg, saving food moving when your nichelings around.
  • Creature-Breeding Mechanic
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Generally, you want to keep your nichelings well-rounded. If you breed your nichelings for optimal strength, they'll get so slow it's impossible to get to the predators in time to protect their pack, not to mention they're far too costly to move around.
    • However, if you forget to add any fighting ability whatsoever, you end up with your nicheling so defenseless it can't even kill rabbils when they come to steal your berries. You can end up with no fighting skills if your nicheling has: two nimble fingers/running legs, lean body/toxic body, and derp snout/big nose/venomous fangs. It's especially tragic if you spent time breeding the venomous fangs; since they don't add any fighting ability on their own, you have no way to attack and poison the predators.
    • Fixed after the 0.2 update, venomous fangs now gives 1 strength in addition to venom.
  • Happy Rain: Rain makes all berries regrow.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Bearyenas may look big and frightening, but if you're packing claws and venomous fangs, well, killing it gives a whopping ten points of food. This is flipped on your nichelings with apes; unlike the bearyena, you're supposed to avoid them rather than fight them. They have a massive amount of health, are capable of tracking your nichelings, and deal a lot of damage. Bluebirds can also make off with unattended babies.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Sometimes, a bearyena will bring along its baby, which can be befriended with food and eventually grows to be able to be bred with your nichelings to create hybrids. The tame bearyena will still be much bigger than many of your nichelings.
  • Impossible Item Drop: Averted. Killing animals used to drop berries, but now their remains are specifically identified in game as meat.
  • Killer Rabbit: The rabbit-like creatures, rabbils, are perfectly harmless. Your nichelings, on the other hand, can be bred into cute little tanks, with a maximum of eight strength. The predators, for comparison, only have two strength and go down once they've taken sixteen damage.
  • LEGO Genetics
  • One-Word Title: Presumably named for ecological niches species occupy in environments.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: Every move costs one food. If you run out of food, your nichelings will start dying off very fast.
    • After the update, the nichelings now eat at the end of the turn, meaning they now get three moves per food. As a result, unless you're actively breeding crippled paws or very unlucky with spawning berry bushes, you won't ever run out of food.
  • Suicide Mission: Gathering berries from cacti. Every time they're gathered from, they damage your nicheling, so it's the perfect job for the otherwise useless nimble fingers.
    • After the update where injuries now cause the nichelings to suffer bleeding when they take injuries, this is more true than ever.
  • Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities: Nimble fingers. Considering how essential it is to keep a steady supply of food, you'd think it was pretty useful, right? Wrong. You can gather a maximum of seven berries from a bush, but if you place a nicheling with two running legs next to it, it's more than capable of picking the bush clean in two turns, since it gets three moves per turn. After that, the berries only regrow one per turn (unless it rains, which happens in wide enough intervals that it never matters), so a nicheling with a crippled paw could more than handle it.
    • Since the update where berries now regrow two each turns, the nimble fingers have become a lot more useful.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Nichelings Need Food Badly.


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