Upon hearing of Anarcute, and discovering that it is a riot simulator, my mind was cast back to the rather good Playstation 2 release of State of Emergency. This happens to be the only similarity that these 2 game share. Whereas SoE was a more serious outlook on rioting, with spreading terror and undertaking mission in a rather dystopian future. Anarcute has gone in an altogether different direction. It is a game that has been developed by just 5 people, better known as AnarTeam, and they have given it a cute Kawaii art style. Which once you see the game, you can certainly see for yourself that Japanese culture is apparent in the influence of Anarcute. It gives it a less sinister feel, when you take into account that the premise of the game is to start a riot in each of the games locations and levels.
There are 4 locations that you will visit, Tokyo, Paris, Miami and finally Rekyjavik. Each location has multiple levels for you to cause havok and mayhem. You can pick up literally anything and use it as a weapon. This includes cars and even bigger vehicles. You see, you are not just one rioter, you control a group from the start of almost every level, and there are groups of sleeping rioters that you simply walk towards, and this will wake them up and they will join your cause, a cause of destruction. Which is a very fun-filled experience. The same level of fun you get when jumping into a ball pit as an adult. It feels like you shouldn’t be doing it, but you do it all the same. It’s not all fun and games though, as each level will have the Cops out in force to stop you from causing mayhem, and they will do anything they can to stop you. Laser beams, helicopters, snipers and more look to thwart you in each stage.
The entire environment is available to wreck, including buildings, should your flash mob be big enough, 30 will be enough, and you can deal with them pesky snipers on roof tops. You get upgrades too, and can even buy an upgrade that will make the Cops love you once they approach you. Makes it sound easy doesn’t it? But your mob will have to have numbers of 60 or more for this upgrade to take effect. However, if you lose members of your team, the upgrades will be unavailable. So it is important to keep as many alive as you make progress through the levels. Not only that, but if you want an S rank for your endeavours, then along with your time ranking, and Cops defeated, you are going to have your work cut out. Brings replayability into the fold, and adds more hours into your game time.
Visually, Anarcute isn’t the most detailed game out there in the Indie game community, but given how well the game plays, you quickly forget about that. The aforementioned Kawaii art style lends itself well to Anarcute, and gives the serious and illegal action of rioting a less deadly feel to it. The cut scenes are all without voice acting, but the humour is apparent, and will raise a smile as you watch them. Also making the rioting less hard-hitting, is that your characters are all animals, from sheep to owls, to all kinds of other bipeds which you unlock by freeing them from cages hidden away in levels. The palette of colours on offer, complement the art style, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Anarcute’s music score has been perfectly chosen for each of the games locations, and quite possibly up there as one of the best I have had the pleasure of listening too. Only Turn On could be considered better. You really do have to hear it for yourself as words would not do it justice. Sound effects are exactly what you expect given the wanton destruction at your fingertips. The cheers from all the sleeping rioters is as cute as the games visual presentation.
Game play time now. You would think that controlling up to 60 in a flash mob would give the game lag or be awkward as you search for items to pick up and launch at unsuspecting Cops, but you would be wrong. AnarTeam have got this aspect done nailed. You get zero lag, and picking up weapons is as simple as walking over them. Anything considered an explosive like bombs or vehicles, are thrown with the LT, and anything that can be thrown, will be with the RT. The camera control is near on perfect, with regard to movement, and you can zoom in or out that suits how you want to play. If you feel that you are getting swamped by the do good Cops, a simple press of the X button will allow you to dash out of harms way. The super stomp ability is also a useful move to execute if you chain enough attacks together, allowing you to daze you opponents. Or should you want to impersonate Usain Bolt, a press of the X button will give you a super dash move. The mini map highlights all of your mission targets, and white dots will represent allies currently, and strangely asleep. You are even able to show it full screen to get a better view of the situation at hand, but don’t leave it up too long, as this does not pause your game. The early levels offer enough tutorials in the way of ground placed markings, and barely slow down the game at all, giving you just the right amount of help. The levels o get progressively tougher, but not so tough, that you will struggle. As mentioned earlier, S ranks will require some effort though, as you look to at least get an S ranking for 3 of the parameters. I found getting at least 2 S and an A ranking for Time, Crowd Size and Cops downed will award you with an overall S rank. Some levels ar more challenging than others, but undoubtedly a lot of fun working to claim the elusive S rank for each level.
There are 25 achievements up for grabs with some obvious progression based, and some random requirements just for fun. No an easy completion, but a fair challenge. I have had far too much fun to worry about them on the whole. As Anarcute is just a lot of fun.
The only real down points I can say, is there is not as many levels as I would have liked, but that is not to say there is a little amount of content. Replaying levels is still fun for the S ranks, and finding a different strategy to circumnavigate areas that are densely populated by the Cops. Another option that would have given a new dimension to the game, would be Co-op, either split screen or online with friends. I feel that Anarcute could have benefitted greatly from this game mode, which is sadly absent.
To wrap up this review, would I tell you buy it? At £11.99/$14.99, I would say that you would be a fool to pass by the chance to take part in the worlds cutest riot. The game offers up a challenge that steadily gets tougher the further that you progress. The addictive nature, coupled with fluid gameplay and controls make Anarcute a pleasure to play. Levels are varied enough to stave off boredom, ranging from some night-time stealth based shenanigans with a lone rioter, to starting of with up to a crowd of 65 when you have to destroy the Eiffel Tower. Yes, that is an option. There is a really cool secret in the game, but one which I wont divulge information of, as AnarTeam wish to keep it a secret, should you be able to discover it. So, this July 12th of 2016, make sure to spend your hard-earned money, and support a talented developer with a purchase for a fun and engaging game. Rioting is actually fun, and no one will frown at you with disappointment as you and your team annihilate a building in the name of fun. I for one will be playing this for many weeks to come, in search of these S ranks, and so should you.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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