Unlike many of the simulation games we review here at Xbox Oldies, Filthy Animals isn’t about accurately representing the chosen activity, instead it’s a far-fetched, loose controlled party game for up to 4 players, where you will take control of 1 of 4 mutated animals as you attempt to steal bags of loot for your mutator and boss, Tony.
Following on from the success of titles like Gang beasts and to an extent Fall Guys, we’ve seen a number of games using “loose controls” to throw mayhem into the mix, clumsy movement, awkward actions and accidental activities might not sound like the most enjoyable game, but often when it’s done correctly it’s a chaotic masterpiece where the chaos of not having perfect control of your character perfectly adds to the enjoyment.
Roll up Filthy Animals…
You start of being greeted by Tony, who recovers unwanted pets and animals who have been discarded by their owner, while it might sound a good thing to do, Tony decides mutating these animals to create a small army of criminal lemmings the perfect way to get rich.
Apposable thumbs, the ability to walk on two legs and an obvious understanding of English and whether you take control of the Chicken, Croc, Monkey or Moose, you’ll soon be smashing your way through heists for Tony to get rich quick.
The most notable reference at this point is the aforementioned Gang Beasts, as newly mutated 6ft animals, you won’t be the most stable thing on two legs, so your characters understandably wobbly, and those new thumbs you’ve got aren’t the best at holding onto things.
Controls see you shuffling around with your left stick and then using your right stick to bend down or reach up, with the bumper buttons grabbing items and the triggers eating food off the floor or throwing a held item.
These controls certainly could have been a little better thought out but they equally add to the enjoyment and frustration as you progress through the game tackling a selection of heists, starting with a supermarket and bank and moving on to more peculiar options later on.
There are 21 levels spread across 8 chapters, but the targets remain the same, get in, complete at least three of the objectives and then get out again.
Filthy Animals can be played from 1-4 players, both on and offline, so there’s definite brownie points for including online play, because so many of these “Couch co-op” party games, insist on keeping them solely on one couch and not a few spreads across the globe.
another benefit of Filthy Animals is, there’s a decent amount of unlocks, from new perks to aid your heisting adventures to new skins and variations for each character, there’s enough reason to play a heist more than once, It’s also ultimately a fun game, but there’s a few things holding it back from being one of the great party games of the generation.
As mentioned before, Gang Beasts was every bit as chaotic, and these “loose controls” worked wonders in giving a fun and enjoyable experience. Filthy Animals feels very familiar, but there’s just something missing a level of polish that means you often feel cheated by the controls, it’s not just a case of not having perfect control over where you’re going to throw that unconscious security guard, it’s the fact that in try to pick them up, you’ve probably had to collect and discard a chair, table, vase, metal grate, a gun and a key before finally grabbing what you want.
When you start meeting guards who are more than happy to aim a shotgun in your direction there’s a level of urgency and when the controls are this loose, it often feels like pure luck whether or not you’ll get away or get shot to pieces.
Thankfully you do get decent energy bars which can be refilled by munching on the many tacos’ lying around, and even upon death you can roll to the nearest toilet to respawn up to 3 times, but ultimately, it’s the often-unfathomable controls which really start to hold back Filthy Animals and frustrate the user.
Thankfully this is masked somewhat if you’ve got 3 or 4 friends playing with you as watching random items getting thrown around is always enjoyable, but if you’re playing alone, while the game is perfectly playable, it drops from being filthy fun to deeply disappointing.
Another criticism is the AI, it’s every bit as random as the controls, and at times I was smashing a fridge door against a customer’s face, right next to a security guard who didn’t budge an inch, while simply brushing against a table would bring guards running only minutes prior.
It’s also somewhat dumb, on the second mission, there’s a time sensitive section where you basically have to survive for two minutes with about 6-8 guards hunting you down, unfortunately it was as simple as walking to the right, then rushing over to run up the stairs on the left, and I was left to wait for the end for over a minute, as the dumb AI would simply walk into the wall, rather than take a few steps over towards the staircase.
Graphically it’s about on par with what you’d expect, items, enemies, and the loot you’ll need to collect are all clearly marked and the map design always offers various routes, with a decent level of detail. It’s far from next-generation and will no doubt look more at home on the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One rather than the Xbox Series X and X.
Audio isn’t quite as appealing with a repetitive soundtrack and soundbites that you’ll likely hear many times over the course of a level, it falls in line with the party atmosphere, for a quick sharp balst that you’ll enjoy for half an hour, but beyond that, just like the control scheme, things will start to feel a little more amateur thief rather than criminal mastermind
Overall, Filthy Animals: Heist Simulator isn’t a bad game, especially if you’re planning on playing with a few friends, at $20 (around £16) it’s pretty good value too, but I would have loved to see just a little more care and attention to make sure the controls and AI where more of a controllable chaos, rather than random luck.
Filthy Animals: Heist Simulator
Filthy Animals: Heist Simulator isn’t a bad game, especially if you’re planning on playing with a few friends