Niche is a game based on survival and genetics. It was Kickstarter funded in May 2016 and is under development by Team Niche. The game was created as a final graduation thesis for a game designer named Philomena Schwab who had an equal interest in biology. After her graduation in 2014 a team of three was formed around the game and development continued. Since then, the team has founded a collective of nature/biology game indie developers calling themselves "Playful Oasis." The game is expected to be released in 2017.
Niche is a mixed genre game about the scientific topic of population genetics. The last line of the game's description in the Steam store states, "Shape your own animal tribe and find an ecological niche for it to live in." The main goal is to keep your tribe alive against all odds, such as hungry predators, climate change and spreading sickness. Resource management and smart breeding based on real genetics are the main mechanics of Niche. The worlds and animals are procedurally generated. Niche is played from a top-down perspective, giving the player a god-like view over the board.
Play rounds are represented by a day cycle. All animals of the tribe can be moved and used to perform actions (collecting food, scouting a new field, mating, attacking a predator, etc.). Animals have a limited lifespan which means offspring is needed in order to prevent extinction. An animal's characteristics are defined by its genes, which can be passed on to the next generation. Countless new genes can be found, unlocked, mutated and combined.
The game world consists of multiple islands. In order to beat the game, the player's tribe has to inhabit all islands which proves that a successful approach to survival has been found and an adaptive species has been created.