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Video Game / WolfQuest

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WolfQuest is an educational computer game created by the Minnesota Zoo and Eduweb, designed to raise awareness about wolves. It is the first video game to have received a grant from the National Science Foundation.

In this game you play the life of a wild wolf in Yellowstone, from finding a mate and establishing your own territory, to raising your own pups. Along the way you are free to hunt (including on a cattle ranch outside the park if you're willing to risk it), interact with other wolves, and encounter other animals such as coyotes and bears. There is also a multiplayer option where players can connect to create their own pack.

The game was originally envisioned to be four "episodes" long, with each one covering a different season and a different stage in a wolf's life. Episode 1, "Amethyst Mountain" (the fall season, which focused on finding a mate) saw its first release in December 2007. Despite funding issues along the way - the game had grown far bigger than its original scope - the game got its second episode, "Slough Creek" (aka "Survival of the Pack"), two years later, on January 1, 2010. This was the summer episode, focusing on a series of missions where you and your mate establish a den site and raise pups. Its "deluxe" version added weather and time - the winning suggestion in a contest - and was released in fall 2011. This was intended to be the "final" version of the game, since everything was about as complete as it could be and there was not enough funding for a third episode; the game had already outlived expectations by several years. This version, now known as WolfQuest 2.5, remains free on the WolfQuest website.


WolfQuest 2.7 was released in November 2015 - the name was chosen because it doesn't include a 3rd episode, so WolfQuest 3 isn't entirely accurate, but the changes make it distinct from 2.5. It was originally meant to just be a tablet port of the game with some bug fixes; however, with the unexpectedly large amount of interest in a tablet version, the massive number of improvements in the game, and additions such as a graphics overhaul, new map, and account/achievement system, it was decided that it would be released on PC and Mac as well. The game has since been released on Steam, iOS, Android, and the Kindle store.

The third major revamp of the game, WolfQuest 3 (also called Anniversary Edition), is in fact a full remake of the game rebuilt from scratch, with an entirely new codebase and AI, updated gameplay, graphics and mechanics, and bigger, re-made maps. The game released on Steam Early Access July 25 2019, and Slough Creek was released December 30 2020. Future purchasable DLC, such as the third episode, "Tower Fall", will be based upon this edition of the game.


Steam page.

