A large-scale riot is not generally something people would attribute to being cute, adorable and full of caricature animals. But guess what folks? Anarcute has transformed a commonly terrifying experience into a lovable jaunt across the world where leading a riot to stop corporate brainwashing is the name of the game (cute anarchy).
From the moment you boot up Anarcute, you’re presented with a vivid, cartoony, and bubbly introduction to creating your very own little riot group. You see, evil corporations have taken control of the media and found ways to brainwash the caring police of this world and now it’s time for you, as the player, to start a revolution and take back each of the four cities you’ll play in and face the ever increasing challenges and opposing forces that await you.
As you start to play the game, you’ll find the tutorial here is highly accessible, since much of it is engrained into the physical space of the starting levels. Learning to gather followers, basic punch attacks, and even the more advanced building topple maneuvers, that are so obviously a staple in a great riot, are introduced in the first few levels of the Tokyo city environment. It’s one of the smoother onboardings I’ve had with a game recently and it’s a surefire bet that most won’t have trouble learning any of the game’s already fairly simple mechanics.
As the player, you’ll control a group of critters ranging from squids to racoons, and so many more. While they adorn the same generic body, it’s their head types that give them character. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to expand your creature collection too as the primary unlockable are these cosmetics as well as fellow creatures that are locked away in many of the levels awaiting your prompt rescue to become part of your growing movement. By gathering followers in any given mission you’ll see a bar on the left increase as the size of your riot group grows. Once reached, certain milestones will unlock new powers for the riot group to utilize. These range from more subtle abilities like increased movement speed to more lethal ones allowing you to knock over entire buildings on brainwashed foes. Throughout the game, you can also customize your load out with new abilities via a vending machine on the main menu.
Every mission you engage in is rated in three categories based on how well you performed and you’ll be ranked at the end if you succeed. Earning an S ranking is considered the best, but to do so requires players to treat a mission more as a puzzle versus just going in and brute forcing their way to completing the level. This for me was where replayability shined as I quickly found myself trying different paths through the city, developing new strategies and trying anything I could do to maximize my riot size without losing too many friends along the way to traps and the baddies.
For fans of Katamari Damacy, there’s a lot of the same draw here. Your frenzy of rioters all become a cluster as you move about, and you’ll be able to pick up various items just by moving over them to use as a projectile weapon, thus creating a very similar physics-based blob of things you’re in control of. Certainly, even more so, the low poly, vibrant color artistic style and k-popish soundtrack further reinforce a game that could certainly fall in a similar universe. While not quite as quirky, this game still delivers just as much of a goofy fun time.
Progression through the game does present a fair challenge and isn’t too difficult. It’s fairly easy to just bull rush your way through many of the levels, but the real challenge and entertainment is trying to maximize your ranking. If you can achieve the top S ranking for all levels in one city you’ll unlock an exclusive costume to wear!
Anarcute sets out to create a whimsical rioting gameplay experience, and for me it felt cohesive, fun, and offered the right balance of challenge without ever becoming too frustrating. This title somehow made rioting against corporations totally adorbs and fun to play. If only real riots were like that…
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 8/108/10
- Gameplay - 8/108/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7.5/107.5/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Anarcute brings a whimsical, colorful and (dare I say?) joyful experience to the act of rioting. With a Katamari-esque feel to collecting fellow rioters and grabbing environmental items to throw around, it’s a blast to cause mayhem and take down the corporations brainwashing folks. Accessible gameplay and challenging missions kept me coming back for more, although the game could have used more satisfying unlockable elements.
Alex has been actively gaming since the release of the Nintendo. Turning passion into profession, he’s spent just over a decade in game development, and is currently the Creative Director at a studio.