The adorable Party Animals officially made its debut on Xbox Game Pass yesterday and it's clearly been proving a huge hit so far, but unfortunately it's also suffered its fair share of controversy - especially over on the Steam platform for PC.
Right now, Party Animals only has a "Mixed" review score on Steam, and it's primarily due to the always-online requirement that the game employs. You can still play the game locally with a few friends and AI bots without ever needing to matchmake with real people, but you have to be connected to the game's servers in order to play.
The backlash was so strong yesterday that the game's developer felt the need to address it, revealing why "offline" was originally mentioned in the game's description and why it was ultimately removed as well:
"Paw it out with your friends both online and offline. Our intention with this sentence was to convey that you can play with your friends remotely (online), or together in the same location using the same device (offline) through split-screen.
However, it seems this statement led some players to believe that Party Animals supports an offline mode. We regret the misunderstanding and wish to clarify that the game does not have, nor do we plan to introduce, an offline mode. Party Animals currently requires an online connection to play."
"To prevent further misunderstandings, we have revised the game description. The controversial sentence has since been replaced with the following: 'Paw it out with your friends remotely, or huddle together for chaotic fun on the same screen.' We sincerely apologize for any confusion our wording caused. It was never our intention to mislead our player base about the availability of an offline mode."
The always-online aspect of Party Animals definitely isn't going down very well, then, but the actual gameplay is at least getting a lot of positive feedback. We also had excellent things to say about it in our pre-launch review, dishing out a "Great" 8/10 score and calling it "one of the best party games available on Xbox Game Pass in 2023".
Sadly, PC Game Pass players can't join in the fun - at least for now. Party Animals is currently a console exclusive for Game Pass members, although there is also an Xbox Cloud Gaming version as part of the "Ultimate" subscription.