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     The Wolfquest series as a whole contains examples of: 
  • Always Over the Shoulder: The main camera setting.
  • Beautiful Void: Aside from airplanes in 2.7 and evidence of human presence like the cabins in Slough Creek in Anniversary edition, there are no humans to be seen, just wildlife.
  • Camera Lock-On: You can lock onto anything you can bite, whether prey or predators.
  • Character Customization:
    • You design your wolf by picking from five pelt colors and moving the sliders to adjust the hue, and you also choose how to balance your wolf's strength, stamina, and speed. 2.7 adds seven new howls to choose from, ten new pelt colors, and some options such as scars, notched ears, and walking with a limp. Like everything else, The Anniversary Edition'' refines this system further, with the existing pelts upgraded, more new pelt options, a slider for eye color, and the upgraded graphics allowing you to make absolutely beautiful wolves.
    • You can give your wolf a radio collar in 2.7 and Anniversary edition. Interestingly, in 2.7 this may trigger a plane flying overhead.
    • Somewhat oddly, you can also give your wolf mange, a disease which causes bald spots. Although, the disease will not progress. There is a slider to effect the degree of hair loss on the tail, allowing for a very thin one.
    • You also can very the pitch of your wolf's howl.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In Scent View the screen is grayscale (or not, with older or integrated graphics cards) with a different color for each type of scent: Purple/pink for elk (with a more reddish tint for the bull elk), green for coyotes and wolf pups, yellow for wolf territory markers, blue for bears, and orange for hares. The Anniversary Edition has a much more polished and better implemented version of this system that includes such things as the wind blowing the scent particles around.
  • Context-Sensitive Button: Depending on what you're locked on to, the space bar can be used to either attack another animal, eat from a carcass, or pick up/put down pups.
  • Free Rotating Camera: You have the option of rotating the camera if you wish.
  • Game Hunting Mechanic: Naturally important for a game about wolves. You must also protect your kills from bears, and other thieves.
  • Ghost Town: Lost River (All versions) has a lot of abandoned buildings, cars, and even a Ferris wheel, to wonder around in and investigate, but no people to be found.
  • Howling to the Night and Wolves Always Howl at the Moon: Originally inverted - before Slough Creek Deluxe came out and the entire game was just "daytime", players could make their wolf howl at any time, except the nighttime cattle ranch mission. Now that we have different times, players can howl at whatever time of day they want, including night.
  • HUD: Contains your wolf's four meters (Life Meter, Stamina Meter, Pack Affinity Meter, and Territory Security Meter), your mate and pups' Life Meters, how much food you are carrying for your pups, and a compass that also shows wind direction and the location of nearby wolf territories and elk hunting grounds.
  • Invisible Wall: The edges of the map are bounded by these, and there's some extra ones blocking you from places you might get stuck.
  • Life Simulation Game: WolfQuest is one of the most influential examples. Many animal sims take inspiration from it. It is also one of the most popular animal sim games because it used to be freeware.
  • Microtransactions: Due to 2.7 and later versions being made without grant money, they're relying on money from the game's sales.
  • Mighty Roar: Bears, as they do in real-life.
  • The Nose Knows: Scent View is used to find animals.
  • One-Hit Kill: Rabbits only take one bite to kill.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender:
    • You can choose to be male or female. In 2.7, males are given a slightly higher upper limit on strength and size. This has very little effect on gameplay because the difference is made up in the other stats, and high speed is generally considered the more desirable or useful stat to have. It does change the gender of the dispersal you need to find to be your mate, but this is only cosmetic and has no gameplay effect.
    • Real female wolves, when pregnant, spend most of their time in a den, and also for the next few weeks after giving birth. The father brings her food during this time. After that, the she-wolf has to return to nurse the pups periodically until they are weaned. There is no official Word of God yet on whether any of this will be acknowledged or factor in game or not, just that it's something they're aware of.
    • In Anniversary Edition, they added the small detail of the female gradually growing a pregnancy bump during Slough Creek. The pregnancy does not hinder hunting or cause any gameplay difference or effect, and as said by Word of God, "she does not need any "pickles or ice cream."
  • Spiritual Successor: WolfQuest is essentially the same concept as the old Abandonware DOS game Wolf modernized.
  • Super Drowning Skills: In 2.7, pups die very quickly when in water, which is annoying because the player is required to cross a river at one point, and you only can hold a pup for a short time. Anniversary Edition will give pups a limited ability to swim to make this much less frustrating.
  • Variable Mix: There's several different music tracks for just exploring and gameplay in general, but there are specific ones for hunting, interactions with stranger wolves, coming across coyotes, and being near angry bears.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Aside from the predators you have to kill/chase off during the "Defend Your Pups" mission in 2.7, it's up to you just how many animals you harass, injure, or kill in Yellowstone. This even extends to your own offspring.
    • In 2.7 multiplayer, some "pupkiller" players deliberately drown one or more pups in Slough Creek during the cross the river mission, or intentionally allow a bear or other predator to kill them. This is allowed as long as the players clearly consent to this, as some players like to do this inoffensively as part of roleplay, but it can result in a kick or ban when done without the other players' consent.
  • Video Game Geography: Type 1, of the flat and rectangular variety. With Invisible Walls.
  • Video-Game Objectives: Which include finding a mate, protecting your pups, and escorting them to the other side of the map, among other things.
  • Wild Wilderness: Well, it does take place in Yellowstone.

