Never has domestic terrorism been as adorable as it is in Anarcute, a new riot simulator by Anarteam, disguised in the cute clothing of, well, many animals.
Anarcute allows the player to take control of a group of extremely lovable and thoroughly displeased animal anarchists to use in a battle against a totalitarian regime that dominates them. Your ultimate goal is to liberate several cities from this oppressive rule, and along the way you have to kill and destroy, which seems necessary for any sort of uprising.
When you first start Anarcute, you'll find its gameplay is simple.
You roam the map, looking to gather up like-minded animal friends to form a strong enough band to crush your armored oppressors. While sometimes you have to break your fellow animals out of cages, they may also just be standing around, waiting for you to swoop them into your cause. As you get more rioters in your group, you gain special abilities, such as being able to AOE stomp enemies, or even knock down entire buildings, which can be done to take down foes, free even more animals stuck to the sides of the building, or just for the fun of it. Along the way, your group will also pick up whatever nearby items there are to be had. Mailboxes, air conditioning units, cars, all of which can be thrown at anything that stands in your way. Your abilities can even be upgraded between missions, such as making your stomp stronger or your thrown objects ricochet. This is done through a coin system, which you are rewarded as you complete the missions.
Each of the cities has several disparate missions with different objectives. While the difficulty increases in some of the later missions, it’s never too much. You’re introduced to new enemies and how to use your abilities, as well as theirs against them, well in advance of having to fight bosses that are similar. Each mission will have new animals or insects, such as snails, raccoons, and octopodes, that you can unlock by releasing them from their cages. Once unlocked you can then incorporate them into your crowd from the “Custo” section in the menu. Each mission also has rankings based on your completion time, the size of your crowd at the end, and the number of police officers you killed, and getting rank “S” on all of the missions in a city will unlock items. The unlockables, mostly cosmetic such as new animals or outfits, are wherein lies most of the replayability of the game. It’s not something that I usually enjoy just for the sake of it, but in Anarcute I did find myself running the same levels over and over in an attempt to best my previous time or crowd size in search of that ever elusive “Super Smashing” ranking.
The art in the game is simple, clean, and of course cute. At times though, the cuteness worked against me, mainly when I saw the cute little corpses of my animal allies strewn across the battlefield. While I suppose this added some measure of realism, it still made me sad. Overall, this just strengthened my resolve, for there would be time to mourn later. Now was the time to avenge.
The gameplay is where Anarcute really shines.
It did take me a bit to get used to the controls using my keyboard and mouse, but to be fair the game does clearly state on startup that it’s best played with a controller. Soon though, I was beating up the cops with ease and the controls felt very fluid. The maps were straightforward, with a few puzzle elements and increased difficulty if you’re trying to nail down a higher ranking. The boss fights were thoroughly enjoyable and struck a good balance between fun and challenging.
In further praise of the game, there were many tiny details that I enjoyed seeing. I enjoyed spotting the Orwellian billboards that dot the maps, with messages such as “Obey for your own safety,” and “Still time to surrender.” I enjoyed that the U.S. city was Miami and not just the default New York or L.A. I enjoyed the heterochromia of the cat’s eyes, one blue, one yellow. Such a small detail like that speaks to me of developers who truly love crafting a well-made game, and I think it shows throughout.
Anarcute is a relatively short game, but there’s no fluff (except on the bunnies), and I think you’ll find that a playthrough is quite satisfying.