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Video Game / Tooth and Tail

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Victors will feast
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Tooth and Tail is a Black Comedy Real-Time Strategy game that personifies The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized in its most "Cannimalistic" form: whoever loses the revolution will literally be eaten alive. Set in a world stylized after mid-1900s eastern Europe and populated by bipedal animals, winter is coming, the Swine are dwindling in number, and nobody wants to eat salad for three months straight. Four different factions have decided mass-death would be worth a roasted steak every night, and they've promised their soldiers the corpses of the dead. With hunting tools for guns and cooking hardware for artillery, there's only one way this is going to end: with the flesh of your enemies for dessert! And possibly a midnight snack, we won't judge.

You've played the tales of revolution a hundred times over. This time, the bodies of good people you slaughter for your cause will actually be worth something — your lunch.

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The trailer for the Playstation 4 release is now available, and the PC version can be bought on Steam and on Good Ol' Games.


This game provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb: Toads, which have dynamite strapped to their backs and will detonate if someone gets too close. Archimedes' favorite strategy in early missions is to bring a handful of them into enemy lines and burrow away as they come.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Hopper is missing one arm. Which arm she's missing depends on which way she's facing. Amusingly, this extends to the hand drawn pictures of her seen when selecting the Common Folk or announcing game results in multiplayer.
  • An Aesop:
    • Men will go to war over what they crave, even if they don't need it. And when they do, the ones supplying their addictions always win. Always. Even when their lives ARE the product; it's just a matter of creating artificial scarcity.
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    • This is also a dark take on the real world's current food shortages. The animals start a war over meat, even though they are all omnivorous and can subsist on a vegan diet. Similarly, we could end world hunger for billions, and all it would cost is our "dignity", like "unclean" genetically-modified produce and "disgusting" cricket flour with cockroach jelly. Instead we let them starve and fight over "proper" foods, like exported crops and pesticide-ridden "safe" foods.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: In real life dichlorodiethyl sulfide, or "mustard gas", has to be cleaned off with bleach. One typically wouldn't advise eating anything killed with it but hey, Rule of Funny.
  • Authority in Name Only: Everyone, Hopper included, claims to respect the Tsarina Nikolaos (bless her). Nobody cares at all what she thinks or wants.
  • Badass Longcoat: Ever wondered why the the Longcoats are so named? Well, just take a look at Bellafide, their leader.
  • Black Comedy: Well yes, you're commanding an army of carnivores against another faction, and the Gallows Humor some of the dialogue gets into helps. On top of that, the "chemical" weapons are also themed after a variety of sauces, condiments, and spices, so your war crimes are now making your victims more delicious for the victory feast.
  • Carnivore Confusion: The central theme of the story. As all animals in this game are sapient, bipedal, and omnivorous, who gets to eat who? The chaotic war will determine which side is literally slaughtered and eaten, possibly not in that order.
  • Central Theme: Revolution Eats Her Children (Literally).
  • Color-Coded Armies: The Longcoats are blue, Commonfolk are red, the KSR are green, the Civilized yellow. Multiple NPCs go so far as to point out that what color clothing you wear pretty much screams where you are on the social ladder. A less obvious coding is that the allied commanders share the same secondary colors (Bellafide and Hopper both wear white, the Quartermaster and Archimedes both wear black).
  • Conlang: The language of Vyeshal is a phonetic replacement of English, but not a direct one - some phonemes have special rules. One interesting example is the word "Longcoat" - because of the special rules, it sounds the same in both English and Vyeshal.
  • Corrupt Church: The Civilized, who apparently perpetuate the sacrificial system of meat-gathering.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: In multiplayer, where any leader can draft any combination of solider. Averted in the story, where each leader has a distinct set of soldiers.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: When a commander is killed, they respawn after just a few seconds. This can certainly be bad news for the leaderless army during that time, but the commander is no worse for wear.
  • Defector from Decadence: The leader of the Longcoats was perfectly fine with the system, until his son was chosen to be sacrificed to eat meat.
  • Double-Meaning Title: It's both a reference to "Tooth and nail" and the Tooth-to-tail ratio of military strategy.
  • Downer Ending: In the end, Boris, a pig who began to resent the idea of his species as slaves and food, launched a devastating attack on three factions after they were weakened from his engineered plots to fight against one another. Then again, exactly how much of a downer ending this is depends on how much you sympathize with the warring factions admittedly rather idiotic reasons for going to war.
  • Eat the Rich: The Longcoats, toward the Civilized.
  • Egocentric Team Name: The only member of the Longcoats who actually wears a longcoat is their leader, Bellafide.
  • Enemy Mine: Pretty much the only reason any of the factions side together.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: The game is generally devoid of supernatural elements, with the exception of the zombie Wretches.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The Quatermaster, head of the KSR (or at least spymaster and/or general) wears one of these. We never learn how she lost her eye.
