Political Animals Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Political Animals RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network EGX 2016: Talking Political Animals with its developer at Squeaky Wheel https://www.gameskinny.com/mkkjd/egx-2016-talking-political-animals-with-its-developer-at-squeaky-wheel https://www.gameskinny.com/mkkjd/egx-2016-talking-political-animals-with-its-developer-at-squeaky-wheel Mon, 03 Oct 2016 09:00:01 -0400 ESpalding

You may have seen the name Political Animals pop up occasionally on GameSkinny. It is a political, or rather an election, strategy game created by a studio in the Philippines called Squeaky Wheel. The game has been shown all over the World in recent months, and we were pleased to finally catch up with them at EGX 2016 in Birmingham, UK, at the end of September. After demoing the game for myself, I got to discuss interesting points about the game with the studio's art director and co-founder Ryan Sumo.

ESpalding - Hello Ryan! Thanks for giving me this interview. Others at GameSkinny have been interested in Political Animals for a while now so I'm sure they, and our interested readers, will love to hear a bit more about it. Could you just give me a little introduction to yourself and your studio, please?

Ryan Sumo - "My name is Ryan Sumo, and I'm formerly a freelance artist whose biggest project was Prison Architect.  I've since co-founded a studio called Squeaky Wheel and we're making the Political Strategy game Political Animals."

ES Prison Architect?! Oh right! I've played it before! Great to meet someone who worked on it!

So, let's get straight down to business and talk about your game. Where did the inspiration for Political Animals come from?

RS - "Political Animals is loosely inspired by Philippine politics but is about politics around the world.  It's supposed to be a way for the player to put themselves in a politician's shoes and see how they would react to the incentives presented to politicians."

ES - Why did you decide to use animals instead of making it true to life and use humans?

RS - "Animal characters allow the player to separate themselves from the real world politics they might be facing and more openly confront the idea of being a politician and the strategy of politics without tying themselves to an actual political party."

ES - Visually, Political Animals looks a lot different from other political games and some might say that the art style might not fit the idea behind the game. What made you decide to go with a cartoon style of graphics?

RS - "The art style helps soften the blow of a very serious topic, but at the same time seeing cute animals do shady things can be kind of subversive, so we're trying to have it both ways!"

ES - The game is being published by Positech Games, the developers behind the Democracy series and Big Pharma. How did you come to choose to work with Cliff Harris, owner and CEO of Positech, and was it an easy decision to make?

RS - "I met Cliff via my work with Introversion Software.  I've been a huge fan of the Democracy series and when Cliff made the offer it just seemed like the perfect fit for our game."

ES - Is EGX the first time you have shown the game? If not, where else have you been with it?

RS - "We've been all around the world this month, showing it at PAX West, Tokyo Game Show, and Busan Indie Connect."

ES - How has the reaction been over the EGX weekend?

RS - "It's been really amazing.  We knew we were building a niche game and were always worried that maybe we were building a game that had no market.  The shows we went to simply proved that there really is a market for the game, and we now just have to finish it!"

ES - Well, thanks for giving our readers a little bit of information about how Political Animals came to be. I'd like to finish the interview with a little light-hearted question: Knowing personalities for each character in the game, which do you think you most identify with?

RS - "Instead of myself, I'll let you in on a little secret.  The character of Mousey is based on my wife, who works for a non-profit organization for Childfund.  While she's not a politician, if she did become one I know that she would be the most hardworking political mouse around, which a squeaky clean reputation!"

ES - I think I would be similar. That or a hard-working Donkey who isn't afraid to do the work herself and be a working class person turned politician for the people!

There have been no release dates confirmed for Political Animals but Ryan told me that they are hoping to release around the date of the US General Election.

