“He who makes a beast out of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man” – Samuel Johnson
Developer: Keaton Applebaum
Released: 1st March 2023
Available on: Steam
Engine: Unreal Engine
- Intriguing visual style paired with stylish environmental destruction and good soundtrack, give out solid immersion for each stage.
- High amount of secrets and Easter eggs to find in each level, some of which are rather elaborate and obscure, in a good way.
- Satisfying gunplay with very low TTK: both you and the enemies (except bosses) will only need a few hits to die. No checkpoints, high-stakes combat.
- Each weapon feels distinct and unique.
- Lore files can be only read if all the ones of the previous levels were found. It’s rather frustrating to find a secret lore entry, and not be able to read it because of this mechanic.
- Animalistic tries to promote a fast-paced playstyle, however, there is no downside in taking it more slowly and picking off enemies cautiously. This goes against the game’s own premise, as there’s no real bonus in ‘going fast’.
- Inconsistency of settings that doesn’t really make sense most of the time: you may end one level in a modern apartment block, and find yourself in a medieval castle next without any explanation as to ‘how’.
- The final boss fight proves rather unpolished and relies on constant enemy spam to create difficulty, instead of more unique mechanics.
Bugs & Issues
- Enemy pathfinding can break at times, making all of them stuck in place.
- Foes can be unresponsive if you’re too distant from them.
- No option to turn off motion blur.
- 32GB RAM
Content & Replay Value
It took me a little more than 4 hours to reach the last level of Animalistic, taking time to explore and find secrets when possible. Replay value is low as the content is linear, unless you’re into speed-running or achievement hunting.
Is It Worth Buying?
Yes. The price of 10,79€ is a little steep for 3-4 hours of content, but I can see it being worth it for fans of high-stakes shooters that cater to speed-running and fast combat.
This shooter has a really original setting, and despite some significant issues, it still manages to be fun and enjoyable most of the time.
Animalistic – In-Depth Analysis
Setting & Writing
In a (luckily) alternative timeline, furries have (apparently?) seized world domination, as normal human beings are hunted down, killed, or imprisoned for ‘later uses’… as it happens to our unnamed protagonist. Just kidding, it was a genetic experiment… probably. After a surprisingly simple jailbreak, you’ll be on your way to escape the conglomeration of abandoned buildings, ravaged apartments and junktowns composing the majority of levels. The visual style has sort of an ‘acid trip’ vibe to it, with an appropriate beat to match and sparsely-furnished, dilapidated locales worthy of the most veteran crackheads. No other sign of civilization or NPCS is ever to be found, save for mysterious messages left by an elusive character.
The premise is rather simple: you escaped the furries’ captivity and are now fighting for your survival. However don’t let this fool you: there is, in fact, a somewhat hidden plot in Animalistic, composed of environmental storytelling and sparse lore files to collect in each level. By finding them, you will be able to piece together more about past events, and maybe find a solution to the current state of things. This is of course, entirely optional if you just want the action. The writing itself is not great, not terrible, and is adequate to the genre’s expectations.
Exploration & Secrets
Levels are generally indoors and set in confined spaces populated with non-respawning enemies (exception made for the last level). There’s no map or indication of where to go, but generally, this won’t be a problem given most stages’ linearity and straightforwardness. Break down doors, find keycards and hidden passages to finally make it the green-hued exit. Secrets are related to Animalistic’s hidden lore, and you’ll have to find them in order as levels progress (weird design choice). There won’t be other secret types like in classic FPS, awarding you weapons or health and so on. There will instead be collectibles, one per level, hidden in secret zones, awarding you with achievements but nothing of real value.
Combat System & Bosses
Combat is both melee (using your surprisingly powerful fist) and in large part ranged, against anthropomorphic animals resembling pigs, boars, lions and so on. These enemies will have comical, cartoonish appearances that contrast with the environment, hence why I refer to them as ‘furries’. They hit hard though, as a few bullets or two melee hits will bring Mr. NoName from hero to zero, having you restart from the beginning of the level. The same goes for your foes – even more so perhaps; exceptions made for shield grunts or suiciders, all other enemies will die in one headshot or a few body shots depending on the gun. Notably, guns have only one magazine so you’ll have to constantly scavenge for new ones… or go unarmed, risky but it works.
Shotguns, SMGs, assault rifles, pistols – these are the weapon categories you’ll encounter, plus the classic explosive red barrels scattered around to cause extra mayhem. Notably, there are no sniper rifles and also no heavier murder tools, but that isn’t an issue. The pacing on paper should be fast, something emphasized by the timer on the top left and the fact killing many enemies in succession will fill your special ability, the Animalistic mode, granting you faster speed, damage resistance and (probably?) more damage. This mode isn’t THAT powerful, however, so rushing into the fray isn’t really worthy compared to taking your time to enter rooms checking corners like a good old SWAT operative – which I did in most levels, and often died zero times by doing so.
The three available bosses are all melee, have a ton of HP, and function in the same way: kite them around until you put enough lead into them and they croak. The final one won’t be so easy, as only explosive barrels will damage him, while a metric ton of crap is unloaded on you by the minute – admittedly one of the hardest fights I’ve had in years, for the sheer spam of trash mobs alone.
This is a classic endless wave mode that pits you against infinite enemies until you inevitably succumb. Not really much more to say about it.