  • Fantastic Racism: Swine (pig-men) have been relegated as slaves and livestock and are looked down upon as beasts. They are still intelligent beings who do most of the farming, and accept a vegetarian diet while the rest of the world craves their flesh.
  • Fun with Acronyms: It's never directly stated what 'KSR' stands for. They're a secret police force (like the KGB), but the Quartermaster has a rather Prussian aesthetic (and "KSR" could be pronounced as "Kaiser").
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Initially, at least, the war starts with two sides, each consisting of a male and female leader in shaky alliance. Each leader is most diametrically opposed to the other of the same sex.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Generally what the game is based around, for two reasons.
    • Since you can only take action at your commander's location, you can't lead an attack and build up your base at the same time.
    • All units have Regenerating Health in your own territory. Regardless of unit choice, it's better value to heal up a damaged army rather than throw it at a wall.
  • Idiot Ball: The entire plot even points out that an entire civilization of animals can choose to eat plants and grains as they are not in shortage; however, they considered meat consumption as a "civilized" virtue and promoted a widespread cultural revulsion against a vegetarian diet (or even fish) to the point an entire war involved warring over meat supplies and later using their enemies as food when the staple livestock of sentient pigs began to die out at least in appearance.
  • Insistent Terminology: The Commonfolk are not forming an army. They're forming a mob.
  • Meaningful Name: Not only is the title a clever animal-based pun on "(fighting) tooth and nail", the phrase "tooth and tail" refers to, respectively, an army's fighting force and its support/logistical part, highly appropriate for a game about seizing the, ahem, means of production.
  • Near Victory Fanfare: Your faction's theme will become more dominant in the background music at times when you're doing particularly well. Given how short matches and missions tend to be (by design), this counts.
  • Not So Different: Each faction has their own philosophy and military strategy, but they're only fooling themselves from the real cause of the war: they're hungry for meat, and they don't want to share.
  • Ominous Mundanity: The KSR headquarters is simply known as "The Kitchen".
  • People Farms: The Pig-men appear to be livestock who grow their own feed. It's also implied that the war was set off by the "Civilized" harvesting the non-porcine farmers as well.
  • Player Nudge: If you're using an obviously suboptimal strategy (examples: not scouting the field in early game, letting meat build up without spending it, capturing more gristmills than necessary), your commander will speak their mind with a tip in the right direction.
  • Po W Camp: During moments of meat shortages, all the factions have been shown to take prisoners of war to sustain their armies with. Some of the story missions also task you with rescuing prisoners of war.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: One of the things that sets the game apart from your typical RTS. Story and multiplayer alike, the map is randomly-generated and asymmetrical.
  • Real-Time Strategy
  • Recurring Riff: Snippets of the main theme can be heard throughout the soundtrack, though the two main riffs are the ones where the vocals appear for the first time, and the part where the vocals are still audible but the instruments take prominence again.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silly Reason for War: The only reason why the factions are fighting is because almost nobody likes vegetables.
  • Slave Liberation: The campaign ultimately ends with a mass revolt by the not-so-extinct Pigs that completely defeats the weakened factions.
  • Speaking Simlish: Aside from the opening cinematic, all the characters ramble in Russian-sounding "gibberish" (actually a conlang) with their dialogue displayed as text.
  • State Sec: The KSR, who wants to restore order.
  • Treachery Is a Special Kind of Evil: The Quartermaster is taken aback and clearly disgusted at how quickly Uncle Butter sells out his former comrades when she interrogates him, though it helps her.
  • Vicious Cycle: Everyone is omnivorous regardless of species. Everyone wants meat. And most unfortunate of all, there are NO non-sapient animals. You can tell how many families have lost a loved one because someone really wanted a hamburger. Some will fight for meat, but many will fight for revenge. And then meat.
  • War Has Never Been So Much Fun: Played with. Sure, the characters are adorable and a pixellated version of Super-Deformed, the between-missions dialogue is full of Black Comedy, and as seen below, you use goofy weapons...but the second the fighting starts, Ludicrous Gibs start flying, the washed-out colors give everything a hopeless atmosphere, and—well, the story speaks for itself, see below.
  • War Is Hell: It's a game about what is good in the life of an animal: Tenderize your enemies, see them Roasted before you, and hear the lamentations of your After-Dinner Dessert! Until they win and come up with a superior cooking/torturing method to get their revenge on you. Also, it's WW1-era technology with chemical warfare fully legalized, but only because they're basting you with mustard gas and pepper spray.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Claiming multiple gristmills in succession (not a good play under any circumstance) will make your commander question, then outright complain about it.
    Hopper: I feel like I'm doin' sometin' wrong 'ere.
    Quartermaster: The book says nothing about this stratagem.
    Bellafide: Is there a reasonable explanation for this wanton hoarding?
  • Working-Class Hero: The Common Folk are made up of working-class citizens, led by a leader who gave up one of her arms to feed a starving (or rather reluctant to eat vegetable) citizen.

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