Election year is in full swing! not for Clinton and Trump but for Wolf and Croccy in Political Animals The Game. A new turn-based strategy election simulator game developed by squeaky wheel. We recently got the chance to try it, before it releases November, so here's everything you need to know.
Political Animals works like a board game in which you have your main political leader (mine was a wolf) and three staff members. Each of your characters have different traits and abilities and you use those characters to go out into the land and hustle for votes. Each turn you can move your characters to different regions that contain three influential patrons who can give you things like money or sway votes.
Using your starting fiance you have to campaign for support by doing rallies or giving money to patrons for a relationship improvement, which in turn grants bonuses. Like any political simulator, theres the other side of politics, the dark side, full of scandal and backroom deals. Bribing officials or engaging in shady activity may pay off, but should you get caught it can ruin your reputation in a district.
Where the interesting part comes in is the amount of strategy involved in the game and how much depth it has compared to that of similar games. Political Animals plays like a board game and so feels very different to other sims. Your characters have abilities to use against your opponent, for example, should you hire a reporter to your staff that reporter can expose an active scandal your opponent has. Others can blockade a district stopping the other from entering - all the abilities available make it a far more tactical game than most other political simulators.
What I like about it most is the fact it's fun and light-hearted. The game doesn't take itself to seriously and it's about having fun, which brings me to its one fatal flaw, there's no multiplayer. In a game that is a fun board game style game, multiplayer is a shoe in for a good time. The fact that Political Animals is missing any multiplayer - there's not even local - shows that they completely did not see the multiplayer potential and fun factor of that feature.
It's a shame that an otherwise great board game style political simulator with great mechanics has let itself down with a lack of multiplayer. Playing the AI is fun, but its no match for a human player and it could have been made even better with 3 to 4 players each with their own parties.
Political Animals will be available to purchase from Steam priced at $14.99 on 2nd November.