Released to the public in February 2015, Cereal Soup is an animal MMORPG where players can play a variety of creatures and explore the world around them, using their nose to sniff out artifacts and unlock new abilities/hidden features. Currently, players can play as Suricates (meerkats), Felis, and Canis, though there is a planned fourth species, Raptors (as in birds of prey, not dinosaurs), still in development but a preview of it can be seen in-game.
Once a character is created, players begin the game as baby versions of their character and grow over time. With each growth stage, they gain their stripes and spots (or whatever markings chosen for them), and if they have any, their horns grow longer as they would in real life (or at least as far as horned felines with shark tails go) along with gaining more health and stamina as they transverse the world of Primordial, allowing them to hunt and defend themselves against dangerous critters, and in some areas, other players. In fact, players can form tribes in order to control and fight over vast territories and, if they so desired, even place bounties on other players to get others to hunt them down.
The game was created as a response to the lack of features that other animal MMORPGs offered, as players often wanted a larger Wide Open Sandbox with multiple creatures to play as, along with a bigger incentive to explore outside of roleplay and socializing in order to avoid the Quicksand Box trap. Hence why Cereal Soup is stylized more like a Western RPG than other games of its type, which usually have either engine limitations or different goals such as educational simulators, Doing It for the Art games, or exclusively-roleplay games, which therefore lack the interest in expanding themselves to fulfill the needs of traditional MMOs.
It also takes much inspiration from a similar but obscure game known as Aro'kai, another animal-based MMORPG that promised vast open worlds and a variety of species to play as, but was stuck in Development Hell for years on end and never got off the ground.
The game is listed as Early Access through Steam and is free to play for the public, but bear in mind that the game is an Obvious Beta and therefore still in the Alpha testing phase, so bugs are to be expected.
Warning: Upon starting up game, do NOT register with numbers in your username, password, or email address or else you won't be able to log in. This account is separate from your steam account.
Trailer can be viewed here.
Tropes that appear in Cereal Soup:
- Absurdly High Level Cap: It takes 43,800 minutes (730 hours) in real-time just to make an adult Suricate to grow into an elder. That's about 30 full days and 10 hours of playtime, not including the additional two hours spent leveling Suricates to teen and adulthood. It's high enough to have its own achievement for Suricates only.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Zigzagged. Players can have their characters be any color they want thanks to Character Customization, but the character creator also offers to randomize "realistic" colors (brown, white, black, grey, etc.) to deliberately avoid this trope.
- Artifact Title: The game has nothing to do with cereal or soup. Or even the Shirley Temple song, funnily enough.
- Born-Again Immortality: Stated to be one of the main traits of Primordial's gods by one of the loading screens.
- Character Customization: One of the main selling points of the game, as players can customize their characters' sizes, body shapes, manes/hairstyles, colors, markings, and even their claws. They can also add features that are not normally part of the species they play as, such as horns, tusks, feathers, and ears and tails of other animals.
- Evolutionary Levels: All characters have age cycles that allow them to "grow" in the game, which are separated into the four life stages as Baby, Teen, Adult, and Elder, with each stage having more health and stamina than the last. These are based on the amount of time a player has spent playing as a particular character, and after a certain point, can grow into the next stage. The exact amount of time required for each level depends on the character's species and stage, but most newly-created characters take only one or two hours of gameplay to reach adulthood.
- Fall Damage: Players can take damage if they fall from a dangerous height, but there are so few opportunities to do this that it's become an unlockable achievement.
- Flavor Text: Tons of it, usually located in randomized Loading Screens and eventually the Tome book, which provide Exposition and background information as to how the world of Primordial works.
- Gravity Barrier: Subverted. Usually, players can walk or trot up any slope with little to no problem without wasting a single drop in stamina or speed, but if they're completely vertical (cliffs), then they cannot be scaled.
- Has Two Mommies: Stated to be the norm, or at least common, for the inhabitants of Primordial to have same-sex parents according to the Flavor Text of one of the random Loading Screens.
- Loading Screen: These pop up when you load the game or change maps, which show digital art paintings that fans or staff have submitted into the game (hence the varying quality and art styles), along with providing Flavor Text or Exposition in the game.
- The Maze: This is The Caves of Order, as they're winding tunnels with many twists and turns and frequently split off into forks in order to challenge players that are hunting down the Felis and Canis skulls.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Players can be this thanks to Character Customization, but the trope also applies to NPCs like the Kangadillo (half Kangaroo, half Armadillo).
- Nemean Skinning: Both the Suricate and Canis species are stated to wear animal skins during their coming-of-age ceremonies, though Suricates tend to wear the pelts of their dead relatives in order to honor them whilst the Canis wear the skins of their first kill for Rite of Passage ceremonies. This is never shown in-game though no matter how many of the player's characters are raised to adulthood, and is only found as a tip on a Loading Screen.
- The Nose Knows: Players can use their nose to sniff out hidden treasure, which are usually arrows, the game's currency and also unlock the Felis and Canis species in the Character Customization menu after sniffing each of the respective species' skulls.
- Peek-a-Bangs: A majority of manestyles, such as the Left Bang, Right Bang, etc.
- Playing Possum: Players can have their avatar pretend to be dead by selecting the action in the Ring Menu.
- Polyamory: Mentioned by name but never shown. The only mention of polyamory is within one of the Loading Screens, which explains that it's a common occurrence for prey animals in Primordial to have multiple parents and/or partners in order to raise young. Possibly subverted as it's only a common occurrence in prey animals, implying that it's more of a survival trait than a choice towards romance. The text reads as follows:N/A: "In Primordial, it's very common for a single offspring to have parents of the same sex, or to have more than two parents. Most prey species raise children in polyamorous groups."
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: Players can freely type up their character's gender in the Character Creator, though it has no impact on their stats in-game.
- Regenerating Health: If the player loses health, whether it be eating things like poisonous berries or taking Fall Damage, they quickly regenerate it.
- Reincarnation-Identifying Trait: Unlike the other gods, Omni-Alpha is reincarnated with all the scars from his past lives.
- Ring Menu: Type 2. The game sorts actions like sit, sleep, etc. in a pie menu and the player has to select the actions they want to use with their cursor.
- Rule of Seven: According to one of the loading screens, the creationist god Prideweaver once had seven sisters and seven sons.
- Tutorial Failure: As of version 1.9.6, the Suricate tutorial has a bug that prevents players from moving their character or interacting with the tutorial at all save for talking to the Non-Player Character guiding you. While there are multiple tutorials, this one appears when new players start up the game right away, so it's recommended for new players to skip it by hitting "No" when the notification comes up, and read the in-game guides on how to play the game until everything is updated.
- Video Game Tutorial: There are multiple, but optional, tutorials which all teach the player how to play a particular species. The first one that players come across is the Suricate tutorial, which has a white ethereal meerkat being known as "Raisin" teach them how to play as Suricates, along with how to use basic controls and certain mechanics such as sniffing or eating. Unfortunately, it's not bug-free and it's recommended to skip it until it's fixed. See Tutorial Failure above for reasons why.
- Warp Whistle: The Essence pools along with the Essence Tree, which are magical pools of water that let players fast travel to certain destinations when approached.
- Wide Open Sandbox: While there is a much-encouraged goal to join and interact with the community through tribes and events, ultimately these are all optional and players can do whatever they want so long as they don't break the rules.
- World Tree: The Essence Tree, a large tree on a rock floating high above the sea near the mainland, which as of 1.9.7, acts as the main spawn of all players.