You don't often see games with rioting as a central gameplay mechanic. Anarcute puts you in control of a horde of cute furry fellows who seek justice no matter how dire the circumstances. But, is this a game worth fighting for?
Playing Anarcute often made me think of Katamari Damacy and Pikmin. You play by controlling a mob of protesters who use their surroundings to fight the oppressive police forces. By the end of the adventure, you'll be blown away by how multifaceted the gameplay is. You start by simply running around, gathering pals to join your mob, and throwing found objects but many elements get added to the mix as you progress. You'll find yourself toppling buildings over, protecting vehicles from attack, setting up automated defenses to trap your enemies, using a variety of unique weapons, and battling a handful of extremely tough bosses. Sometimes, you'll feel like you're playing a tower defense game while other times it boils down to an all-out brawler. No matter what happens, it's easy to enjoy every moment of civil disobedience. Overall, it adds up to one addictive adventure that you won't soon forget.
Anarcute is as adorable as its name suggests. Each environment is bursting with colour and life (which is probably what reminded me of Katamari Damacy) while characters are bite-sized and charmingly animated. Even stages that take place during the night look vibrant. The music is absolutely phenomenal with cheerful vibes and awesome synthesizer-heavy tunes. No matter what's playing, you'll likely find yourself tapping your toes while the chaos unfolds. Sound effects add a ton of satisfaction with loud explosions contrasting with high-pitched squeals and cheers from your gang of animal pals. In the end, Anarcute is masterfully presented in every way.
As you play through stages, you'll discover new animal species that join your crew from then on. You'll meet many different kinds such as cats, pigeons, narwhals, horses, seals, raccoons, and even snakes. You can also unlock additional costumes if you're good enough to ace the missions. Speaking of which, each stage grants you a grade so replaying them to discover new pals and get better grades is a lot of fun. Considering there are four areas (Tokyo, Paris, Miami, and Reykjavik), you're looking at one lengthy adventure. Who knows, maybe you'll even come across an extra area... Anyway, you can also spend coins at a vending machine that rewards you with boosts such as increasing your speed or explosion radius. There are so many things to do that you'll play for hours while still having a fun time.
Although it's a great game, Anarcute does have some problems. First, whenever you're controlling a few dozen rioters at once, things can get a bit too tricky. For example, some chums may get stuck behind objects while others might fall behind and trigger traps that end their cute little existence. It's not this frustrating all of the time, but it'll definitely get on your nerves once in a while. Don't even get me started on the ice areas... Moving on, the campaign has a few difficulty spikes that take a lot of patience to overcome. One stage features a DJ concert that all of the police are attending and you have to take all of them out. That stage (along with a couple boss fights) took me more attempts than I'm willing to admit yet the rest of the game provides a satisfying level of challenge. Finally, there are no extra modes or leaderboards as all you get is the main campaign. For a game this innovative, that's a huge missed opportunity.
With a fantastic blend of gameplay mechanics that'll keep anyone hooked, I can enthusiastically say that Anarcute is one of the best surprises I've played so far this year. So, join your furry friends and let the riot begin!
- + Awesome mixture of gameplay elements that adds up to one addictive adventure
- + Incredible audio and vibrant visuals
- + Collectibles and grades add replay value
- - Controlling a large horde of cuties can be quite cumbersome and unintuitive
- - Some difficulty spikes are frustrating
- - Could use leaderboards and more modes