EGX 2016 - Top 10 Best Games in the Show https://www.gameskinny.com/bv3e7/egx-2016-top-10-best-games-in-the-show https://www.gameskinny.com/bv3e7/egx-2016-top-10-best-games-in-the-show Sun, 02 Oct 2016 16:49:59 -0400 ESpalding

Honorable Mentions

Even though the majority of games at this year's event were of really high standard, I couldn't include every single one in this listicle so here are some other games which deserve to get a mention for one reason or another:


Oh My Godheads - Oh my! This was a true gem to play! It was entertaining, nicely done and the constant changes in tactics depending on circumstances really made a nice addition.


Drive! Drive! Drive! - It's a racing game, but racing on 1 track is boring, so why not 3 tracks at the same time? Definitely very entertaining!


Black the Fall - The setting for this game is one of its strong points. Based during the fall of the Soviet Union, it tells the story of someone trying to escape from forced labor. The design of the game is superb and the gameplay makes you over think the simplest of puzzles.


The Little Acre - This harks back to the golden age of point-and-clicks. The cartoon animation is bang on the money and the story line is endearing and extremely well written.


As you can see from this list, the variety of games exhibited this year was huge and there is a lot of talented indie developers out there. The public seemed to agree as the Rezzed section of the expo was constantly busy. Some games had crowds gathered around it and there were plenty of smiles and laughter all around. Now to look forward to Rezzed, the purely indie event run by EGX in London during the Spring, and next years EGX expo!


For more information about all the games Pierre and I played during EGX 2016, check out all of our event coverage.

Flat Heroes

For such as simple looking game, Flat Heroes is utterly brilliant! If the turn out this year hadn't been so strong, I would say that this could have won Best in Show. Kudos goes to the games developers, Parallel Circles!


The look of Flat Heroes is basic and very trendy, but the gameplay is intense and fast-paced. The aim of each level is just to avoid what is coming at you. There are lasers, little star bombs, flying discs and more, all with the purpose of destroying your square. There are several tempting modes including the solo campaign, speed runs, co-op, and battles.


Flat Heroes is out now in early access on Steam and is available on PC, Mac OS, and Linux.


From anywhere in the Rezzed area, you could hear the thumping bassline of the Aaero tracks. In fact, Aaero has its place in here not only for being a kickass game but also for having the most memorable soundtrack of the event.


Developers Mad Fellows describe Aaero as a "rhythm, action, on rails, music shooter" and, once you play it, it really makes sense. If anyone out there has ever played Audiosurf you will be familiar with the concept of racing on a track and dodging obstacles in time with some music. Well, this game takes a massive leap away from that basic concept and adds aliens, boss battles, and a futuristic landscape.


Aaero is scheduled to release early on in 2017 and will be available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Mantis Burn Racing

Mantis Burn Racing is an arcade top-down racer from developers VooFoo Studios. It's nothing more that a racing game which means that there are no power-ups and only very short boosts. The reason that it makes this list is because it melds arcade and sim amazingly well. While it's fully arcade, you can actually think about driving a bit like in a sim game.


Even though it is a top-down arcade game, the game uses realistic physics and great attention has been paid to making the feel of the game different regarding which surface you are racing on.


The game is currently on Steam Early Access and the developers are hoping to release it by the end of 2016 on PC, PS4 and XBox One.


You can't get any more stealthly than Aragami, a game developed by Spain-based studio Lince Works and due to release in a matter of days (October 4th).


You don't get many games where getting into combat is a bad thing but it really is in this one. You must stealth around, completing missions and trying not to get caught. If you do get caught, you do have some mystical powers which will aid your escape but that really isn't the point. It looks like the developers have drawn a lot of inspiration from comic books for the look of the game but it really does work.


So why is Aragami one of our Best in Show? Quite simply, it's an amazing stealth game. Even though you are completely vulnerable, you feel super powerful! Also, it looks amazing, graphically, and animation wise.

Forgotton Anne

Forgotton Anne was a surprise addition to the EGX line-up. Square Enix Collective waited until people arrived to announce it. The game really struck a chord with me as it has some serious Steampunk connotations and the premise really is lovely. I see a lot of future in this game and cannot wait to see more of it.


