Party Animals Review
One of the greatest strengths of the Xbox Game Pass is that it has something to offer for every player. While games may change over time, Xbox Game Pa...
One of the greatest strengths of the Xbox Game Pass is that it has something to offer for every player. While games may change over time, Xbox Game Pass subscribers have access to their choice of racing games, first-person shooters, action-adventure titles, puzzle games, and more at any given time. The Xbox Game Pass also provides a good selection of party games, with the latest addition being Party Animals by Recreate Games and Source Technology. It is a new Xbox Game Pass game from day one, with the potential to become a favorite for subscribers seeking enjoyable multiplayer fun without much complexity.
The easiest way to describe Party Animals is that it's essentially Gang Beasts with a higher budget. It offers nearly identical physics-based brawling mechanics as its predecessor but with a larger scope. The graphics are much better, the cosmetics are more elaborate, and there are many more ways to play the game. While it's true that there are three major game modes available at launch, the maps and match types within those modes offer a significant variety.
The core game mode in Party Animals is called Last Stand and features brawls in the style of Gang Beasts. The objective is to eliminate players from the combat area by any means necessary. Players can throw punches, headbutt, and even execute dropkicks against their opponents. Occasionally, weapons are also available, and many stages have unique features to ensure that the fights don't drag on for too long. For example, the map Ichiban has a toxic gas cloud slowly advancing toward the participants, while the Winter is Coming map is scattered with campfires that gradually extinguish, exposing players to the elements and putting them at risk of becoming ice blocks.
As players compete in the Last Stand mode of Party Animals across its nine stunning maps, they will quickly come to appreciate the well-functioning controls compared to other games in the genre. Of course, it is still not perfect. After all, part of the "charm" of these games is intentionally having slightly imprecise controls. However, it is easier to accomplish intended actions in Party Animals than in some of its predecessors. With some practice, players should be able to execute desired actions almost effortlessly.
The fun in Last Stand mode in Party Animals largely depends on the players involved. The wobbly combat system doesn't offer much depth and can quickly become repetitive. However, with friends, there are plenty of laughs to be had. Party Animals allows up to eight players to compete against each other in Last Stand mode, with support for up to four players on a single console. In custom games, players can fill lobbies with AI opponents, giving them the opportunity to easily set up fully populated matches with their friends. Players can still earn XP and unlocks by participating in custom games, which is a great feature and ensures that players make progress even when not playing online.
The local multiplayer options in Party Animals are commendable but fall short in certain aspects. There doesn't seem to be a way to create a proper playlist of Last Stand maps for custom games. Instead, players have to play on the same map three times in a row before moving on to the next one. This can make some matches monotonous and also prevents the game from fully utilizing its diverse and detailed maps. Rather than transitioning from an exhilarating jet aircraft map in round 1 to a nuclear submarine map in round 2, players have to fight on the jet three times and then on the submarine three times, and so on. This causes the maps to wear out faster than they otherwise would and lose their appeal more quickly.
When Party Animals players have had enough of Last Stand, they can try out the 9 mini-games in Team Score mode. These range from a mini-game where players race trains to a simplified version of soccer. They can sometimes be a bit long since they lack the match-ending features of Last Stand, but the variety is appreciated. And just like in Last Stand, everything in Team Score looks fantastic and is beautifully polished.
The third and weakest mode offered by Party Animals is the Arcade mode, which currently includes a Fight Club match type that is essentially Last Stand with multiple lives and larger levels. One of them takes place in a two-story winter cabin, another in a subway station. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the Arcade mode, but it doesn't offer nearly as much content as the other two modes and doesn't differentiate itself enough from the combat gameplay of Last Stand.
While playing in the various game modes of Party Animals, players earn XP that allows them to level up and unlock new rewards. In this aspect, Party Animals is far ahead of the competition. The skins in Party Animals look fantastic, with highlights such as a bat designed by the community and golden variants of some animals in the roster. Not only are there many animals to choose from, but the animals themselves have specific skins, allowing players to unlock new looks for their favorites. As players level up in Party Animals, they also earn in-game currency, including coins that can be deposited into a gacha machine to essentially obtain loot boxes with even more cosmetic items.
At first glance, there doesn't seem to be anything significant about the monetization of Party Animals, but this is a part of the game that can only be properly tested after its release. It appears that a large portion of the cosmetics in Party Animals can be earned in-game, but it's easy to see how microtransactions could potentially get out of control. If Party Animals were a free-to-play game, this wouldn't be as important. The price of $19.99 makes it more easily digestible, but those who dislike paid games with a free-to-play economy system may still not be convinced.
People who enjoy Gang Beasts and other physics-based multiplayer games will have a lot of fun with Party Animals, as it easily stands as the most polished and comprehensive game of its kind. However, it's unlikely to convince new players, and it remains to be seen how the monetization will develop. The game's affordable price and availability on Xbox Game Pass make it an easy recommendation for those looking for a new mindless multiplayer game for their group, but one should not expect groundbreaking innovations.
Party Animals is a physics-based multiplayer brawler game developed by Recreate Games and Source Technology, where players compete against each other in various stages and game modes.
Party Animals will be released on September 20th for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Game Rant was provided with a PC code for this review.