Title: Animal Gods
Developer: Still Games
Publisher: Still Games
Release date: October 12 2015
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Animal Gods is a short, simple game. Mechanically, it’s stripped back. Press the left mouse button to hit things with a sword, the right mouse button to shoot things with bow and arrow and press the space-bar to teleport over voids. Hold the appropriate button to perform an upgraded version of the ability; like, you’ll be able to destroy the bigger blocks. The game should take you a few hours to complete and there isn’t a whole lot of content because the game-play involves a lot of trial-and-error. Or, at least, it does in my experience.
Considering the small development team for the game, they do well. Animal Gods is moderately polished – albeit I found I could occasionally walk on the sky – and the visual direction is completely decent and occasionally striking. Apparently, the visual design is somewhat inspired by Samuri Jack. It’s clean-cut and comprehensible with sharp shapes and bold colours.- Whether you’re wandering through the dark lair of an ancient beast or an empty heaven.
The story presented in Animal Gods isn’t nearly so clear cut. The actual Gods within the game are literal animals. The extent to which they are actually gods, I do not know. They may just be really massive.
The world is a strange one and we are given little context going in. The manner of world-building here reminded me of that in Bastion or Transistor. Details are uncovered as you venture through a non-linear environment in the form of written logs and journals.
Animal Gods tells a love story in addition to a macabre tale about religion, science, nature and blind faith. This is the kind of game that I really want other people to play- because I imagine that there are a great many possible interesting interpretations of it that I want to read.
More technically, I felt that the plot lacked momentum when the denouement came I shrugged because I had a sense for what the situation was. Still, I felt the game didn’t require a grand twist to be engaging, slowly sinister and appropriately cathartic come the end.
Apart from the story and themes in the game, Animal Gods is a perfectly serviceable, low budget indie title. I felt relaxed playing this because of it’s easy and easily understandable mechanics.
Despite, or even, perhaps, because of the stream of profanities that the failures I had in it caused me to utter.
As for the story, I felt the meaning – if there was supposed to be one, definite one – eluded me. That’s not to say it didn’t move me.
If you’re the rare kind of individual who likes to write about the presentation of religion in games, then I’d love to read your take on this.
- Relaxing game-play.
- Some interesting themes.
- Striking visual design.
- The game gives out an achievement for dying lots of times. Which I got, because of course I did. Much like I got the one in Volume.
- … It’s okay video games, I wasn’t doing anything with that self-esteem, anyway.
- The shortness of the game might be an issue for people who aren’t me.
Code provided by PR/ Publisher.
No graphic violence, but some rather gruesome themes feature.