Forgotton Anne is 2D point-and-click action adventure. You control a young girl, Anne, who is trapped in a world of forgotten items. She and an elderly gentleman called Master Bonku are the only humans in this new World and they are trying to find a way home.


The game is still in its early stages so it will be a while before we see this release.

Snake Pass

This game by Sumo Digital really made me smile. And, watching the other people playing the demo, it made a lot of others smile too. The pure enjoyability of the game makes this one of our best in show.


It is a puzzle game like no other just because you play as a snake. Obviously, the first thing you'll notice is that your character has no arms and legs so you have to rethink how you are going to play. As you move the left thumbstick from side to side, your snake starts to move. The quicker you move your thumb, the more the snake propels himself forward.


The snake is Noodle, and he is out to collect gems from his world with the help of his hummingbird friend. The puzzles are completely physical and you have to try and think like a snake. How does a snake climb a tree? How do they coil around an object to tighten their grip?


There are currently no release details for the game but we will keep you informed.

The Fall: Part 2 - Unbound

This game rightly deserves its spot in the best in show list because of its well-written story and its execution. The story got us hooked instantly. I don't really want to spoil it for anyone but the feelings you get from the protagonist do strike a chord.


The Fall: Part 2, is a sequel to The Fall: Part 1 (which has been reviewed by Pierre in the past) and has been developed by Vancouver-based studio Over The Moon Games. It carries on from the events of the first part andfocuses on a character named ARID -- an artificial intelligence who is trying to find her way back to her own body. The look of the game is very dark but, with neon aspects which remind me a lot of Tron: Legacy, it works beautifully well as a game.

Political Animals

This game was on my must-play list from the moment I heard they were at EGX. I've been following its development for a while so I am so happy now that I have been able to play it.


Political Animals is an election simulation game, developed by new-to-the-scene studio Squeaky Wheel and published by Democracy 3 developers Positech. Don't let the cartoon appearance and animal characters fool you because this game is certainly not for the fainted hearted. You are playing a government candidate who is trying to get elected and you need to do everything in your power to succeed. You need to campaign, make pledges, raise funds and you can even create scandals to blacken your opponents name! Everything you'd expect from a good politician...


So why does it make our Best in Show list? I think it would boil down to the art style which makes it stand out from other political strategy games. It looks great! It doesn't immediately look like a political game. It looks like something a child would like to play given the cartoon art style. Looks can be deceiving but it works for Political Animals.


There is currently no hard and fast release date but the developers are hoping to get it released to coincide with the US elections in November.

Deckbound Heroes

I am a massive fan of card games, whether they be tabletop or digital. There were quite a few of them at this year's show, but Deckbound Heroes scored very highly with me.


There are lots of unique aspects to this game that make it stand out from the CCG crowd. For a start, you can see your opponents' cards. Where is the fun in that? I don't know about you but if I saw one their strongest cards pop up in their hand, I would sitting there guessing when they would play it or whether or not I could counter it. The other unique feature of the game is that you are also playing to occupy bases. Each base bestows an ability to help you take life points away from your opponent.


The card gameplay is actually pretty in-depth and, if you are interested in knowing more, you should head over to Deckbound's website to have a read of how it all actually works.

Deckbound Heroes is currently vying for your votes to get it Greenlit on Steam and has an estimated release date of sometime this Fall.



This is a game that fans of Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country have been waiting for for such a long time! The guys and gals from Playtonic Games, a studio originally started by some key personnel from Rare, have been working very hard to recreate the feel and enjoyment their previous games brought to players. The end result is this incredibly bright and happy open-world platformer. This is the reason Yooka-Laylee is one of GameSkinny's best in show. They didn't let the fans down and developed a beautiful game, just the way we wanted it.


Players must guide Yooka the chameleon and his bat friend, Laylee, around their world. You have to collect items which expand the play area and ultimately assist the duo in defeating the money-grabbing corporate fat cat Capital B. 


