The fact that Animal Super Squad was created by a studio with developer Armin Ibrisagic, who helped bring us Goat Simulator, may already tell you a little bit about what you might get. The newest game from a partnership with DoubleMoose and Revelmode – a company owned by YouTube star Pewdiepie – sounds like a random collection of words jumbled together, and that’s what playing Animal Super Squad feels like. In a mostly good way.
This physics based adventure game combines a variety of different mechanics to produce something that’s both fun and completely ridiculous. You can play through a single player mode, which contains a series of intricately designed levels to help you get to grips with the game. This will see you having to avoid spikes, boulders, bombs and all manner of other dangers if you want to get to the end; something which is the crux of the game.
There is nothing too fancy here, just make it from point A to point B. Think of Trials, but weirder. That’s Animal Super Squad.
The simple nature is in contrast to the increasing complexity of the studio developed levels. Some require accurately timed jumps, others will need perfectly timed speed boosts. The levels here present different challenges, and while they generally start off quite easy, they become progressively more difficult, with later ones requiring some real thought and skill. However, there’s a fine line between hard and frustrating, and too often, levels can tend to stray towards the latter. Hitting some of the required jumps and boosts can become a bit maddening after a while. Also tucked away throughout are bonus levels, with one hidden in each main level; these are much shorter than the regular levels, but also much more difficult.
As you run through Animal Super Squad and complete levels, you will find yourself unlocking different vehicles for use, one of which is the equivalent of a helicopter which allows you to hover and maximise your airtime. Other vehicles utilise more conventional speed boosts, and these different options add an extra dimension to how you choose to tackle certain obstacles. Handily, the game will recommend you a vehicle for each level, so if you ever find yourself stuck using the wrong vehicle, you can restart with a more suitable option.
There are also customisation options outside of this vehicle selection, with the possibility of unlocking animals for use including chickens and sloths, and hats. Yes, hats. They can be found scattered throughout the single player in sometimes harder to reach places, but serve no other purpose than cosmetic value and unlocking a few achievements. While there are a bunch of levels to work your way through, these began to feel repetitive after a while, largely because there’s no real change in what’s required. All you need to do is get to the end, and this begins to lose its charm after a couple of hours.
One of the main selling points found in Animal Super Squad is its physics based gameplay. Your vehicles have real impact and weight with their surroundings, and you often have to make use of momentum and force to navigate obstacles that may be in your way. The physics also make crashing way more fun, with a very real possibility of exploding your car in a fiery mess. Checkpoints are scattered throughout the levels, and the game lets you immediately respawn at the most recent one if you do wreck your vehicle, which will probably happen quite often. Another available option is to roll around once your car is gone, something which I actually found beneficial at certain points to navigate narrow gaps and pathways. In fact, some sections almost seem to require it. Either way, this is one game that manages to maintain a fast paced, frenetic nature befitting its strange and unique art style and level design.
Once you tire of the single player, there’s always the online component to get stuck in to, which is where its biggest strengths lie.
This is a game which will rely on the community to sustain its longevity, but all the tools are in place to do so. Players can create their own levels with an in-depth level editor that allows you to select every minute detail about your own design. Initially, the whole thing can feel a bit overwhelming, but the freedom that Animal Super Squad on Xbox One gives you will help your creative juices to flow. You can add all manner of dangers, crazy ramps and teleportation portals to create wild adventures for others to experience. Some of the creativity on show here already is astounding, and it’s especially satisfying beating levels that were designed with the sole purpose of being difficult. As we see Animal Super Squad roll out to the rest of the community, the creativity and quality will continue to grow, and offer potentially endless replayability. Leaderboards keep track of the time taken for different people to beat levels, and there’s a fun challenge in trying to best others.
This isn’t a game that reinvents the wheel in any way, and many of you will have likely seen something like this before, most notably in the Trials series. But the undeniably unique brand of strangeness found in Animal Super Squad, and the inclusion of the online community options ultimately makes it a risk worth taking… although this will largely be dependent on how interested you are in the latter.