Review: Animal Force – Chinese developer ISVR released its first title, Animal Force, two years ago on the Asian market as launch title for PlayStation VR. The game was considered an excellent launch title, but Animal Force did not immediately put the PlayStation VR headset on the map as a must-have product. No, the game was best described as mediocre. Two years after the original release, the game was finally localized for the Western market, but is Animal Force a title that we are all waiting for two years later?
Animal Force: 3D Tower Defense
Animal Force looks like at startup simplistic and even childish. The use of color and the overall tone of the game indicate that this is a game for the younger players among us. It uses large icons, colorful pictures and the game gives a very cheerful vibe, which gives a nice feeling. The graphics are simple but effective. You can either play with a DualShock 4 controller or with a single Move controller. Animal Force has two modes, namely a single-player campaign and three different mini-games that you can play together with friends on the couch, with one player on the headset while the rest sees a different picture on TV.
It’s handy that you play the tutorial for the first time, because that makes it clear in a simple way what Animal Force is really about. The ‘story’ is a joke; evil aliens are targeting the inhabitants of the earth and it is up to you and your friends from the animal kingdom to stop the enemies. For this type of game, the simple story is not a problem at all, since that does not predominate, that should be the fun of the gameplay.
Your avatar is a spaceship and the animals form the first defense against the invasion. Every animal species has a unique characteristic that can also be upgraded as you progress through the campaign. How does it work? Well, you are traveling with your spaceship over a planet looking for the UFO that indicates that this is the next level in the campaign. If you choose to start, you have to make a choice from the animals you want to play in this level. Initially, you only have the panda bear at your disposal that fights the enemies with bullets, but as you progress in the campaign, other animals will join your arsenal.
For example, you can play the rhinoceros later, that slows down the enemy with his projectiles. The bird generates a shield against enemy bullets and so on. When you have made a choice, the level starts. You see black holes with a yellow ribbon coming towards the planet along which the enemies move. A red line indicates the de-alienation line of the aliens. That is only important when the aliens have come through your first line of defense, because you have not been able to take them all.
With the spaceship you can place all animals, a selection of your animals and even individual animals at any place in the world. place the 3D space. If an animal comes in contact with an alien or with a projectile, then you have lost that animal. You get animals when you make short work of the aliens. If you have placed the maximum number of animals of one species in space, you will be given a star in the place that you can use again to improve the qualities of your animals. That is necessary, because the enemy is also evolving. The enemy, like you, will be faster, stronger and harder to defeat.
Too easy? Forget it!
The first levels are literally child’s play and serve more as a glorified tutorial to get to know your little animals and to get into the flow a bit. This changes, however, within a dozen levels. By the time you’re halfway through the campaign – which, incidentally, consists of 6 different levels with a total of 28 sub-levels – you probably already had the tendency to park your motion controller in your TV, because this game turns out to be anything but to be a laughing stock in terms of difficulty. The screen is so full of lines, animals, projectiles and aliens, that you can speak of happiness that you get everything that happens. Often you feel unfair because you can not correct an error with any possibility. An error means that you are hard settled with a game on screen as a result.
There is nothing wrong with a tricky game, but it becomes frustrating as you reach 5 and still do not know why you have failed. And the further you come, the more ruthless the enemies become. Often all your animals are destroyed within seconds and you do not even notice what this is. Adapting your strategy by selecting other animals before the level starts often also does not help a single nut. The game also has bosses who send you back to the start in no time without a glance or blush. If you buy this game for a child because of its misleading appearance, prepare for heavy crying, because junior has cut out his work with Animal Force.
Multiplayer is limited
You already have read that Animal Force also supports a local multiplayer. However, this multiplayer is limited to three party games that are fun to play a few times. The best of the three requires normal players to steal statues without being noticed by the VR player, while the VR player has to track down the thieves before all the statues are gone. Another game is the well-known sla-de-mol in which TV players must behave unnoticed between AI characters in order to walk to the exit, while the VR player with a hammer can switch off the normal player, if he is certain of the identity of the player. After a few times, however, you’ve also seen these mini-games, so they do not really have any added value.