There is currently no definite date for the release of Yooka-Laylee but we at GameSkinny will be keeping our fingers on the pulse and will let you know as soon as we do!


Between Thursday 22nd and Sunday 25th of September, Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre (NEC) played host to the UK's largest video game exhibition. GameSkinny sent Pierre Fouquet and I along to find out what was going on, get hands-on with some of the newest releases and to see what was hot in the realm of Indie games.


The indie developers had come out in force and were presenting some (quite frankly) amazing games! For me, it was more exciting playing these games than queuing up to play the big AAA games that were on show.


So sit back and flick through this EGX 2016: Best in Show slideshow to see which games Pierre and I rate as being some of the best at this year's event. The list isn't in any particular order.

EGX 2016: Day 2 - Lord of the Rezzed https://www.gameskinny.com/xns0r/egx-2016-day-2-lord-of-the-rezzed https://www.gameskinny.com/xns0r/egx-2016-day-2-lord-of-the-rezzed Tue, 27 Sep 2016 04:51:49 -0400 ESpalding

After the madness and acclimatization of the first day at EGX 2016 in Birmingham, UK, I thought I'd be taking it easy on the second day. That, however, didn't go as planned -- because day 2 was just as manic. My entire day was spent demoing and chatting with some very talented, enthusiastic and pleasant indie devs who, as usual, were more than willing to chat and show off their gems.

Smash Up

The day started off with a visit to the Nomad Games stand to play their latest title Smash Up. Originally a tabletop game, Smash Up is a card game in which players must choose their factions and then take over a base. Sounds simple, right? You might not think so when you find out that you actually have to choose two factions and "smash" them together.

For example, I chose to play using the Alien faction and the Dinosaurs. Those cards then get shuffled into the same deck to form your own new faction. My deck ended up containing lots of interesting technology coupled with a stompy T-Rex, so it was a pretty hard-hitting deck. The other faction available in the demo was Zombies.

The look of the game is very good. The artwork on the original cards was done by an artist called Paul Peterson and the folks at Nomad Games have literally used all the same designs on their digital version. I absolutely love the way the cards look!

While at EGX, it was confirmed that Smash Up would be releasing on October 6th and will be available on iOS, Android and Steam.

Political Animals

I was really excited to play Political Animals, as I have been following the development of this indie game for quite a while. Developed by a Philippines-based studio called Squeaky Wheel, Political Animals is an election simulator set in a completely fabricated world inhabited only by animals. In the lead up to the election, you have to raise your funds, avoid scandals (or create them, if you so wish, to cause problems for your opponent), gain popularity and campaign to change the views of those who might not be voting in your favor.

Even though the game is very cartoon-esque, do not think for one moment that it is easy...because it really isn't. It is being published by renowned political simulator developers Positech Games, creator of Democracy 3 (check out my review for the Electioneering DLC for Democracy 3!). So if it is good enough for them then it is certainly good enough for me!

Political Animals is hoping to go live in time for the US elections later this year and will be available on PC and Mac through Steam.

Dead Cells

Hailing from Bordeaux, French developers Motion Twin brought their new game Dead Cells to EGX this year. This rogue-like Castlevania-inspired game is an action platformer set in an ever-changing castle, and you must fight your way through the castle, asking NPCs questions to determine why you are there and what you are supposed to be doing. The beauty of the game is that every time you die, the game will be different. Different maps, different loot, different mobs. Even upon death, the game helps you out a bit. When you die (and it is when and not IF...) any weapon that you unlock will remain in the game for you to find somewhere.

Dead Cells isn't ready to release just yet -- but if you are interested, keep checking back to find out the latest news on this title!

The Little Acre

This is another one of those games that I have heard about and followed on social media, so I was absolutely thrilled to play this charming point-and-click from Ireland-based Pewter Games Studios. It is an indie game, but is being published by Curve Digital.

