There are plenty of games where you play anthropomorphic furry-bait animals, but there are also quite a few where you are just an animal.
Some of them are game-changers, some of them stink. One of them is quite literally believed to be one of the worst games ever made, and another one was a worldwide smash hit. While there are many games with kitty-cat protagonists, and quite a few the doggy-dog protagonists, I thought it would be interesting to dive into the realm of animal games.
Here we have 10 vastly different titles. Not only are they unique from each other based on the playable beast, but their tones are wildly different. Perhaps it is due to the animals portrayed, but most of them I believe are true-to-life reflections of how these animals live their lives. Yes, all of them. Let’s take a look.
I said what I said and I meant it.
Goat Simulator is a series that showcases the average everyday life of the humble goat. It is a third-person (third-goat?) action game where you are a normal goat, and you do normal things that a goat would do. While playing this game, I was completely immersed and I briefly believed that I was, in fact, a goat. My close friends and family were worried for me as I began to consume my favourite pair of jeans, but they simply didn’t understand the immersion that an animal game like this can provide.
Maneater is an action role-playing game where you play a female bullshark starving for revenge on a fisherman that killed your mother and made you look all fucked up. A tale of survival, a tale of revenge, a tale of retribution. As somebody that has never been a shark before, I can only assume that this is exactly what it feels like to be a shark. Y’know what though? I get it, man. If a fisherman fucked my shit up and killed my mother, I would also eat him. Relatable!
It chills me to my core to think about the gorilla grip this game had on me as a child.
Dog’s Life, otherwise known as Grand Theft Auto for dogs, is an action adventure game where you play a gassy dog on a mission to save his crush, who is also a dog. You run around, dig holes, take steamy dumps, do tricks with other dogs, and fetch things for humans. It was clearly meant for children with its ongoing toilet humour, but I consider it to be a masterpiece in video game creation. No other game has achieved the reality of being a dog like Dog’s Life, because dogs really do be farting.
Untitled Goose Game
While humorous to some, I definitely consider Untitled Goose Game to be an accurate depiction of how geese are in reality. Untitled Goose Game puts you in the feathers of a very problematic goose. Not like saying slurs online problematic, but more so causing problems for fun problematic. I don’t know if geese can say slurs, but it’s possible that they would if they could. Every goose I’ve happened upon in real life wants to bring chaos and misery upon me. They have nothing but hatred in their hearts for fleshy dumbarses like myself.
Ecco the Dolphin
Ecco the Dolphin is a series of games where you play a dolphin. Very normal stuff. You also have to fight aliens as a dolphin, which is also normal. Considering that dolphins are one of the smartest animals in the world, I find it entirely believable that dolphins would be the first beings to swim into battle and fight extraterrestrial beings. There’s nothing quite like swimming as a dolphin, especially in Defender of the Future which really gave my life porpoise.
Life of Black Tiger
Haters will say that it’s fake, but Life of Black Tiger really is what it is. You are a black tiger and you are living your darn life! If I thought about what a black tiger does, I would agree that it would ‘hunt goats’, and I would go even further to say that they would ‘eat them’! Life of Black Tiger is considered one of the worst games ever made. While that may be true, you simply can’t deny (or maybe you can, whatever) that the life of a black tiger, and the lives of many animals, really is hunting goats and eating them.
Spirit of the North
Spirit of the North is an adventure game where you play a fox that has gained the power of a spirit. While it did receive mixed reviews for its beautiful design but lackluster gameplay, I consider it to be a realistic approach to being a fox due to the fact that there is no dialogue, as foxes cannot talk. Most animals, surprisingly enough, cannot talk! If foxes could talk, I’m not sure what they’d say. It is true that Fox McCloud is a fox, I find that he is not a realistic representation of a fox as he says words like me, a human, would. And that’s just crazy!
Is this not how crabs live? All my crab knowledge is knowledge that I have received from Fight Crab. It’s a 3D physics-power action game where you are a giant crab that has to fight other giant crabs using a variety of different weapons. I saw a picture of a crab once holding a cigarette, and I have also seen one of a crab holding a gun. I’m sure at least one of these pictures was real, but believe me when I say that this is simply what crab life is like.
I know Stray isn’t out yet, but it’s coming out very soon and we’ve seen quite a bit of gameplay, so I thought I should add it to the list.
The fact that you are genuinely just a little cat that wears a backpack tells me all I need to know about this game: this is a regular game where you play a regular cat. Visually, it’s one of the cat-est cats I’ve ever seen. The game’s description says that you, the cat, must be “stealthy, nimble, silly, and sometimes as annoying as possible” to get around in this world. Those are all words that I would use to describe the average cat, making this a very accurate cat simulator. Notable mention here is Little Kitty Big City.
If I’m writing a post like this, it would frankly be irresponsible to not include Tokyo Jungle. You play so many different animals in this game, and every one is an accurate representation of how that animal is in real life. Tokyo Jungle is the pinnacle of realism in animal simulator games. You may disagree with me, but this is peak animal performance. Considering this game is only playable via streaming on PlayStation Now (not available in Australia), I’m speaking directly to Sony here:
Put Tokyo Jungle in the PlayStation Plus Classics Collection!
I’m almost certain there’s a game or two I’ve missed here, so now I’m throwing it to you. What is your favourite normal animal protagonist game? Or to go even further, what is a game that you think accurately depicts the actions and demeanour of the animal you play as? Let us know!