Party Animals: A New Physics-Based Brawler Party Game
Growing up, local party video games like Super Monkey Ball, Mario Party, and Rock Band gave me and my friends some of the best video game experiences we’ve ever had. Nowadays, local party games are sadly getting gentrified by online multiplayer games. Since party games featuring local multiplayer are becoming rare, the party games that do come out today carry a heavier weight to deliver a fun experience that I can enjoy with my friends locally and online.
And luckily, Party Animals picks up that weight and throws it overboard, literally. Party Animals is a physics-based brawler party game made by Recreate Games (it’s their first game!) that features up to four-player split-screen and up to eight-player online mayhem. The best way I can describe Party Animals is the gameplay of Gang Beasts but with the neat, glossy, and adorable aesthetic of Fall Guys. From my experience playing Party Animals online and in local split-screen, Party Animals is crazy, addicting, and goofy in all the best ways.
A little party never killed nobody – The gameplay
To give you a brief rundown of what Party Animals offers, you start Party Animals with a very useful and comprehensive tutorial, one that you can easily play again from the main menu, which I appreciated when teaching my non-gamer wife the ropes. After that, you’re free to jump into Quick Match or a Custom Game to try out one of the 20 maps. There are three game modes: Last Stand, which has nine maps in which you or your teammates need to be the last one alive; Team Score, which features two teams of four trying to win the challenge in one of the nine maps; and Arcade, which has two maps in which two teams each collectively has 10 lives — the first team to hit zero lives loses.
First, Newton’s fourth law: party games plus rag-doll physics equals success. It’s a known fact of the universe. Party Animals is hysterical! Every time I play, I’m literally laughing out loud in my room by myself because of how comical the animations and gameplay are. While watching the cutest animals you’ve ever seen get knocked out, sprint around, and swing wildly is hilarious, the brawler gameplay itself is up to snuff. You can punch, heavy punch, kick, dropkick, headbutt, grab, throw, and also wield weapons which add their own flavor of fun. Although combat takes some getting used to since your animal always feels clumsy and top-heavy, that’s kind of the point. There’s a lot to love gameplay-wise in Party Animals, and it all gets even better thanks to the amazing maps and game modes.
What’s the venue? – The maps and game modes
The thing that really elevates Party Animals above being just a Gang Beasts clone is the maps and modes. Last Stand, Team Score, and Arcade all have their own specific maps and you can fully customize your experience in a Custom Game. This includes which maps you want, the team sizes, enabled or disabled weapons, and much more. While Last Stand and Team Score feel complete with a handful of great maps, Arcade feels a bit forgotten because it only has two maps and not as many customizable options. That said, I’m really impressed with how different every Team Score map is and how creative every Last Stand map is.
The colors and textures in Party Animals pop in the vivid maps. Broken Arrow sees you battling on an airplane as it soars through the sky, tilting and progressively freezing at both ends. Fluffy Redemption sees you trying to throw coal into your train while you also jump over to the enemy train and pull the brakes or knock out enemies to slow them down. There are already so many great maps that add a variety of memorable gameplay moments, and I can’t wait to play what Recreate Games comes up with next.
Dressed to the nines – The animals, outfits, and presentation
A key component of Party Animals is the animals. There are currently 30 animals to choose from, and Recreate Games will likely continue to add more and more throughout Party Animal’s lifespan. All the animals are insanely adorable, especially the puppers, and each animal comes with multiple color options and unlockable outfits. You unlock animals and outfits, as well as emotes and avatars, by leveling up the season pass, completing achievements, and spending Cookies and Nemo Bucks in the Item Shop. You can also unlock legendary outfits in the Surprise Egg gacha game. While most people usually gripe and complain about season passes and gacha mechanics, I think these reward systems act as enjoyable progression hooks that give a party game like Party Animals a lot more legs than expected.
Perhaps something that will be enjoyed but overlooked is the presentation of Party Animals. I compared it to Fall Guys, and it’s because the music, color choices, UI designs, and general aesthetic of everything in Party Animals are extremely warm and welcoming. Although it’s a wacky party game, Party Animals feels fully fleshed out because of its mature yet childishly cute finished look and feel.
When the party’s over – The repetition
The double-edged sword of Party Animals is that its simplistic nature means everyone can play it, but it can also grow stale too quickly. The entry fee is low, which allows gamers and non-gamers alike to quickly understand the mechanics and start having fun. In fact, being bad at Party Animals is half the fun because of how silly and clumsy every character is regardless of skill. The downside is that the gameplay can be and will get repetitive after a while. It’s the nature of party games: they need to be simple enough to be accessible but complex enough to remain engaging. While Party Animals is among the best-executed party games I’ve ever played, unfortunately, the genre lends itself to getting washed out quicker than something that requires more from its players.
Party games like Mario Party and Fall Guys have tried to remedy the party game curse by having multiple game modes that introduce new mechanics and objectives. This tries to make player involvement more diverse and therefore more interesting over longer periods of time. While this works to an extent, party games’ lack of longevity still prevails. That said, Party Animals would benefit from new game modes like races or tail tag and more mechanics like jetpacks or fishing poles. The good news is this is just the beginning for Party Animals so, hopefully, we’ll see some more innovation.
Party Animals is an incredibly good party game that is fun alone, split-screen, or with online friends. The presentation is wonderful, the animals are cute, the combat is impressively challenging and hilarious, and the maps are unique and beautiful. I can’t wait to gather my friends together and play eight-player Last Stand. It’s not without its flaws, but I can’t recommend Party Animals enough to gamers and curious non-gamers alike!