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The Humankind Odyssey

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Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey (2019) is a survival adventure. But rather than controlling a specific character, you guide an entire lineage of primates trying to survive in prehistoric Africa and facilitate its evolution. It's unusual not only for this scenario, but how committed it is to recreating the futility and frustration of this slow progress alongside the joy and exhilaration of developing civilisation.

Play is intentionally open ended and not prescriptive. Information about systems are intentionally withheld to give the feeling of stumbling your way into the evolutionary future. You are left to discover how to progress and develop your community of primates. You guide a primate from a third-person perspective while you manage health, drinking, and sleeping. As you navigate the African jungle you need to think tangentially about how to cross rivers, ravines and other obstacles. As you do, you also need to be aware of threats, food and other items that may be useful to interact with. Picking up rocks to open coconuts for instant, or to use as a weapon.

These interactions and exploration isn't directed. You can climb trees to aid traversal. You can fight other animals but will suffer injuries if not careful. You also have to manage your mental state. Being hunted by predators will put you in a fear state. But you can calm and overcome this by finding glowing orbs of light.

It's a dangerous world, but one full of opportunities as well. You can use your heightened senses to listen out for predators, a lost clan members, or to hear outsiders who may be recruited. You can also use your primate intelligence to pinpoint items in the world and locate new food or tools.

This progress opens up more areas to explore. It's a little like Assassin's Creed in this way. As you make discoveries you become more intelligent and capable and get new skills (make bedding or medicinal plants). If you die, you are simply shifted to another clan member and can continue. However, if all clan members die, the lineage becomes extinct and you must restart.

Each time you birth a new child to your clan, the benefits you have learned so far are locked into your lineage. As this happens you also get random mutations that take your skills and traits in unexpected directions. This slowly edges you forward in evolution and (interestingly) compares your progress to what we know about the real history of this period.

The result is an unusual game because of its focus on discovery. For some this may make it too slow or not exciting enough. But those who can embrace this nonlinear experience will find a game that encourages experimentation.

Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 19 months ago.
Kids not old enough for this yet? There are lots of games similar to Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. Here are some similar younger-rated games:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Stealth and Traversal game with Adventure, Collecting and Strategy elements. This is a single-player game.


Play Time: This game will take between 40 hours and 50 hours to complete.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 16 because it features strong violence. Violence consists predominantly of predation between the early animal characters but can include scenes where your Australopithecus characters use tools such as rocks and sharpened sticks to kill the other animals with whom they share the world. Blood is shown and the bodies of the fallen remain to be scavenged for resources.

Rated for younger players in the US. Rated ESRB TEEN for Violence, Blood, Partial Nudity.

Skill Level

11+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. Although younger players will be able to progress and explore. This is a really tough game that sets itself against easy progress. You need the determination of a teenager if you are going to get a lot out of these games.


Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey usually costs £32.99.

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

XBox Store Xbox One £32.99
PlayStation Store PS4 £32.99
Steam Store PC £32.99
There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 27/08/2019

Out Now: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Stealth, Traversal (Adventure, Collecting and Strategy)

Accessibility: 0 features documented (Tweet Developer )

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Developer: Panache D Games (@PanacheDGames)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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