- Developer: Pixile Studios
- Publisher: Modus Games
- Release date: 26/08/2021
- Price: Free to play / Free to Play
- Code for Super Edition (£11.98/$14.99) and Season 1 Starter Pack (£3.98/$4.99) provided by Modus Games
Introducing: Super Animal Royale Review
I’ve gone on record before that online games aren’t really my speed, battle royales even less so. Still, i am always willing to give a game I review a chance to change my mind. At least about itself even if it doesn’t rock my feelings on the genre as a whole. So, this review of Super Animal Royale is going to be my first foray into the battle royale genre in a while. It takes a little bit of a different approach to this kind of a game too, so I’m actually pretty excited to dive in.
Come one! Come all!
A lot of the storytelling in Super Animal Royale is atmospheric. The map that you play on is expansive and seems to be some sort of abandoned and overgrown theme park on an island. A real Jurassic Park type of place, it seems, since there is a lot of attractions that are dedicated to the Super Animals. Bipedal animals who were created trough DNA experimentation and a secret “super serum”. There’s also some mention of a resistance and cosmetics that refer to it. So I can only assume that the reason everyone is fighting is a war between the animals who wish to remain entertainers in the park and those who want to be free from their human oppressors.
It’s really one of those things that is just there to justify the map that we are playing on, I know, but having something there that actually gives a little bit of a reason, even one so vague, is more than they needed to do. Given the detail that is in the map, I am sure that there are some more secrets that I could uncover in order to find out more little tidbits of the lore. But with the way the map constantly shrinks and the fact that the time spent on the map before a match starts isn’t very long, I haven’t been able to scour every inch of the island.
This is a battle royale, though it’s a bit different than most in the sheer simple fact that it is from a top down perspective. Instead of being in first person or over the shoulder, you have a bird’s eye view of the entire area around your character. This is both a blessing and a curse in some ways. It is a blessing because it’s harder for other players to simply sneak up behind you. However, in order to balance this, your vision can be blocked by things around you. For example, you won’t be able to see behind a wall or inside a building until you move your character there. It functions in much the same way that a flashlight casts shadows. Any other player who is inside the “shadow” that your vision may cast is invisible to you, so they still can kind of pop out of nowhere.
Weapon options are numerous, from shotguns to miniguns to pistols. You’ll drop into every game with nothing but what is basically a stick to hit other players with (taking the form of whatever customizable you picked for it. In my case, a lollipop). From there, you need to find tools to keep you alive. There’s guns, ammo, body armour, bombs, and a few forms of transport that can deal damage until they’re damaged enough to be destroyed. The body armour is perhaps one of the most important things that you an pick up for yourself since you character is just a squishy little animal. It is really easy for damage to be dealt to you and you don’t have a ton of health so you need to be on your toes the entire time.
I will say that the game is a little lacking in tutorial. It teaches you a few things in the lobby of your first match, such as the dodge mechanic and some other basics, However, given that this is a battle royale that functions on the control style of a twin stick shooter, I think having a little practice range in order to hone your skills in something other than a do or die situation could have been a big help. Weapon switching, which is a pretty key function, was something that I had to figure out for myself.
Wanna play fetch?
There’s a generous amount of modes available in the game, but the caveat is that they are not always completely available. There’s options for playing a match completely solo, in a team with one other person, or as a squad with a total group of four. All of these game generally function pretty much the same, but having other people to watch your back can sometimes make a world of a difference (you know, provided they don’t just run off on you). There are private matches that you can join as well, many of them for events run through the dedicated discord for the game.
There seems to be a lot of developer interaction on this game, which is always great to see. There is also a mode called S.A.W vs Rebellion, where everyone is split up into two teams to go nuts in a deathmatch between the rebellion and the animals of Super Animal World. Lastly, there is Mystery Mode, which can be a whole host of different things, ranging from one hit kill games to slowed bullets to “bananarama”. The gimmick being that you don’t know which of the riffs that you are going to get at first. However, Mystery Mode and S.A.W vs Rebellion are both time limited. Mystery seems to rotate in and out on a regular basis, but while I was playing Super Animal Royale for review S.A.W. vs Rebellion wasn’t available at all, leading me to believe it’s a fairly special event when it is available. There might be days were only the standard mode is available to you, so make sure you get attached to that mode over any of the side ones if you do choose to play.
