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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.

There, you start with two creatures 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 creature has a set of genes, and you have to look at the recessive and dominant traits to figure out which two creatures 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 with what you can get, and while you can meet friendly creatures in the grass to avoid incest early in the game, the likelihood of meeting rogues 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 haemophillia. Depending on how successful they are, they can be this or the Kavorka Man.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: The first two animals you get are aptly named Adam and Eve.
  • All Genes Are Codominant: Completely averted. Genetics works like 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: Poisonous body - Despite being more difficult to obtain and giving your creatures a more distinct look, poisonous body isn't really that useful compared to the other body types. It's only useful if your creature gets eaten, which you can easily avoid by simply killing the predator before it can kill you.
    • Just as true for the new spiky body. While it looks awesome, it's only useful if you get attacked. Even worse, it actually harms the creatures the spiky bodied creature 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 horny 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 paws, 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 berries you need, and they increase speed two per leg, saving berries moving your creatures around.
  • Creature-Breeding Mechanic
  • Creatures Need Berries Badly
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Generally you want to keep your creatures well rounded. If you breed your creature 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 whatsoevever, you end up with your creature so defenseless it can't even kill rabbits when they come to steal your berries. You can end up with no fighting skills if your creature have: two berry paws/running paws, small body/poisonous body and spitsnout/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, poison fang now gives 1 strength in addition to poison.
  • 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 poison fangs, well, killing it gives a whopping ten points of food. This is flipped on your creatures 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 creatures 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 creatures to create hybrids. The tame bearyena will still be much bigger than many of your creatures.
  • Impossible Item Drop: Averted, killing animals used to drop berries, but now their remains are specifically identified in game as meat.
  • Killer Rabbit: The rabbits are perfectly harmless. Your creatures 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
  • Resources Management Gameplay: Every move costs one berry. If you run out of berries, your creatures will start dying off very fast.
    • After the update, the creatures now eat at the end of the turn, meaning they now get three moves per berry. As a result, unless you're actively breeding no paws or very unlucky with spawning berry bushes, you won't ever run out of berries.
  • Suicide Mission: Gathering berries from cacti. Every time they're gathered from, they damage your creature. So it's the perfect job for the otherwise useless berry paws.
  • After the update where injuries now cause the creatures to suffer bleeding when they take injuries, this is more true than ever.
  • Ugly Cute: The spitsnout.
    • And now the cracker jaw as well.
  • Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities: The berry paw. Considering how essential it is to keep a steady supply of berries, 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 creature with two runner 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 creature with a crippled leg could more than handle it.
    • Since the update where berries now regrow two each turns, the nimble fingers (as the berry paw was renamed) have become a lot more useful.


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