A good physics-based battle simulator serves one purpose: to recreate that feeling of being a kid tipping a toybox upside-down, taking a bunch of random toys—say, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, an army of Boglins and Arnold Schwarzenegger from Last Action Hero—and smashing them against each other while making spittle-filled laser noises with your mouth.
Now, Animal Revolt Battle Simulator may not feature Arnie, but it does have laser-firing dinosaurs, world-eating serpents, Ancient Greek heroes and an infinite supply of player-created beasties. The irreverent battle simulator was in Early Access for nearly two years, and since its Steam launch a few days ago it’s sitting at an ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ rating from nearly 3000 reviews.
The 1.0 version of the game added various combatants like Achilles, a Megalodon shark (which can swim through the air, of course), and the Carcharodontosaurus—a T-Rex-like that’s presumably less famous because of its tongue-twister name. There’s also now a ‘Fort’ section in the editor that compiles all the building blocks needed to build solid fortifications.
Now, to manage expectations, this is a game that thrives on its jankiness. It’s a simmering jank stew of shonky animations, simple assets, and physics that send everything from an Ogre to a winged Hussar flailing weightlessly as soon as they’re killed. Everything in the game looks over-saturated in that almost psychedelic way that I’m pretty sure is how I saw the world as a child (which may well be a stroke of genius on the creators’ part).
Beyond building fortifications for your mish-mash armies to fight over, the game also has a unit creator mode, which lets you create multi-hippo-headed Hydras or finally fix the T-Rex’s one weakness by giving it helicopter propeller arms. Bizarrely, there’s also an FPS mode which looks kind of awful, yet is somehow in keeping with the overall tone of this oddity that everyone seems to love.
Animal Revolt Battle Simulator is out now on Steam for £10/$15.