Anarcute, the debut game from the aptly named developers, Anarteam, is probably the cutest game I’ve ever seen, but at the same time it’s worryingly poignant to what’s happening across the world today. But it’s so gosh darn cute, it almost makes you feel okay that you’re practically destroying cities in an effort to overthrow an oppressive government…
This game, at its core, is a riot simulator where you control an ever growing gang of adorable critters as they barge through, destroy, and take down a corrupt faceless government across a variety of different locations. In the beginning you start with just a small mob, then as you come across more of your adorable little friends, your mob gets bigger until it becomes a full blown riot.
Using this bumbling riot you then find yourself faced with environmental challenges which you’ll need to overcome in order to proceed and either unlock more of your imprisoned rioting buddies, capture a flag, or destroy a security tower. But it’s not as easy as it sounds, as the larger your mob becomes, the more difficult it becomes to navigate through the dangers set up throughout each level.
The game offers around six hours of gameplay across a number of different locations, each of which have their own set of levels. These levels are relatively open and allow you to proceed however you want, though the aim is usually pretty similar for each: get the biggest mob possible.
The bigger your mob becomes, the more abilities you acquire, such as the ability to take down huge buildings, slam and push away any foes, and dash to avoid being hit by snipers and other nasty traps, and usually it’s these abilities that are required in order to proceed. However, it’s not as simple as just collecting more critters on your travels, as you’ll often be faced with little anti-riot characters, also known as the Brainwash Patrol, who are more than willing to put your adorable mob in its place.
It’s these (still cute) anti-riot personnel that can prove to be the most difficult part of the game, as you can easily become outnumbered or get caught up in bum-rushing the poor fellas that you don’t realise you’ve stumbled across one of the many laser traps that have been set up.
In order to aid your riot, as you manoeuvre around the level your little mob will rip up and carry around various objects from benches, barriers, and bicycles to little market stalls, which you can then chuck at anyone or anything that stands in your way. This is probably the best way to tackle some enemies at a distance and help keep your mob together. Alternatively, you could pick up a vehicle and throw it, though you better move out of the way as these explode and can cause more harm than good.
Oh yeah, I haven’t even explained why this game is so god damn cute. Rather than having little faceless beings make up your mob, Anarcute has adorable little woodland critters and other animals play a part in this city destruction sim. From Pigeons, to Elephants, and Shiba Inu, to Karp, they’re all there and they’re each as adorable as each other. It probably doesn’t help that each one has a pair of huge adorable doughy eyeballs for you to coo over, either.
As you play through each level, you’ll come across cages which contain some of your little vigilante freedom fighters, and if you’re lucky, it’ll contain a new character to join your noble cause. Throw in an adorable Kawaii art style and you’re onto a little winner.
Naturally, as you proceed through each level, you’ll be faced with more challenging scenarios, such as gangs of patrolling Brainwash Patrol members, and even more high-tech equipment for you to overthrow – and in some cases use against the enemy. So you’ll need to think before you riot, otherwise things can go downhill fast.
Speaking of fast, Anarcute is an incredibly quick game in terms of gameplay. You’ve got to think on your feet and have fast fingers if you want to come out with your mob intact, as one wrong move can take your 15-person mob, to around 5, making it really difficult for you to proceed.
After each level you’re awarded an RPG-style score, depending on how well you perform, and depending on your rating (S is always the best) you’ll be awarded gold coins which you can use to unlock more skills for your mob. Though they’re all pretty pointless if you can’t manage to keep a mob intact for too long. You can also choose who takes part in your mob, so if you prefer, you can have an all-cat mob, or an all-fox mob. It doesn’t really do anything to the game, its just down to personal preference, which is cute.
Anarcute is incredibly addictive too, as each level offers something new and unique to discover, as well as the possibility of finding and unlocking a new character for your mob, you can’t help but play “one more game”. It’s also one for perfectionists too, as I found myself restarting the level a number of times when things didn’t quite go to plan.
The game’s overall design and presentation is damn cute too, and really well laid out. Although I’m not a huge fan of the ability to zoom in and out using the right stick (which is also used to look around the map), being able to see so much of the environment before you make your move is a plus, especially as you need to be aware of your surroundings before you dive in. What’s more, at times when there’s so much going on, the game never struggled to keep up.
Although I’d like the game to be slightly longer, there is a perfect amount of game to play, plus there’s plenty of replay value even if you have completed the game, as you can improve your score to unlock further gear for your mob. If you’ve been in the market for a truly adorable riot simulator then Anarcute is the game for you. If you’re a fan of all-out chaos and puzzle solving on the fly, I’d also recommend this game.
However, if you get increasingly frustrated at boss levels, then I’d advise you to steer clear, as the games bosses are pretty darn tough, especially because you’ve got the added difficulty of navigating an entire mob rather than a single character. Let me tell you, at times things got very frustrating.