The Little Acre is set in 1950's Ireland and follows a young man, called Aiden, and his daughter Lily, who both inadvertently find themselves transported to another dimension. The characters go through a transformation as they travel into said dimension, as they turn from normal human proportions to short, disproportional, kind of chibi looking characters.

The worlds are very different, but it works so so well! The voice acting is great, the story is endearing, and it harkens back to the great age of the Lucas Arts point-and-click adventures which is something I love. The Little Acre will be out sometime in Q4 2016 and will be available on PC, Mac and Xbox One. (Interesting fact: The Little Acre is Ireland's first Xbox One title).

Tokyo 42

This was a very different game from all those I had played over the last two days. The developer's pitch said that the game is "the lovechild of Syndicate and GTA1" -- and if you look at the screenshot below you can kind of see what they mean. It is made by two brothers under the studio name of Smac Games.

In Tokyo 42, you play an assassin who has to complete a number of missions to gain items and take on the evil underworld of a Tokyo-inspired low poly open world. As well as the assassin stuff, there are a lot of parkour elements, and having to negotiate what could be construed as optical illusions in the landscape. There is both a single-player campaign and a multiplayer mode.

The game is still in its early stages, and there is currently no release information for Toyko 42, but we will let you know any information when we are told any!

Beasts of Balance

Beasts of Balance is a bit of an oddity, as it has both tabletop and video game components. The aim of the game is to stack animals as high as you can until they fall down (physical), and the volcano erupts (digital). Each piece contains a chip which you need to put in front of the stacking plinth, and then this translates to an image on the app. Without going into too much detail, there are 3 big beasts (eagle, bear, shark) who serve well as the base for your stack and 3 smaller beasts (warthog, toucan, octopus). There are also elemental artifacts, and cross pieces which will combine 2 or 3 animals together to make mythical beasts on screen.

The game has been developed by a bunch of designers and engineers living in London, UK, called Sensible Objects. Beasts of Balance is currently available to buy through the Sensible Objects website along with some additional pieces which can be purchased separately. If you want to play, you need to be able to use an iOS or Android mobile device.

The Fall: Part 2 - Unbound

Today it was my day to play The Fall: Part 2. Having already watched the game being played the previous day by GS writer Pierre, I kind of had an idea of what to expect, but that was nothing compared to playing it myself.

I was immediately sucked into a dark world full of androids and a really compelling story which made me feel for the main Android character. The Fall: Part 2, developed by US studio Over The Moon Games, carries on from the events which happened in the first part and focuses on a character called Arid, who is an artificial intelligence who is trying to find her way back to her own body. I don't really want to go into it much because it could contain spoilers and, having not actually played the first part (... yet!) it's going to be hard not to spoiler things for myself. Pierre has reviewed The Fall: Part 1 if you really want to get the background on the game.

Day 2 was fantastic and really opened my eyes to the shear quality of indie games being exhibited this year. There are loads more indies to see over the course of the expo so I hope you will read my day 3 report and see what else I got up to.

Don't Let US Election Games Tell You How to Vote https://www.gameskinny.com/np88w/dont-let-us-election-games-tell-you-how-to-vote https://www.gameskinny.com/np88w/dont-let-us-election-games-tell-you-how-to-vote Tue, 20 Sep 2016 06:37:32 -0400 Janiece Sebris

It's the most wonderful time of the year. 

No, I don't mean Christmas, unfortunately. It's that time in the United States that occurs every four years: Presidential election season. (It's on Tuesday, November 8, in case you were wondering.)

It's that magical time when people yell their opinions over each other from across the room.

And as the season comes to a close, so will the inundation of US-election-themed video, web, and mobile app games. Finally, writers like me won't feel compelled to write about any game with an inkling of being politically-themed just to garner a few measly election-keyword views.

I've written about a few of the more popular election games in my brief time at GameSkinny. From a mobile puzzle game called Merica Match to a retro game adaptation called Presidential Blitz, these games -- although diverse in visual qualities -- carry the same premise as every other election game: to pick the candidate who will win control over the free world and to pretend for a few minutes that you have even a semblance of control over who will run our nation.

