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ANIMALITY, Nintendo Switch, Review

If you’re after a super-simple and super-punishing game with a dose of cuteness, then Animality could be the game for you. Developer Tendokore knows what they are doing when it comes to games like this. A game that’s easy to play but not so easy to master. A game that you will keep going back to when you have a spare few minutes and want to punish yourself just a little bit.

Animality – a game you keep on playing

Animality shows that you can create an entertaining game whilst being simple AF. There is very little substance to the game. You start playing and think, “Is this it?” and the answer is that it basically is. But you find that you can’t stop playing, and so you don’t overly care. It somehow entertains, and makes you determined to do better, so what does it matter if there’s not much to it?

How simple are we talking about? Well, I’m glad you finally asked. Of all the buttons on your Nintendo Switch, you need just one. If, for some reason, you have a sticky or unresponsive A button, then this is probably not the game for you. You’re going to need that A button, which needs to be as responsive as possible. That way, when you fail, you just didn’t time it right.

Animality is an endless runner where the A button switches you b between the world and the Upsidedown. It’s not called that, but you’ll call it that when you play. Animals run at you in both, although they’re more like daemons in the Upsidedown, and you mash the A button to switch between to dodge. Both worlds are on the screen simultaneously, so you must time it right so you don’t switch worlds and smash into an onrushing raging animal/daemon. That’s it. Told you it was simple.

Looks can be deceiving.

I know. I can already hear you asking what the point in all that is. Luckily for you, I’m going to tell you. This is not an easy game. Prepare yourself for having to restart after the first few seconds and then many more restarts because the intensity and speed increase all the time and rather quickly.

Looks are very deceiving with it comes to Animality. It looks all cute. You might be convinced that this is a game for children. I’m pretty sure that’s a tactical choice by the creators to lure you into thinking this’ll be a breeze. A lovely stroll in the park. A casual little dodging game that’ll pass the time. You can certainly believe that, but you’d be wrong. You might be right in thinking that your characters can be cute, but that’s it.

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One thing that makes this a challenging game is that enemies move at a different speed from you. You need to pay attention to both worlds/lanes before you switch. Switching a little too early is easy, sending you colliding straight into an enemy. Remembering that enemies rushing you come at a different speed to you is vital, resulting in a few switches that were slightly too late to make. You think there’s room to switch up to catch a coin quickly, and next thing you know, it’s game over because there wasn’t as much time as you thought. It draws you in, though, leaving you for a higher score or enough coins to play as a different character that doesn’t seem to do anything other than aesthetically look cooler.

I said, “That’s basically it” earlier, but there are two mini-games you can unlock. Their sole purpose is to earn bonus coins, allowing you to unlock more characters. So if unlocking new characters that offer nothing other than looking different interests you, at least there’s a way to unlock more coins than just playing the main game.

Mini-games and High Scores

The first is a race where you pick a character and wait to see who reaches the flag first. You have zero input, and if your chosen character comes first, you get a load of coins.

The second game is a puzzle with you searching for three ducks on the screen, amongst other animals running from side to side. Three ducks in 60 seconds, and you get a nice coin payout. The second is more fun as you have some control rather than pure guesswork. More side games like this in the future would be welcome to add something extra to the whole game experience.

One missing thing, though, is a leaderboard. It doesn’t even have to be a global one. An arcade-style local leaderboard where you put in your name would be excellent. Families can compete on the same console. Having a goal to beat yourself, and even if you don’t reach first place, getting second to your high score would become an achievement. It’d be nice to have some sense of glory with a leaderboard. You might think you did well, but you’ll never know whether it was in your top runs, and that’s a shame. Maybe one for a future update – it’d definitely be a welcome addition. But at least you know when you’ve got a new high score, so that’s something.

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Conclusion

Animality is a simple but cruel endless runner game that challenges you. The coin system would be nice if there were more than just characters with cosmetic differences. The game has a simple pixel art style and a catchy soundtrack, but the lack of leaderboards, power-ups and variety stops this from being a game that reaches greatness. It is a game that can keep you hooked for a while, but it may not offer much depth or replay value. There’s replay value for me because I quite like the simplicity and hate being beaten by a game that looks like it should be reasonably straightforward, but I also know that people will be looking for a bit more than that from games.

It’s a game you can pick up and smash out a few rounds here and there, but that’s it. It’s not as memorable as it could be, but there’s plenty of room for growth whilst keeping to its simple roots. 

If you are looking for a cheap and easy-to-play game that tests your reflexes and patience, Animality might be worth a try. It is £4.49 via the Nintendo eShop.

I rate Animality a 6/10.

A code was kindly provided for us to review this.

We Score This Game

rating score: 6

Good!

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