Whether it’s Animal Crossing, Pokemon, or Zoo Tycoon animals have a special place in video games and the hearts of many gaming fans. Animals offer a sense of comfort for a lot of people, so there is no surprise when games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons sell over 13 million copies.
There are as many variations of animal-themed games, as there are animals on the planet, so game enthusiasts have almost limitless options. Simulations, survival, role-play, and platforming games are just a few categories where animal lovers can find their next favorite game. However, developers are constantly seeking ways to expand on the genre. As conventions like Gamescom and PAX shift to online productions, there are plenty of newly released and upcoming games for every type of animal lover in the works.
10 AWAY: The Survival Series – Early 2021
Inspired by nature documentaries, AWAY: The Survival Series is a 3rd-person adventure game where players take on the role of a sugar glider. Players will have to sneak past predators, hunt down prey, and glide among the trees. Players will travel further into the wild to save the sugar glider’s family. Developed by Breaking Walls, the single-player game will have 20+ interactable animals and insects. In addition to taking on the role of a sugar glider, there are short sequences throughout the game that allow players to play as some of the other animals and insects; such as beetles, lizards, foxes, crabs, and more. The game will also feature an orchestral soundtrack composed by award-winning composer Mike Raznick: Raznick has previously worked on BBC’s Life and Planet Earth II. A narrator will also describe the sugar glider’s journey.
AWAY: The Survival Series will release in early 2021 on PC and PS4.
9 Best Friend Forever – August 27th, 2020
Developed by Starcolt, Best Friend Forever is the first simulation game to combine pet care and dating. Players arrive in Rainbow Bay and can adopt a cuddly companion and meet the diverse group of singles. Best Friend Forever also allows players to be who they want to be and date who they want to date.
In addition to being animal lover friendly, the game offers plenty of LGBTQ+ representation from player character creation to the cast of love interests, rather than having a stat-raising mechanic for the human characters, the stat-focus is on the friendship players develop with their dog along the way.
Best Friend Forever is currently available on the Nintendo Switch, Steam, and Itch.io (PC and Mac).
8 Endling – 2021
A world ravaged by mankind seen through the eyes of the last fox on Earth. Endling is an eco-conscious adventure game, developed by Herobeat Studios. Play as a mother fox protecting her cubs. Players will have to survive the environment, sneak around human threats, and bring the litter to the last haven on the planet. The 3D side-scrolling world will feature devastated environments based on real current issues. Emotionally taxing decisions will be made, as the cubs grow and level up.
Endling will be available on Steam, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
7 KeyWe – 2021
KeyWe is a cooperative postal puzzle game developed by Stonewheat & Sons. Jeff and Debra are two small kiwi birds working in a whimsical post office. Players can work together to find creative ways to keep the mail flowing. Help Jeff and Debra jump, flap, and bump their way across an interactive landscape of levers and buttons. KeyWe took home the title of Best Family Game, during the Gamescom Best of Show ceremony.
KeyWe will be available on Steam in 2021.
6 The Kind Camomille – Late 2020
A “wholesome adventure game,” The Kind Camomille gives players a chance to explore a brightly colored world while completing random acts of kindness. Players take on the role of Camomille, a small mouse, who is on her way to her grandmother’s birthday party. On the journey, there are a host of different animals who need help and hidden items around the map. The game encourages players to take their time to relax and ultimately be kind, by removing death and penalty mechanics. Developed by Xavier Moiny, The Kind Camomille exceeded its Kickstarter goal within 36 hours.
The Kind Camomille will be available on Windows PC and Mac in late 2020.
5 Wingspan – September 17th, 2020
Based on the award-winning strategy card game about birds, Wingspan is the officially licensed digital adaptation. Play as a bird enthusiast and attract the best birds to a network of wildlife preserves. The game offers a single-player and multiplayer mode (up to five people).
In the multiplayer mode, players compete to build their preserves in the shortest amount of time. There are multiple ways to gather points with birds. Each habitat focuses on key aspects of preserve growth.
Wingspan is currently available on Steam for Windows and Mac.
4 PHOGS! – Late 2020
Players can team up and play as a two-headed dog called Red and Blue. PHOGS is a puzzle-filled adventure game with three different worlds to explore, developed by Bit Loom Games. Each world has a theme (sleep, food, and play) with plenty of hidden secrets. In the multiplayer mode, work with other players to solve teamwork-based puzzles. In addition to multiplayer options, PHOGS supports single-player and shared-controller gameplay, plus local and online co-op. Players can customize their PHOGS by collecting hidden golden bones to unlock adorable hats.
PHOGS will be available on PS4, Xbox Games Pass, Nintendo Switch, and Steam in 2020.
3 Button City – 2020
Button City is a narrative adventure game about a fox and his friends. Players can help the cast of brightly colored animals save their local arcade. Arcade games, pastels, floating islands, and animals bring this quirky world to life. Developed by Subliminal Games, the low poly arcade adventure has a variety of mini-games and puzzles to solve. The arcade hosts three full-featured games: Gobabots a 4 vs. 4 arena, rEVolution Racer, and Prisma Beats. Button City is a story about friendship, growing up, and saving the things that are important to you.
Button City will be available on Steam for PC and Mac in 2020.
2 Neko Ghost, Jump! – To Be Announced
Neko Ghost, Jump! is a 2D/3D puzzle-platform game where players can switch between camera perspectives at any time. Help Nekoman, the cat-like protagonist, rescue his bride-to-be and friends from space pirate dogs. Players also can switch between a physical and ghost form to solve puzzles and collect coins. Neko Ghost, Jump! welcomes competitive play styles, by having leader boards for each level. For players who would prefer to take their time, exploring each puzzle can lead them to new customization options.
Neko Ghost, Jump! is developed by Burgos games and does not currently have an official release date. The game will be available on PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox, Series X, and Android.
1 Natural Instincts – To Be Announced
Natural Instincts is an interactive nature documentary simulation game. Players can give the animals hints to directly impact their environment. Six unique environments offer exclusive animals and plants, along with dangers and events. The main features of the game will be guiding wildlife to resources, around obstacles, and helping control populations. In addition to overcoming obstacles, Natural Instincts also encourages players to watch and learn from each species’ rituals and behaviors.
Natural Instincts is developed by DreamStorm Studios, an official release date has not been announced.
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