One of the many exciting reveals from the June PlayStation 5 showcase event was the existence of Stray, a game in which you play as an adorably fluffy cat in a tiny backpack, who’s stranded in a big scary world seemingly inhabited solely by robots.
And that got us thinking about other video games where you get to play as an animal. Frankly, there should be a lot more of them, because animals are super cool and they’ve got some pretty rad abilities that would make for amazing video game skills. Think of a tree frog climbing up vertical surfaces, or a dog scenting out concealed objects, or a giraffe reaching inaccessible areas with its long neck.
So while we wait for Stray to arrive at some point on the PlayStation 5, here are eight of our favourite games and series where you get to play as an animal. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out everything we know about the PlayStation 5, take a gander at the list of confirmed games coming to next-gen, and if you haven’t already, register your interest in the PlayStation 5 now to get the latest updates as soon as they arrive.
1. The Crash Bandicoot series
Bandicoots are actually real animals, but they don’t usually wear jorts. Crash is a specific type of bandicoot: the eastern barred variety, which is also not really known for its denim wearing habits. We’re dubious about their abilities to unleash a devastating whirlwind attack and consume copious quantities of Wumpa Fruit, but then we’ve never seen a real bandicoot. We’re open to being proved wrong.
2. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
Well, if Pokémon aren’t animals, what else are they? Actually, you’re technically a human in this one who got mysteriously transformed into a Pokémon, but since you are functionally an animal for nearly the entirety of the game, we’re rolling with it. You’re also drawn in a gorgeous watercolour art style that makes you ten times more adorable. Awww.
3. Untitled Goose Game
Generally speaking, video game birds are pretty helpful, but the horrible goose who stars in this one is most decidedly a supervillain of the avian world. Almost nothing is too unimportant to steal, break, or throw in the pond. And there is a lot of stuff to steal.
4. The Sonic the Hedgehog series
We’ve never seen a blue hedgehog in real life, but Sonic is indeed a hedgehog and that’s all that matters to us. He’s also exceptionally fast and does that cute little curling up into a ball and rolling thing that regular hedgehogs do. Real hedgehogs can also swim, though we think Sonic might be unusual for being able to hold his breath for so long.
Why be a regular wolf when you can be the goddess of the sun in surprisingly fluffy wolf form? Add in some spectacular supernatural calligraphy skills and an inch-high artist friend and you’ve got a recipe for something great. If you can’t get enough Ōkami, there’s also a sequel, Ōkamiden, which features a baby wolf relative of Amaterasu.
Sharks are fish, and fish are still part of the animal kingdom. Look out for tasty humans to munch as you explore the world and evolve your shark into a veritable man-eating machine.
7. Goat Simulator
Goats can be quite destructive in real life, but if you think the horrible goose in Untitled Goose Game had a reckless disregard for life and property, the goat in Goat Simulator will reset your expectations.
8. Tokyo Jungle
Don’t play as just one animal. Play as a Pomeranian, Sika deer, Beagle, Tosa Inu, lions, hyenas, and a robot dog, or go for something really off the wall in Survival mode, like a chicken or a flappy Dilophosaurus.