The fumes of the Bronze Age have tainted the world. Beneath the blight lies not only corrupted soil, but husks – those of sacred beasts. Set to lift their curse, Thistle is ready to face the industrial landscape and the fiends that now inhabit it to free the Animal Gods.

Animal Gods Starry Night

Animal Gods is a 2D action/adventure game with JRPG elements. It draws most of its inspiration from (and allegedly acts as homage of) The Legend of Zelda, with the mystical motif and a story that’s as touching as it is silent. It also borrows elements like the top-down action and some of the heroine’s skills (like charging a spin attack with her sword).

Zelda-like battle system

 

Set in the European Bronze Age, you are to help Thistle, an agile warrior whose faith in the fallen gods – and their power to restore earth to its once beautiful, natural form – drives her in a quest to search for them and break their cursed seals. With only her bronze sword and arrows, she will seek (and kill) the corrupted beasts that embody the world’s decadence.

A giant, dark figure on mist

 

What strikes the most about the game is the visual style. It’s, well, extremely stylized, with its borderless figures and predominance of geometric shapes. The cleanness and simplicity of the drawings resemble those of works like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and even Gendy Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack, but with a lot more corners and square lines – probably because Animal Gods isn’t going for an oriental feel.

 

Animal Gods' Bugs

Animal Gods’ Bugs

Samurai Jack's bugs

Samurai Jack’s bugs

 

The pallets get switched all the time, but even in dark places you can still see vibrant colors in details like water and the glyphs that flood the tombs of the fallen gods.

Water falls inside a temple

 

Not much has been revealed of the musical score, but so far Animal Gods has its good deal of “tribal” music, with lots of percussion, flute and religious-sounding chants.

 

The campaign itself is interesting. A lot of the space on it is used talk about the Still Games composition and inspiration for the game. While the focus on team members isn’t unusual for Kickstarter campaigns, it does tell us more about the team than the game itself.

Thistle, our heroine

Our heroine gets less text-time than any of its creators.

 

On the other hand, they do emphasize the polishing aspect a lot and how they hope to “bring the charm, grandeur and engaging gameplay of the greatest 90’s classics into the 21st century”. So taking the teams presentation as an opportunity for storytelling could actually be a good sign.

Giant paper scroll on a desk

Storyboarding on actual paper scrolls sounds like a sweet way to set the mood for epic storytelling, though.

 

In the end there isn’t too much going on in Animal Gods (it’s all pretty pretty, but also pretty short), so keeping details at minimum can be beneficial for the game’s mystique.

The game was already funded some months ago and was just greenlit for Steam. That puts it up for WiiU, PC, Mac and Linux (the campaign fell short of the PS4 port goal). To be released in Fall of 2016, Animal Gods promises to revive the best of 90’s games while telling us a beautiful story in all aspects.

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