It's obvious that the developers who put out these games hope to gain a larger fan base by creating, fun (and sometimes innovative) but highly redundant material. At least for those having to follow the election, this seems to be the case. 

I'm sure that poking fun at the States' political system is a major reason developers put games like these out, and this author isn't knocking the entrepreneurial spirit of those developers. However, I think it's safe to assume that now it's time for a moratorium on the election games for the following reasons.

1. It's the Middle of September

The subheading says it all. Currently, September is more than halfway done. Election day is seven weeks away. But election games are still being peddled out to the public like they're going out of style. They, in fact, are.

A game called Jrump (very subtle by the way) launched its trailer just four days ago. 

The mobile app, without going into too much detail, shows that sometime in 2017, the US will be in chaos, and it's all thanks to President Jrump. The fact that this game came out this week and bears most of the characteristic traits of a country under a Donald-Trump-like leader, only contributes to the white noise that the Internet spits out during election season.  

2. Americans Don't Need Anymore Reasons to be Confused

American citizens and residents are already foggy on who is actually running for President. The two big names in the race are a loud-mouth man and a double-talking woman. A third name belonging to a elderly Socialist almost made it into the gaming world, but not quite.

A game called Political Animals did its best to shine a light on the "issues" surrounding the election in its own fun way. This game was an election simulation replacing pesky human politicians with adorable animals. But still, games like this one, and Merica Match, claim they're a way for people to predict the outcome of the election.

This helps no one. 

People don't need to be distracted by an election simulation to make them feel like they are contributing to the situation. People, instead, should be educating themselves on the real issues that affect them and their community by first educating themselves on who is actually running for President.

3. Games That Contribute To Bipartisanship Help No One

As stated above, there are generally two big names that have stood out during this election season. I don't even feel like typing them because it seems redundant to describe them.

For the purpose of this article, there is no greater evidence of this inherent bipartisanship than election video games. These games, for the most part, portray two omnipotent, central candidates. There have been a few games that include a couple of lesser known names in the mix, but not to the extent of creating an accurate picture for the public.

There are more than two candidates running for President of the United States. It seems to this author that for developers, creating games that portray those less popular candidates will not make money.  And, since they rarely get air time, I'll tell you who the other two people are: Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein for the Green Party. 

People may say that a vote cast for Johnson or Stein is wasted.

These people are wrong.

The only wasted votes are those that are not used. In the US, we supposedly live in a nation with an abundance of free choices. Whether you vote Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or any other party, vote with your brain. Don't be distracted by loud opinions or flashy games; educate yourself and then cast your vote on November 8 for someone you believe in. 

Political Animals: The video game for the 2016 election https://www.gameskinny.com/562se/political-animals-the-video-game-for-the-2016-election https://www.gameskinny.com/562se/political-animals-the-video-game-for-the-2016-election Mon, 30 May 2016 07:34:38 -0400 Janiece Sebris

A turn-based strategy game called Political Animals will release to the public before the 2016 US election in November.

The PC game is an election simulation game that uses cartoon animals to portray candidates. The game is a wash of moral choices for the players.

The PC game takes place on an island with the user acting as a potential presidential candidate.

For each turn the player assigns tasks to their animal-candidate and election staff. These tasks can range from moving districts, raising money, holding a rally or committing different acts of bribery or corruption.

However, users don’t have to succumb to the gritty aspect of election life. Those players can choose to take the take the moral, but ultimately less exciting, high road.

Positech, the UK company publishing Political Animals, renamed the game from a game called Party Animals that has been in part-time development. The company is working with a new studio to develop the game called Squeaky Wheel based out of the Philippines.

The use of the cartoon animals by artist Ryan Sumo, from Squeaky Wheel and the game Prison Architect, gives the election season the whimsy it so desperately needs.

Cliff Harris, the man behind Positech, wrote in a blog post, “Politics and cute animals obviously mix brilliantly.”