The wonderful thing about video games is that you get to play as everything and everyone. You can play as a robot, person, monster, cyborg, zombie- the list goes on. However, playing as a life-form we’re all familiar with but can’t communicate with so easily? Animals!
While we may be familiar with hits like Stray and Goat Simulator, many underappreciated titles out there do a great job putting you in the shoes (more likely, paws) of little furry creatures. Here’s a list of games where you play as different animals in various fascinating environments.
Release Year: 2021 | Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X/S
Away is an adventure where you play as a sugar glider: nifty little creatures that resemble squirrels. They can fly and glide from tree to tree as if nature was their sweet little platformer game. The game’s setting may not have a planet that inhabits humans anymore, but it is still a dangerous place for all animals, let alone our tiny little protagonist. You can also switch perspectives and experience the world from the eyes of insects, reptiles, and various other creatures.
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey
Release Year: 2019 | Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
As fascinating as the concept of evolution is, getting to experience it virtually is quite an adventure. Ancestors lets you start your arduous journey of evolution in Africa millions of years ago, during the Neogene period. This third-person survival game takes the idea of simulation up a notch. As one of the ‘firsts’ to intelligently inhabit the planet, you need to raise entire communities, tend to your clan’s needs, and help it thrive.
Endling – Extinction is Forever
Release Year: 2022 | Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Amazon Luna, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Android, iOS
Unlike the title, Endling is about braving a world that serves as a threat to your species. The challenges of locating a home in a hostile environment with frightening creatures are heartfully portrayed in this adventure.
While running from the potential threats, you must also search for a missing cub. You must hunt and provide for your family in the bleak, deadly world of the Endling. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to harness and create the idea of a home for your family.
Release Year: 2021 | Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch
Your Jaws fantasy of living a shark’s life devouring humans across your favorite water body is precisely what Maneater does for you. The deadlier you are, the more points you earn.
The game gets more interesting as you try to hunt down the very person who put you in this position in the first place. You must first hunt and eat as much as possible before teaching that ‘villain’ a lesson. Then, as your shark steadily develops, no aquatic or terrestrial species will be able to compete with you.
Release Year: 2012 | Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
After all these years, this game still looks fresh and authentic. You take on the role of a White Wolf, going through the workings of mystical and mysterious folklore that captivates your journey. Throughout the game, you make use of a Celestial Brush to make the tools you need to cross a difficult path or as a weapon. You keep learning additional techniques to attain your peak potential and permanently vanquish Orochi.
Untitled Goose Game
Release Year: 2019 | Platforms: macOS, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
You are a super rude and pesky goose- that pretty much sums up all your character ‘abilities’ in this game. As a terrifyingly annoying goose, you must honk, steal and tippy-tap your way across a little town of people who are undoubtedly pissed at you.
Try to upset the people by robbing them, attacking them, and being unpleasant. Your buddy in crime can join you to make an evil geese duet, thanks to the co-op mode. Peace, as we all know, was never a possibility.
The game has some exceptional music (inspired by Debussy) and graphics that are charmingly tough not to fall for.
Seasons After Fall
Release Year: 2016 | Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
You’re more than just an adorable fox in this beautiful two-dimensional platformer. You may change the seasons at will, thanks to a magical talent that disturbs nature’s rhythm. To restore things to their original state, you must visit the four Guardians of the Seasons and acquire their abilities.
When that happens, the present is helpful. Make spring come earlier by freezing water flowing through a lake, allowing flowers to grow to a height where you may climb them and continue exploring the area. Seasons After Fall is a beautiful game that weaves a fox’s journey with the workings of nature in its most authentic state.
Release Year: 2019 | Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
When it comes to games with pets, you’re limited to taking care of them, making sure they’re well-fed, and perhaps socializing a little with fellow pet owners. However, Lost Ember switches this narrative to one where your pets are an extension of magical and fantasy components.
The story centers around the ideas of an old society. The saintly folk enter heaven immediately after death, while sinners must travel there independently after being reincarnated as animals. You spend most of your time in the wolf’s skin, which is quick, elegant, and great for long-distance travel. However, challenging situations call for you to use specialized skills, asking you to inhabit the bodies of other animals.
Gibbon: Beyond the Trees
Release Year: 2022 | Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, iOS, macOS
When we talk about monkeys, we know how agile, intelligent, and lively they can be. Add to that a setting with gorgeously captured sounds and visuals of nature- the rains, rustling of leaves, and cracking of branches. Gibbon deftly directs a nature documentary that you live through.
Brachiation, which is swiftly swinging from branch to branch, is a skill that Gibbon perfected with its 2D platforming and gameplay. The game features engaging, dynamic gameplay while also delving into difficult subjects related to human wrongdoings and their detrimental repercussions on the environment.