The latest video game from developers Recreate Games involves fluffy foes battling it out to be the last animal standing. Party Animals is an online multiplayer party game, released on September 20th, 2023. It is currently available for purchase on Xbox and PC, with the base game retailing for £15.49 or £23.49 for the deluxe edition.
A Timeline of Party Animals
Before getting into the game, some past issues need to be taken into consideration to explain the Steam reviews, which currently stand at mixed/negative.
These reviews come from players who have pointed out the lack of local multiplayer, the abundance of microtransactions on a paid game, and the several delays in releasing the game.
The game was officially teased in September 2019 and became available to wishlist on Steam in June 2020, as well as an open demo being available at the same time. Those who had the chance to play it back then noted that not much had changed in terms of graphics or gameplay, with the exception of new maps, which came into question why was there significant delays in order for this game to come out. From looking at developer logs, Recreate Games has been open about the delays. They also addressed the lack of local multiplayer, even though this was stated in the game description. There was a mistranslation from the dev’s native Chinese to English, but Recreate has confirmed that they do not intend to introduce local multiplayer.
With that addressed, let’s get into partying like animals. Let us know if you were aware of these issues previously or if this new information has changed your opinion of the game.
Party Animals is a brawler-style physics-based game where, depending on the game mode, the winner is the last animal standing or the team that has achieved the objective. Roundhouse punch or jump-kick your opponents to knock them out and drag their lifeless furry bodies off the platform. If you’re quick with the grab manoeuvre, you might even get the chance to pick up a cross-bow or a shovel and get your paws dirty. Collecting jelly candies, fueling the trains with coal, and scoring some goals are some of the team maps they have to offer, which blend the need to be competitive with the chaos of taking down opponents. Knocked-out players can also spectate and sabotage other players by throwing mooncakes, bananas, or bombs. Focus on the task or sabotage others, this really is a game to suit differing playstyles.
New players start the game in a tutorial immediately, with a narrator explaining the instructions as well as the option to complete the tutorial with a mouse and keyboard(MKB) or controller. Initially, the controls seem, heavy and delayed as you adjust to it but like anything, practice makes perfect. This review started with the intention of using MKB but was quickly swapped out with an Xbox controller as it just felt more comfortable and felt like you had more control of the character. The controls do have a general delay in the actions, which can be frustrating but you naturally end up timing your attacks the more you play.
Game Modes and Skins Galore
Players have the option to jump into a quick match with randoms and invite their own friends to join in. If players want a more relaxed, but still chaotic experience, create a custom game where you can pick the maps, as well as turn off some options like weapons spawning and the ability to knock out. You can even adjust the percentage of HP and stamina.
Party Animals offers players a total of 20 maps split up into three game modes modes which are – Last Stand, Team Score, and Arcade. Both Last Stand and Team Score have 9 maps each, whilst Arcade has 2. Whilst the maps have similar goals, such as surviving and scoring goals, they all feel different and offer a varied experience each round.
There are a variety of animals to choose from such as corgis, cats, ducks, and even two types of sharks. Each animal comes in a variety of outfits, which include a variation of colour, a funny hat, or even a corgi dressed up as Half-Life’s Gordon Freeman. Party Animals also have an IP collab, where you can purchase Ori and Naru. There are also free skins you can redeem in the store that were collabs with content creators.
There are various ways to get new skins. One way, without having to invest any money, is to level up your experience by playing matches and completing the weekly challenges. Players unlock skins, avatars, and frames, and even earn cookies and Nemo bucks (in-game currency). Cookies can be spent on skins, but they can also be exchanged into Nemo bucks, which are typically dedicated to more premium skins. There is also a chance to gain skins from the gachapon machine, but this requires a gold coin or 120 Nemo bucks.
There is something to say about the game not being free-to-play and including in-app purchases, especially when it costs $44.99 (£37) to get 6000 Nemo bucks, which could be enough to purchase two skins, maybe even 4 if you went for the more common ones. It is a lot of money to invest, especially when already paying for the base game on top.
Party Animals is a fantastic game to play with a group of friends, and it even supports remote play via Steam, which is great so your friends don’t have to own it to join in on the fun. This comes with limitations, as the split screen is not great. It downsizes the player’s view immensely, making it difficult to see the map and gauge where the opponents are. The remote play connection is delayed or even cuts out randomly.
Graphics & Audio
Graphically, the game looks amazing with each animal having a high level of detail, especially with the fur. Objects and props have smooth textures and sheen, as well as each map, has high amounts of detail for this type of game. Party Animals have great fog and smoke water physics, which can be seen in the Typhoon and Ichiban. As this game was played on a PC that has an RTX 3060, it’s difficult to gauge how this would run on other types of computers, however, Party Animals runs well on the Steam Deck with some minor adjustments to the settings. The minimum recommended requirement for Party Animals is a 64-bit processor, and 16GB RAM with an NVIDIA 1060/AMD 580, so bear that in mind before purchasing.
During the review, there were no major graphical glitches, bugs, or frame drops throughout the testing phase. The servers even worked well when playing with others abroad in the Asian servers. It is important to note that there are no dedicated Oceanic servers, leaving players in those regions frustrated and left out.
The music in Party Animals is fun and upbeat, matching the overall theme of the game, with each map having its own tune. It gives off elevator-music vibes but with chaos.
Party Animals is extremely fun to play with both randoms and friends. It offers a decent variety of maps and modes on its initial release, but players may get disinterested depending on how much they play. After 12 hours of playtime, the last-standing maps did feel repetitive however the team games were still very competitive and brought back the joy of the game, in particular Buzz Ball and Beast Hockey. It will be interesting to see how Party Animals will add more to the game, whether this will be seasonal maps for the Halloween or Christmas season as well as more game modes like parkour, rhythm, or racing.
Having to read the Steam mixed reviews initially felt like I was reading about a completely different game. Taking those points into consideration, I do feel that Party Animals is still an excellent addition to your party game collection, as it is a joyful experience and is made better with friends. There is a variety of maps to play from and the fact that you can change the settings of the lobby to make it easier or more difficult to suit the players around you is well done. The issues with this game are microtransactions and the lack of local multiplayer, which go hand in hand. The reason it may be online only is to try to persuade players to consider purchasing in-game currency, which does not bode well from a consumer perspective. I think Recreate Games needs to re-shuffle the currency conversion as well as take a look at the cost of skins. Skins should not cost more than the overall game. Period. Overall, Party Animals is a great game, and as mentioned previously, it is a fun addition to your collection without having to be an essential buy. Utilize the remote play option to see if it is something you want to pick up.
If you are interested in checking out more reviews written by me, check out my experience with ForeVR Suck It!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.