Pets are expensive
So, this is a free to play battle royale title, so we do have to get around to talking about how it handles its storefront. There is a battle pass system that costs 550 tickets (the paid in game currency), with the option to buy a prior pass for 750 tickets. On top of that there is also a tickets cosmetic store. Obviously things that are just cosmetic don’t effect the game at all and are just for fun, but I am not fond of the way that the paid shop preys on the fear of missing out by having rotating selection. I know it’s pretty standard these days, but I don’t have to like it. However, there’s no lootboxes so at least there’s no gambling!
There’s also a store for items that can be bought with currency that is earned in the game as well. These tend to be less exciting items, but that you can still get a lot of options without paying real money is always a good thing, even if it functions on the same rotating system as the other paid shop. There’s also actually a lot of cosmetics and currency that can be gained from the games internal achievement system, meaning there’s a good deal of merit based clothing that you can enjoy as well, which I was pleased to see.
There’s one more element of customization, but it’s not so much tied to these shops. Each round of the game, you will earn some animal DNA and super serum. These can both be used in order to create different animals for you to play as or different breeds of those animals. Some animal DNA is only available once you reach a certain level, though, so the more you find, the more you can unlock. I bring it up here, because while animals are mostly merit and playtime based, there are also a handful of them that are available only through the bundles, which can make it very clear who did and did not pony up the cash.
What a pretty kitty!
I think the choice to go with a super cutesy look for everything was definitely the right way to go with this game. It makes the whole thing feel more fun than if they had tried to make these animals gritty. It also leaves a ton of room to get silly. Many of the animals that you can eventually unlock are very fun. There are things like zombie tigers, watermelon skunks, shamrock lions, and cotton candy deer. The costumes that you can get are simple and it can be hard to tell what some might be at a difference, but every animal can have them, which does mean they kind of have to be. The locations are varied as well, letting the artist get creative with where everything is. There’s only one map that I was able to see, but given that you enter at multiple different directions and the spot it shrinks to is different as well, you do end up seeing different places each game. I think that if/when they do implement another map, it’ll be just the invigorating boost this game needs.
Sound is where things are kind of lacking. The sound effects are perfectly fine, giving each gun just the amount of punch it looks like it has and letting you know when you get hurt with a little squeaking noise. However, a lack of footsteps from other players is a bit of an issue and I think could be something that helps keep you aware of areas where you might not be able to see as much of your surroundings as you would like. It’s not like there is any music while you are in a match anyway. It would make things feel a lot less quiet than they currently do.
I never ran into any issues while I was playing, either in handheld or on the tv for the purposes of this review. While Super Animal Royale does take a little while to get connected when you boot it up from the menu, connections to find matches were satisfyingly quick and easy. The only other problem is that the text is pretty tiny, so that may influence where you play.
The fanbase for this game is very much active and dedicated so I don’t see a lack of players being a problem anytime soon. In fact, I think the wholesome look of this game has created fans that are really quite lovely people, even if I haven’t been able to talk to any of them while playing. Most of the time when I play in a squad, we end up all sticking together and watching out for each other rather than everyone trying to be Rambo. There’s also a bonfire in the lobby and I have yet to play a match where there weren’t at least two or three people dancing by it together. I’ve seen some pretty big dance parties in that spot so everyone is having a pretty good time.
Super Animal Royale didn’t quite make a fan of the genre out of me, but I won’t say that I didn’t have a good time while I was playing it. I don’t think that this is going to be a game that I feel the need to play daily and complete the season pass for, but I might hop in here and there for a game or two when I am feeling up to it. It’s easy for me to recommend that you try out as well since it is a game that is free to play. There are microtransactions to be found here and that is certainly something to be aware of. That being said I don’t feel pressured into them from the second I boot up the game. There’s no pop ups telling me about all the new deals in the shop or anything like that. It feels the slightest bit more responsible, if that makes sense.
- Adorable art direction
- Simple but effective design
- A fresh take on the Battle Royale genre
- Some modes are not always available
- Lack of tutorial or practice area
- Text can be a little small