Right now there are two really hot genres. Everyone wants to either make a roguelike/rogue-lite or a battle royale. With so many titles offering their own take, it has resulted in some great experiences, such as Hades, developing experiences like Arcadegeddon, and more. Super Animal Royale doesn’t do much to change the core concept of a battle royale, it instead moves towards a different demographic and more accessible style. This, in turn, allows it to cater to a new group of people but will it pay off?
Like a lot of newer games from smaller companies, Super Animal Royale started life in Early Access around the time these experiences started to grow. In that time, Super Animal Royale rounded out the experience that made the recent console release seem so polished. Instead of starting with an incomplete game, Super Animal Royale features a number of quality-of-life options.
Right off the bat, there is a season pass, Super Animal World Pass, access to the previous season’s Beach Party and Early Access for a slightly higher fee, literally hundreds of characters, costumes, unlockables and so much more. There are a lot of rewards, but before we worry about unlocking them, it’s important to understand gameplay.
I like the term accessible because it ultimately sums Super Animal Royale up. Since it’s a top-down shooter, the difference between head and body shots is irrelevant. A lot of the locations also have predetermined values. Most bases have all the resources you could want, it’s the details that change.
For example, one run the pyramid could have a rare SMG, and another run it’s filled with common ones. It could also be the final place where everyone gathers to fight or killer skunk gas could force players to collect their things and leave in minutes. This is fun until it becomes obvious certain play styles are more rewarding than others.
While I can’t speak for a keyboard and mouse set up, automatic weapons like the SMG and AK work best in most situations with a controller. Usually, players would supplement these with a second one or a shotgun to maximize effectiveness at both ranges. As a result, slow firing and highly accurate weapons have less value. Also, due to there being no scope, headshots and other mechanics that would typically give snipers their value, they’re simply a liability to most players.
Sadly, similar things can be said about a lot of the other mechanics too. As amusing as the hamster ball is, it’s difficult to maneuver, makes a lot of sounds and will often put players in a bad spot due to enemies already firing at you. Emu’s have similar issues, as their attack isn’t as versatile as you might need it to be, though are extremely useful for escaping gas.
All of this results in a very linear experience. I know what weapons I want, I know where to typically find them and I know how to overcome most of the challenges. The real motivator for a lot of the ‘lesser’ equipment is collecting cosmetics, which has its own issues.
Having played well over 100 matches, winning over 10 and exploring the world a fair amount, my biggest concern is longevity. At first Super Animal Royale has a lot to see. There are like 13 different zones, 229 missions, 17 weapons, different tiers, various mechanics, plus more to discover. As mentioned, there are also 358 different animals designs across nearly 50 unique animals. Not to mention a season pass, multiples if you want, shop and the list keeps going. However, almost everything is based on time.
For example, each weapon has eight different skins based on the number of kills you get. This alone makes up 119 or 52 percent of the missions. Six of them are for doing a specific task related to “story.” These are things like, there is a structure in the Egypt place that you can unlock by pushing a switch to talk to the first Super Skullcat to unlock a special melee weapon. There are a few more, with some other more conditional ones like killing someone dancing, hamster ball kills, winning solo without armor, the only melee or without damaging anyone, etc.
Some of these are legitimately fun. Like winning without doing damage requires a huge change in tactic, it’s just others are not so easy. Winner Winner Super Chicken/Turkey are examples of this. To unlock this mission players need to first hit level 20, obtain 100 Super Chicken serums, obtain the chicken. This is enough to accomplish the first one, you just need to win as a chicken, with the turkey requiring another 200+ and the obvious win.
Over time the thrill of progression wore off. Despite getting my favorite character, Super Rotting Fox, many items are behind massive grinds. At roughly 150 games played, I am almost level 26. It isn’t until level 30 that I can obtain the owl and my next really desired character, Super Anubis, is behind level 40.
Even if different characters are behind roughly 150 or more matches, it’s a long road for any of the aforementioned things. Finishing matches can make it easier as you earn currency for Carl’s Cart, though it’s limited to six items that cycle out every couple of days. Similar things can be said about the Saw Shop, which swaps out items equally as fast. By the end you can hoard cash until your desired item is finally sold, though given I earned enough to buy two of the top rarity item, active players will likely either have untold amounts of cash or just buy everything for the sake of it.
Super Animal Royale Early Impression
While there is no question increasing Super Animal Royale’s reach won’t lead to more improvements in the future, it’s good to take a step back and consider what type of game would you like. It simply doesn’t have the content to sustain hardcore players for a very long period of time but it’s perfect for introducing someone to the genre. The accessible gameplay makes it pretty easy for a newcomer to win or at least get a kill and there is enough content to always have something to work towards. It’s a shame that a lot of these things quickly become a time sink but this too will likely get better with time.
[Editor’s Note: Super Animal Royale was played on PlayStation 5 and a copy was provided to us to experience.]