Today is apparently Play Some Really Freaking Furry Games Day because both games I’m talking about are ANIMALERRIFIC. Both for very different reasons.
Let’s start with Dust: An Elysian Tail, an Xbox 360 Arcade game.
More like Dust: My Videogame Fantasy. Seriously, it’s like someone sat down and looked at all my favorite things and stuck them together: furries, cute characters, Metroidvania, beautiful flowing 2D animation, super high difficulty available. Dust had every opportunity to be a mediocre game with amateur art and a cliche storyline about some overpowered dude getting redemption for bad things and just being SUCH A BADASS I MEAN LOOK AT HIM.
But no, crazy as it sounds, this Metroidvania adventure full of fuzzy, cute things, made mostly by ONE GUY (he seriously did all the art, animation, coding (he knew nothing about programming before this. It doesn’t show at all), and putting everything together. He only got outside help for voices, writing and music,) actually has a really good story with well-written characters and it’s fun as heck to boot. Combos are so much fun to pull off, and enemies give just the right amount of warning and dish out serious hurt to make you watch out to not open yourself to attacks.
There’s one issue I have with the game, and that’s a fairly bad design decision involving these bubble things that randomly burst with deadly poison droplets all over. I’m playing on the hardest difficulty (not recommended unless you love pain like me) and made the choice to drop most of my stat points (DID I MENTION THIS ALSO HAS RPG ELEMENTS <3) into attack, purposely ignoring HP and defense, so I die in two hits at most. (seriously not recommended) Well, the problem is there’s such a short amount of warning before those things explode on you, there’s often not enough time to get out of the way, and the randomness of it can cause them to go off after 10 seconds… or 1/5th of a second. And they’re all over, so it’s not uncommon to have them all around you, rapid-firing until you’re screwed into a corner. I died a lot at those parts.
Though, during a miniboss fight I noticed they gave a lot more warning and it was actually possible to not die horribly there. I THINK they do that normally on the lower difficulties, only going bats*** crazy on you on Hardcore. That’s really the only way I can see that sort of thing getting through testing, honestly.
So, as long as you’re not a super-masochist you’ll be fine. If you are a super-masochist, you’ll probably enjoy it in some dark way anyway. (hehe…eh..) Overall, it’s a really great game regardless of the problem I ran into. I can hardly recommend it more if anything I said about it piqued your interest. Go watch some gameplay.. I won’t be going anywhere…
SO, on the subject of dying, let’s talk about an equally fuzzy game about animals!
This one features a lot of dying. Lots of eating things and if you’re like me, lots of being eaten. (I’M A TERRIBLE POMERANIAN)
Yes, it’s Tokyo Jungle, a PS3 downloadable about an animal- and plant-infested Tokyo where every furry’s favorite apocalypse scenario somehow took place. All humans died off 10 years ago but everything else is okay!
It’s an action/stealth game all about surviving in this harsh jungle-ified Tokyo. There’s a story mode which has you playing different animals and slowly telling the story of how the humans all died out as you find clues left over from civilization. Then there’s Survival mode, where you just try to last as long as you can. (and everything wants to kill you) You gain points for completing little mission objectives (usually having to do with stuff to help you survive) and lasting a long time and you find all sorts of collectibles as you explore. It’s really well done but so far I haven’t had the chance to unlock something less… prey-ish. I mean, the deer can kick a cat off a roof, and the pomeranian is the cutest rabbit-mauling machine ever, but both of them are pretty low on the food chain.
Not that I mind being low on the food chain, but it means a lot of running, and a lot of running faster than the other thing running from the thing that wants to eat you.
It’s a great mix of action and fight/flight, and already I’ve run into a LOT of interesting scenarios and one CRAZY near-death experience I’m still shocked didn’t end my poor deer’s life prematurely. There’s a great mix of mechanics at work, and I’ve only had it for a day. So far, it’s been very much worth the $15. And I’ve played two of the like-60-something animals in the game. It’s crazy how many there are, and they’re all playable. I’ve done one survival session that lasted over an hour (I think) and I still don’t have a clue what the stamina bar is for, so there’s a mechanic in play I probably don’t know a thing about yet.
From here, it looks like there’s a LOT of content to spend time on. And I just love the fact that everything is playable. Even the chicks. They’re like the popcorn chicken of the game, almost no defensive abilities, really slow movement, such a small target that they’re in a whole new low tier all their own compared to everything else. You kind of feel bad slaughtering them for food. And I just unlocked them for play!
Speaking of slaughtering for food, while the “gore” in this game is really more arcadey than realistic, it still heavily features visceral throat-biting, face-clawing, chewing on dead things, etc. You will have to abandon your brothers and sisters as a pack of wolves mauls them and you escape alone to live another day. You will be forced to tear apart cute little dogs and cats and rabbits for the sake of survival.
Tokyo Jungle is a very flatly natural sort of game, very much focused on eat-or-be-eaten. It’s almost like an action game adaptation of the nature channel. Things die, mates must be found and babies must carry on the survival of the family. Most won’t make it to see another year, and when you inevitably die you’re just some predator’s lunch. I really like that about it. Not many games really make use of the different skills of animals, and fewer still try to mimic natural selection and survival of the fittest, but it really does make a great game.
If I haven’t scared you off yet, I’d recommend checking it out. If I have, please watch the following “Tokyo Jungle” gameplay footage and tell yourself it’s all going to be okay: http://youtu.be/AD-B2NcxZDs