Animal Force

Animal Force is a unique and fun take on a tower defense game where the utilization of small animals can be used to save the human race.  With 4 different game modes (single player campaign and 3 other local multiplayer modes) and challenging game play, Animal Force can provide a unique experience on the PSVR.  

Quick Facts
Genre: Tower Defense
Price: $15.99
Length: 4+hours
Controller: 1 Move Controller
PlayPSVR Score: 5.5

I admittedly have a love/hate relationship with tower defense games.  On one hand I love the strategy, the innumerable combinations, replayability and simply setting my defenders and sitting back and watching as they clear out hoards of enemies.  It is so appealing and fun.  However, there is a wall.  Once too difficult, these games become brutal and lose all value.  They can be aggravating, anger inducing and infuriating.  Animal Force is no exception to this rule and really blurs the line between maddening and enjoyable. 

Rather than defending a home base, like most tower defense games, you are providing safety for the humans of Earth.  As you travel to different areas on the globe, aliens decend from warp zones in an effort to reach the planet and whisk the humans into their spaceship.  It is your job to destroy them before this happens.  To do so, you have a host of adorable little animals ranging from panda bears, chickens, rhinos, parrots, cats, etc each with their own abilities.  Use you characters to defeat all enemies while saving all the humans.  Simple as that. 

I love the premise of the idea, because Animal Force is doing something new with tower defense games.  They didn't stick to traditional styles and for that I think they need to be lauded.  Instead of placing your characters and not being able to move them again, you are capable of placing them again or actually keep them constantly moving by grabbing them with your controller (which is a rocket ship).  This helps because technically if your characters are constantly moving the enemies can't hit them unless you mess up.  But there are flaws with this which I will get into later. 

There is a single player mode with 28 levels across 6 different worlds.  Each world consists of several normal levels and then a boss.  Then the other 3 modes use actual physical people to be with you to play.  It is like 2v1, 3v1 and some people use the TV and battle against the person with the headset on.  I like this idea, but I question the local player requirement.  If I bring people over I'm sorry, I'm not showing them Animal Force first and foremost.  Maybe if they have already played PSVR, but my go to games are like RE7, Superhot, Wipeout, etc.  Something that really showcases the PSVR.  So I think an online multiplayer mode here would be really really beneficial.  I don't even know many people who consistently have people over to play PSVR.  So these other 3 modes seem unnecessary and maybe like a waste of resources.  

My favorite thing about the game is that you get to use and manipulate little animals.  This is adorable and makes the game so much fun.  Each time you level an animal up, it changes appearances slightly by adding an accessory or changing it's facial expression.  See these little guys go ham on aliens is way more fun to watch and more satisfying then just random turrets and tanks like most tower defense games.  It made the game hard to put down because it was so enjoyable. 

I like the depth they put into each level too.  For example, when replaying a level, the enemies will spawn in different areas, so this increases replayability and also can make it a little easier if you are struggling with a level.  I also like how you can move your characters around at will.  This is a very nice touch and overall honestly, I am very impressed with how they put their own spin on a tower defense game.  It is a novel concept and as a gamer I appreciate it when someone thinks outside the box like this.  

However, it isn't just daisies and daffodils for this game.  It also is very frustrating because of one main thing, but then you add other inconveniences on top of it and it makes it almost unplayable.  My first grip is that on some levels this black hole just randomly shows up and eats all your guys.  It is almost instantaneous, you don't have time to move them and in the later levels you need essentially all of them to survive.  You may ask "why not just move your characters away from it the second time you play the level?".  Well everything changes every time you play a level again, like I said about the enemies last time.  So one time it may be on the left side, the next time in the bottom right, then next time in the center.  No where is safe and it happens so quickly you can't react fast enough before your guys are killed. 

I know, you are are probably like "one little issue, who cares?".  Well it's a huge freaking issue.  This is the stupidest game design component I have seen in a long long time.  The black hole covers like 60% of the friggin screen.  LIterally every time, 80% of your characters are gone.  It's insane.  Then you add the fact they assume that you won't die there so in general the entire game is way too hard.  I made it to the third world boss and I refuse to play anymore.  It's way too unfair and difficult and not in the good way.  Seriously, I am beside myself because I liked the game, but 30 min of playing the same level, leveling my characters up and then they use cheap things to kill you.  It's ridiculous.  I could go on and on but won't, it's unnecessary.  I have 100% confidence I will never boot this game up again because it is so unreasonable.  Make your freaking games playable and don't rely on black holes that cover 50% of your screen, using explosives and shoving as many enemies into a small area to make your game difficult.  OR HAVE A DIFFICULTY SETTING LIKE EVERY OTHER FREAKING GAME!

At $15.99 I think Animal Force is maybe slightly overpriced.  If you don't have the capability to use the 3 modes that require local players to play with you, then it definitely is overpriced.  Otherwise, I think it is reasonable, but I would have liked to see a $11.99 price tag on it.  If you like tower defense games and this interests you, I wouldn't let the price tag stop you though. 

At this time to my knowledge the only 360 degree tower defense games are Korix and Animal Force.  Korix has different difficulties, customized maps, online multiplayer mode, a cool soundtrack and a more typical tower defense experience.  Animal Force presents a more playful view on tower defense, has better and more unique experiences/characters, modes to play with friends, is actually more fun (when you are playing a level that is actually fair). You should be able to pick between the two with that synopsis if interested in a game like this.  For me personally, I have to go with Korix.  Just because although Animal Force is more fun to play, it is way too difficult and makes the experience absolutely miserable. 

Animal Force adds a fun spin to a typical tower defense game but has its flaws, mainly the difficulty and no multiplayer mode.  If you are a fan of tower defense games, or interested in a more upbeat and pleasant experience of one, Animal Force is the way to go.  Although it doesn't pack a punch like other VR titles, it still can offer plenty for a unique and fun experience worth your time and money. 

PlayPSVR Score: 5.5