Games & Tech

Review: Adorable Super Animal Royale Drops onto Xbox Game Preview

Screenshot: Super Animal Royale

Developed by Pixile Studio, Super Animal Royale is a top-down, 2D battle royale where you’re put into the shoes of a variety of cute, cuddly “Super Animals” who are thrust into a 64-animal fight to the death utilizing a variety of (sometimes) cute and (always) deadly armaments.

Besides the top-down 2D perspective, players of other battle royale games will find it pretty easy to acclimate themselves. You parachute off a massive goose onto the map and are initially equipped with only a melee weapon, but may pick up armor, weapons–ranging from duel pistols to poison dart guns to a crossbow that launches sparrows–and throwables like grenades, skunk bombs, and bananas.

Screenshot: Super Animal Royale

Players can also pick up Health Juice, which can then be drunk to regain health, and Super Tape, which is used to repair the players’ armor. You can also find Super Powerups, which vary from faster healing, quiet footsteps, or taking less damage and moving faster through the encroaching cloud of Skunk Gas or Skunk Bombs. Additionally, players have access to a Super Jump Roll (imagine the evade from Gears of War), which can also give the player a speed boost when multiple rolls are done in a row with the right timing. Getting this timing down is important, as it allows you to traverse the map much more quickly and makes you harder to hit in battle.

What really sets Super Animal Royale apart from its contemporaries is just how goofy and cute the game is, in contrast with the somewhat realistically modeled weapons, and its unique top-down view. You can slip someone up with a banana peel and then blast them with an M16, run somebody over in a hamster ball, or bash them over the head with a swordfish or a stick with roasted marshmallows. There are even Giant Emus you can ride (there are four types–one is called the Chonk Emu and yes, it is my favorite), one of which just has a knife attached to its face. There are tons of goofy emotes to unlock and new Super Animals to breed, as well as plenty of silly cosmetics, all of which are adorable. The art direction of Super Animal Royale is also great: even though there’s this great contrast between the cute, cuddly animals and the weapons they wield, it meshes together incredibly well. Additionally, the map is really well realized, and feels like you’re battling it out in the middle of a war-torn safari park.

Screenshot: Super Animal Royale

The top-down view also has some big ramifications. Your field of view is limited, meaning players who aren’t in your line of sight are invisible. Additionally, most basic weapons have relatively slow bullet velocity, so hitting enemies at the edge of your vision can be difficult. All of this, together with the Super Jump Roll, means fights tend to be up close and personal, as players duck and dive through enemy fire. I know one of the creators had mentioned they took inspiration from top-down adventure games, but when there are three or four players battling it out, it feels more like a bullet hell. This might put off those players who are used to the more tactical approach that most battle royales reward, but let’s be honest, that’s not Super Animal Royale’s target audience, and I really dig the more arcadey feeling the combat has.

There are a few issues though. For the longest time I had no idea how the Super Powerups worked, and had to go on the wiki to find out what they even did; a simple tooltip that appears when you first pick up a Powerup would be much appreciated. Additionally, while the game does show the trajectory of your grenades, it doesn’t show whether your grenade is going to bounce off an obstacle. Some indication of this would be very helpful.

Screenshot: Super Animal Royale

Besides those small complaints, I’ve had a great time with Super Animal Royale. I’ll admit, I’ve never been a huge fan of battle royales, but Super Animal Royale’s more compact map, close-range fights, and arcadey shooting and movement mechanics, combined with the downright goofy concept, makes it a downright joy to watch and play. Dressing my Hellfire Fox like a dock worker, setting up banana peel traps and pecking people to death from atop a Chonk Emu wasn’t something I thought I wanted, but it is now. It’s currently free to download on Xbox, PC, and Mac, so if you’re looking for cute little battle royale, I’d suggest you give it a try.

 

 

 

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