It’s no secret that the battle royale genre in gaming has exploded over the past year or so. Fortnite dominated online viewership in 2018 and Apex Legends hasn’t even been out for a month and is already massively popular with a pro esports circuit beginning to form. This is a genre though that I personally have avoided as a whole. While the Hunger Games-like high stakes of this game mode make it very fun to watch and appealing for many to play, I get huge anxiety at the thought of playing any of these games. Not to mention that the vast majority are in the first person shooter style and I don’t excel at this type of game. However, a new game caught my attention, and it has managed to create a unique BR experience that is fast-paced, fun to play, and mitigates the worst of my anxiety. It is a hilariously fun game by the name of Super Animal Royale (SAR) by developer, Pixile.
It’s a lot harder to be stressed when you’re playing as a fluffy creature!
The days of playing as human soldiers are so last year. SAR is all about climbing to the top of the food chain as your favourite four-legged friend. With options like raccoons, tigers, foxes, pandas, you can even be a murder sloth if you want to! I personally am saving up my serum and DNA (the currency in this game) to unlock my favourite of all canines, the corgi. The cute and impeccably done animation combined with furry creatures is hilariously juxtaposed with the fact that you’re wielding AK’s and grenades and trying to murder each other. My favourite murder method is actually rolling over unsuspecting players in the giant hamster ball! When my brain sees a bunch of murderous psychotic animals that I simultaneously want to hug and cuddle, it’s hard to remember that I’m against 60 or 70 other people and the anxiety just goes away.
Aside from all the adorable animals, the biggest difference and advantage that this game has over most other battle royales is that gameplay is a top-down experience rather than first person. This game is all about sight lines, it uses clever shadows based on the objects and structures in the map to hide your opponents from view and give you defensive capabilities. As a player, success in this game is half about aim and bullet tracking, and half about how well you can use the environment to your advantage. The map contains various different biomes; in one game you can go from a freezing tundra, to the Sahara, to a beach, to a luxury resort situated just beside a swamp right out of Shrek – as a player you also get tons of variety. Aiming and moving is very smooth, and fairly similar (I would think) to many other battle royales out there; WASD based movement, using your mouse to aim and shoot, using various other letter/number keys to use equipment and abilities. It’s very intuitive and easy to grasp for the average PC gamer.
This is the fastest paced BR I have seen in a long time!
I can play anywhere from 3-4 games in the time it takes me to watch anyone else play one game of… Fortnite or Apex to use some examples. SAR is still pretty new and has a small (but growing) player base. Also, after only 30-40 seconds or so of waiting lobbies populate with bots, so that you can get into a game very quickly. This does mean lobbies are often around 60% bots right now – sometimes more and sometimes less – but as more people jump into the game this will change. I however didn’t mind this because it helps give you exp by getting some easy kills off the top, which means you can unlock more animals to play as. In the end it always comes down to the human players so you still get that heart pumping dynamic experience full of adrenaline as you all fight for that win – it’s like a game of Titanfall or most MOBAs, kill off the mobs to farm some XP. This also means I am not spending half of my playtime sitting in lobbies waiting for players to join. Once you get in the game as well, it keeps up at a breakneck pace due to the rate at which the circle shrinks and the blood-lust of other players.
SAR also has one of the nicest and most welcoming and active communities I have been a part of in a long time – with a link to the official Discord server right on the main menu. The developers also run competitions where players can submit clips and highlights to be featured in competitions and Youtube videos, and are very active on social media. They also have a content creator program that streamers can apply for based on hours of gameplay to their channels (which I myself recently became a part of). Their top creators get rewards such as animal skins based off of their real pets added into the game. They just released the first one, based on the streamer Freak_OTRT’s dog Odin, and it is absolutely ADORABLE!
Since the game is still in Early Access, they are also putting in little Easter eggs based on community feedback. In one of the buildings there is a computer set up with a SAR stream on one monitor and their discord server on the screen next to it. There is also a “Party bush” which has a hilarious backstory that the community made themselves. Join the discord and ask about it next time.
Pixile are also taking tips from most of the other wildly successful games out there, and do in-game events based on major holidays like Lunar New Year and Valentines Day. These include limited time cosmetic options reminiscent of the loot box items you can get in themed Overwatch events, as well as new animals and skins you can unlock during the event only.
If you want to try this game before jumping right in for the purchase, the game has a completely free version where you can play the solo mode to your heart’s content. If you love it, and upgrade to the full paid edition later, you can enjoy the duos and squads gameplay modes, and you get to keep all the DNA and serum you unlocked during the demo – which is nice.
Let’s see where Super Animal Royale ends up, and what it looks like under it’s full release.
- Adorable and Hilarious
- Smooth and Dynamic Gameplay
- Very Active Community
- Unique Take on a Saturated Genre
- Fun as Heck!
- Lots of Variety in Animal Choice
- Small Player Base (for now)