Review: Don't Feed the Animals (DSiWare)


In Don't Feed the Animals, you play a child who, with his or her friends, has stored a bunch of candy at a fort. On your way to eat said candy, wave after wave of covetous animals bombard the clubhouse. You must protect the candy – all twenty pieces of it – with robots.

There are three robots that you can use in your defence: tubebots, waterbots and scarebots. Waterbots spray, scarebots emit fright (in the form of black squares) and tubebots hit with a small tube. They defend against five animals: bears, cats, rabbits, raccoons, and turtles. Differences exist from robot to robot and animal to animal but besides bears being the strongest, these stop mattering in very short order. A chart shown at the beginning of each wave tells you which robot is the best against which animal: cats are weak against waterbots and neutral against the other two, raccoons are neutral to tubebots and weak against the other two, and so on. Your friend Floyd the Duck also tells you how many of each animal is on the way.

You might formulate a plan based on this information, but your strategy will quickly become "put a bunch of robots by the fort." There's no difference in terrain, no special spot from which a certain type of animal emerges, and no goal but to protect the base, so why do anything else? You'll just have to hope that the animals go after the robots against which they're the strongest – not that this, in the end, matters much either.

First is the defence stage, during which you place your mechanical men. Building these costs money, which you make by defeating animals. Next is the attack phase, when the animals swarm your fort – or, rather, your bots. They don't really try to get past these, instead simply getting caught up in fighting them: even when a path is directly open to the candy stash, if engaged in battle with an automaton, an animal will focus all of its attention on that confrontation. Your task is to click on suffering robots to repair them, which too costs money. However, since you'll constantly be making it as your fleet will defeat many enemies in a very short amount of time, this price won't be a big concern. You'll never have the dilemma of whether or not to repair a bot (and no time during which to have a dilemma), so it's a largely mindless affair. Find a struggling cyborg, click it to repair it, and so on until the wave ends. Eventually you'll be able to improve your bots' defences, but really, why bother?

Each wave brings more animals, and if you click your damaged defences fast enough, more robots as well. This creates a lot of clutter, and when robots often stroll right into other robots - not colliding with them, but simply occupying the same space - it becomes very difficult to click the right robot. Not to mention treetops and bears blocking your view, which shouldn't be much of a problem as long as you haven't inexplicably hidden the health meters. After a great many waves, then, you'll not only be bored but irritated as well.

Say you do start off with a bad strategy, perhaps building too many blocks and not enough robots to stand on them. It's almost impossible to recover once you're in the hole like this. Conversely, if you pick a good strategy and don't stop clicking during battle, it's all very easy. Your fort will either always have all twenty pieces or quickly have no pieces at all. The fort does not take damage, and it all feels overly simplistic and meaningless.

It's also pretty ugly. Blocky polygons make up both the robots and the animals, the terrain is boring and things run into each other. The music is catchy but repetitive and without variety. Not only that, but it seems to actually get offbeat at times - just another reminder of the game's lack of polish.

There are two modes, Story and Quickplay. The former begins with a useless character creator and then tells a poorly written narrative loosely based around a kid called Tommy who never appears in the game. Every once in awhile, you'll face a boss enemy with a funny name. This boss enemy – a rabbit, for example – is harder to kill than and looks almost identical to other rabbits, a whole wave of which it brings along with it. Quickplay is the exact same minus a few small features, but with all the same tedium.


Don't Feed the Animals is devoid of complexity, personality, skill and entertainment value. It's boring, ugly, frustrating, repetitive and has bad collision mechanics. There isn't any change in terrain and not enough difference between types of animals or robots to form a strategy. Don't play this game because it's terrible.

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