The preview build actually has you starting out in a hut located in what seems to be the main hub world, if not just a place to crash in between expeditions. In this central area, there were different other huts that you could visit, including one where a keeper would provide useful tips or provide a bit of background. There's also a shop where you could purchase new fossil rocks to add to your collection. I presume players can use this as an alternative to actually going out and finding the rocks on their own at the respective sites.
I spent most of my time exploring the Jungle Labyrinth -- a place I'd hesitate to refer to as a "dungeon". As you explore areas like this, all of the action takes place on the Touch Screen with the screen above being used to display a radar, with dots representing places where you can dig for fossils. This excavation site had multiple areas you could visit, albeit the area itself seemed somewhat small in size. Passages leading off to other sections of the Labyrinth often weren't very clear with all the greenery. I also observed quite a few NPC's lurking around as though this was a tourist attraction.
In searching for different pathways and elements to interact with, I stumbled across a machine known as the "VMM". After dismissing thoughts of the memorable Dreamcast memory cards, I did some research and discovered this is what's known as a Vivosaur Management Machine. Through this I discovered that players can set up to three different Vivosaur teams prior to battle engagement to prepare for rival teams. From here, the game also walked me through an interactive tutorial on how battles operate.
The actual system seemed kind of interesting, with the battle menu allowing you to change team formations and choose different character-specific attacks. The game also establishes a point system that determines who attacks first, and it seems that this also comes into play in other respects over the course of battles. That was about the most experience I had with the battle element of this game (and that's only because I had to search it out).
The build I tried didn't really lead you into fossil-finding or even maintenance of discovered fossils. I think it's safe to assume players were probably expected to search these out too. There's a possibility that this maybe came later on in the build, but then again, why not lead players into it right off the bat? Nevertheless, the full version of this game will include downloadable content, co-operative fossil-cleaning parties, as well as Wi-Fi battles -- a first for the series.
Once again, Fossil Fighters: Champions seems decent enough, but I'd have to spend more time with it to give it a fair judgment. From what I could observe, though, there is a line of depth to this kid-tailored approach to monster-raising. And this is what may propel players further into the game once they've seen everything there is to see with the basic mechanics. Patrick will have a review of the game sometime after the game launches, so be on the lookout for that if this new Fossil Fighters does interest you.