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Video Game / Tooth and Tail

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Victors will feast.

Tooth and Tail is a Black Comedy Real-Time Strategy game by Pocketwatch Games, the same people who did Monaco. It personifies The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized in its most "Canni-malistic" form: whoever loses the revolution will literally be cooked and eaten. 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 radical factions (Longcoats, Commonfolk, KSR, Civilized) have decided mass-genocide of their hated enemies 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: in a brutal buffet of slaughter!

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

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.
  • 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.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: Carnivorism exclusively in this case. A fair number of the characters in the game belong to species that are omnivorous, and at least a few have a primarily plant-based diet in real life, but since eating plants is heavily looked down upon in this world, everyone only has a craving for flesh.
  • 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 Creed: Each faction chants one upon victory, in the Vyeshal language. When translated, they all reveal rather unflattering facets of the sides. ("In a State of Nature, the Longcoats Rise", "We are tyranny, we are Commonfolk!"; "Peace over freedom is the KSR way", etc.)
  • Badass Longcoat: Ever wondered why 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.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: There are no 'good' sides in this story; every faction wants to eat the others, and things continue to get worse. By the end, the Pigs (who were the only ones actually happy to eat vegetables) rise up and kill everyone else. Mind you, they're not really any better, despite their plight, as they intentionally help prolong the war and suffering to exhaust the armies, and slaughter indiscriminately themselves.
  • 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).
  • Company Cross References: The premise itself is a reference to Pocketwatch's earlier game, Monaco: "The rats will eat their own." There, it was referring to No Honor Among Thieves; here, it's a bit of a Literal Metaphor. Also a reference to Monaco, the moles wield hammers, which they like to call "Freedom Spoons".
  • 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.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Meat eating, which is considered a virtue.
  • 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 soldier. 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: The four factions, exhausted after many seasons of fighting, backstabbing and betraying each other, are tricked into throwing all their remaining forces into one final battle, only for the victor to be attacked and overwhelmed by an enormous army of the not-so-extinct Swine (who are suggested to have been orchestrating all the betrayals during the course of the war).
    • Earn Your Happy Ending: With the major exception of the Swine, who successfully orchestrated a Slave Liberation of epic proportions (i.e., mass murder) in response to the warring factions admittedly idiotic reasons for going to war.
  • Eat the Rich: The Longcoats, toward the Civilized.note Commonfolk as a whole towards upper tiers of society, like all factions other than their own.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: 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 Quartermaster, 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.
  • Faux Horrific: Apparently, eating plants is seen as so incredibly detestable that everyone would rather kill and eat each other than go vegetarian for a while.
  • 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 a 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.
  • Hope Spot: The final mission of the story involves the remnants of the Longcoats, Commonfolk and KSR banding together to make a new society built on cooperation... Which Archimedes subsequently attacks and destroys because the Civilized would lose their power if it succeeded. Que Downer Ending.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Religion of Evil: Details about the doctrines of the faith preached by the Civilized are murky, but it's a major contributor to the cultural embrace of meat eating as a virtue. The Civilized's base/main temple is even built around encouraging a form of ritual suicide via poisonous berries.
  • Sapient Eat Sapient: The crux of the entire game. There are no non-sentient sources of meat, and everyone wants it.
  • Satire: The story is a satire of revolution, class conflict and consumerism. The plot points out that the entire civilization can choose to eat plants and grains as they are not in shortage; however, they consider meat consumption 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.
  • Shout-Out: The Quartermaster's Steam trading card description begins with her asking for "Your Papers, Please, sir."
  • 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. Except it's hinted she's lying and actually ate her own arm.
  • World of Funny Animals: That gleefully kill and eat each other no less, sentience and sanctity of life be damned.