NS Review – Animal Fight Club (Switch)

Ever wanted to put a penguin’s head on a dragon’s body? Well now here’s your chance with Animal Fight Club, a kooky simple team based arena fighter.

My pteriniffe is about to kill a dragelk.

Okay calling it an arena fighter is a tad generous, it’s more a messy bonanza of derpy malformed animals head butting each other. So bad it’s good has never been more true than with Animal Fight Club, everything about the game is awful but in the most endearing, quirky and fun way. The gameplay is clunky and slow, the menu system is the worst I’ve ever experienced, the graphics are nothing to write home about, sound effects are repetitive but I had an absolute blast with some laugh out loud moments, playing through over half of the 30 campaign missions in my first sitting, including a lot of grinding. 

What even is…?

Animal Fight Club has a story but it’s bare bones and easily forgotten completely the main draw is mixing two animals to make a weird new creature. Everytime you combine two normal animals your new Frankenstein creation will have the head of one and the body of the other creating some truly bizarre and hilarious creatures, my favourite being my hummingyote, the body of a hummingbird and head of coyote as I could speedily fly along and dodge attacks then headbutt with my coyote head. Other joys include velocirapguins, dragon ants, snake crabs and more. There are 30 animals to mix and match including a few dinosaurs for added fun, along with 5 DLC animals potentially coming to Switch? The idea is to create an army weighing no more than 500kg to take on other armies of animals. You buy animals using SP through offer of the day which has five animals to choose from or pay only 5SP to get a random animal. You then want to combine some animals to power them up and importantly make them look silly.

And my mystery box is….. A horse.

Once your army is assembled you’re read to go into battle. You can select a formation for your army though it makes little difference after 30 seconds. You control one of your beasts at a time while the rest are CPU controlled, handily you can switch between them as each animal has an element type of either fire, water, earth or wind as well different attack effectiveness for each type. Battle is simple, you run around and headbutt by pressing A, your headbutt has to recharge then you headbutt again until your opposing team has all been annihilated. You can also dodge with L and R which becomes very important after a few missions. 

Ouch! I think.

It’s a shame but there’s only two modes, single player which consists of 30 campaign missions and random match. Random match is the best way to grind for SP (for buying and mixing animals) as you earn far more SP than repeating missions. Then there’s sandbox which seems to be ported from the Steam version but is lacking features on Switch. Sandbox allows you to create your own levels creating enemy armies, picking the background and the music. The game tells you how much SP you earn from your created level, however if you play it, you earn 0SP. This is because sandbox was designed for users to upload their levels for other to play, a feature missing from the Switch version with the User for your designed levels being stuck on Get_Username. Sandbox is still a fun way to see what various combinations of animals look like.

Just beautiful.

The menus are extremely difficult to navigate, I accidentally sold animals twice in a row when I first started. To add to the confusion sometimes when options are highlighted they’re yellow and sometimes they’re white. The animal mixing menu is so buggy it’s hard to select add to inventory after fusing two animals and one time the menu disappeared leaving me randomly pressing buttons till I either sold or added my new creation to inventory. I did find later that the menus work very well with the touch screen.

Well that couldn’t be closer.

There’s lots of helpful information displayed during your battle such as what types your animal is effective against which pops up when you switch animal, what element your opponent is and what it is. However most of it is too small to actually see and with the developer toting 1000 crazy crossbred animals I really wanted to see exactly what they were. Even looking at your animals stats is difficult as you can barely see how much health they have or importantly their weight. I’ve never played a game in such desperate need of a larger font for text, although in handheld mode you can read some of the in fight text if you concentrate.

There’s the names of the animals above their heads but good luck reading them.

Everything about Animal Fight Club looks like a cheap mobile game but when the game is only £4 I’m happy to forgive that especially as I was having too much so bad it’s good fun to care about the graphics. I could still see the dragon headed animals breath their fire, get booted away as they die and then I could gleefully push around their dead ragdoll body as the wonky physics makes them bounce around all over the place. 

My eyes can’t take the sheer magnificence of these animals.

I actually quite liked the rock guitar soundtrack that quietly plays as you headbutt your way to glory with sounds of horse head neighing, birds squawking, foxes howling and the like as headbutting mayhem ensues. 

The Steam version has an Australian export DLC which isn’t included or available to purchase at time of release even though Australian animals to appear in the offers of the day to buy animals and are actually selectable as enemies in sandbox mode. However the developer has said that they are hoping to release it on Switch after summer along with some changes to the base game including looking at the menu system. 

All in all Animal Fight Club is objectively an awful game but who likes objective views? It’s quirky, mad, silly fun and if the animals had a unique attack along with the headbutt, the gameplay was a wee bit faster and the menus easier to navigate I’d consider it a masterpiece. Despite all Animal Fight Club’s downfalls I found making bizarre creatures more addictive than morphine so much so that I genuinely hope there will be a sequel one day and writing this review has made me want to go play more. Cheerio I’m off to headbutt a phoenraptor with a crasnake.

Animal Fight Club is available digitally on Nintendo Switch eShop for £3.99/€3.99 and will be available soon in the Americas. Thank you to Corvostudio for providing the review code.

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