     Wolfquest Anniversary Edition contains examples of: 
  • Alpha and Beta Wolves: You can't currently have a full pack of adult wolves because neither version of the game has reached that episode yet (it needs enough people to buy it to fund it), so there is no pack ranking system, but when the episode comes Word of God is it will be handled realistically; "Alpha" and "Beta" wolves are now considered mostly an outdated concept. Real wild wolves do not fight over who's the boss of the pack, the parents are in charge by default. Internal aggression, such as fighting and rank challenges, usually only occurs in captive packs of unrelated wolves.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: The other animals have some realistic behaviors:
    • Pups are being given a variety of animations to make them seem more life-like. They can chase their tail, whine at the player or the NPC mate begging for food, play bow, play with sticks, and use the same emotes the adult wolves use, among other things.
    • Buck mule deer and bull elk may circle and lock antlers with other males when in proximity to females. Bull elk can even take over a herd from another bull.
    • The other predators hunt. It's possible to chase a hare only to have a hawk or coyote snatch it away right in front of you. Eagles hunt fish, which they may accidentally drop, and you can eat or carry the fish. Foxes pounce after prey (which are not available to you). You can try and steal stranger and dispersal wolves' kills.
    • Eagles fly around and perch on trees.
    • Ravens are also present throughout the game world.
    • Elk migrate to different parts of the map depending on season.
  • Ascended Glitch:
    • Eagles were originally not intended to be able to drop fish, but could do so for some reason. The team decided to keep the bug and made it into a feature. You can carry the fish around, and eat it for a slight amount of food value (less than a hare).
    • "Floppy the Moose," a female moose loved by fans for being glitched in an amusing way, is retained in the Classic Lost River map.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The territory mechanic in 2.7 is frustrating because the player can spend an excessive amount of time just keeping their territory fully marked up instead of doing other things. It's being redesigned with the aim that it will be fun, more realistic, and not a chore anymore, even with the player being able to claim a much larger amount of land. For one thing, scent markings will take much longer to expire now.
    • If you need more time to decide if you want a specific wolf to be your mate or not, you can keep delaying the decision text box prompt for 10 minutes intervals until you decide.
    • Pups are going to be able to survive in water, and swim short distances when it is calm, to make the river crossing mission less frustrating compared to 2.7
    • There is a bark emote that will let the player order pups to go hide in the den. This will be useful when the player needs to leave for any reason, such as to hunt.
  • Audience Participation:
    • Players are allowed to make suggestions for new gameplay features on the Steam forums.
    • A poll was made asking players which new animal they would most like to see added to the game. Bighorn sheep won the poll, and they are intended to be added sometime in the future.
    • Players were allowed to suggest names for elk herds, and on the Lost River map, some names for fictional wolf packs.
  • Blog: A new video is posted usually every Thursday showing what the team is currently working on, or uncommonly other things, such as gameplay tips.
  • Colorblind Mode: The territory hexes' colors have all been carefully selected to be visibly distinguishable to color blind players, no matter what form of color blindness they have.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Your wolf may dream while it sleeps. Pictures of various animals are shown in silhouettes.
    • Eagles hunt fish which they may drop. You can carry it around like you do a carcass scrap, and eat it.
  • Excrement Statement: You need to claim your territory in Slough Creek, and being a wolf you can't do that with flags.
  • Event Flag:
    • Den location choice has some gameplay effects, such as more open areas attracting more eagles. The temperature of the area also matters.
    • When playing as a black coated wolf, if you choose another black wolf as a mate, in Slough Creek it may make the litter smaller, but more disease resistant. (This actually can happen in real life, see Shown Their Work below.)
  • Final Death Mode: The optional "Ironwolf" mode, in which all saving is disabled and the game ends when your wolf dies.
  • Game Hunting Mechanic: Vastly improves this mechanic. Elk are tougher, so the player is no longer able to ludicrously massacre an entire elk herd all at once. It is more difficult to take down large prey yourself, especially on the Accurate difficulty, so the game encourages the player to favor smaller prey (hare, elk calves, etc.) and carrion like a real lone wolf would, at least until you can find a mate to help you take down bigger prey.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: This version features the "Accurate" difficult level as the hard mode. In this mode, both you and the prey deal more damage to each other than normal, to reflect that real animals kicking and biting one another actually can severely hurt one another, not just lower a game's health bar. This difficulty level has been tuned with the intention that like real wolves, the average player has a ten percent chance or less of actually succeeding in an elk hunt. This will be even more of a nightmare with "Ironwolf" mode also enabled, but thankfully there's always the Easy and Challenging (medium) modes for the less hardcore/masochistic players.
  • Instakill Mook: Not to the player, but when the pups are released, eagles will be able to swoop down and take a pup. While the pup is still alive, this still acts as a one-hit kill as the pup is not retrievable afterwards. The challenge is to track the eagle and get close enough to drive it off before it can successfully do this. The player will be able to effect the eagle spawning rate by den location choice, as eagles favor more open areas.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Bears and Bison can run as fast as a wolf and can kill the player in just a few hits.
  • Microtransactions: Future updates, such as "Tower Fall", will also be individual paid DLC for both mobile and PC versions of the game. A completely updated remake of the Lost River map is planned to be released as DLC, although the Classic Lost River map (old map pulled directly out of 2.7 with only minor updates) is free.
  • Misplaced Vegetation: Very carefully averted, which is very rare for a video game. All vegetation in the game is actual plants native to Yellowstone adjusted according to how common they are in the park.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: In multiplayer, dating and mating roleplaying is not allowed at all because the game, while intended for and enjoyable for all ages, has attracted a large amount of kids and young players. Note that you can tactfully roleplay having a mate, but it must not be or turn into anything even remotely close to sexual, or involve pretending to date the other wolf/other player, and it must be handled carefully because this rule is taken very seriously, and may get your account disabled quickly if not followed correctly.Read rule here.
  • Permadeath: If your pups die, they stay dead. Your mate too if the option is enabled, as well as yourself if "Ironwolf" is enabled. Additionally, if your wolf advances to age eight, they become an "elder wolf." "Ironwolf" is automatically enabled with the additional chance of your wolf going to sleep and not waking up. Once a wolf dies of old age, they are unplayable and even old save games can only be "reminisced" in and cannot be overwritten.
  • Roar Before Beating: Sometimes elk herds stand their ground at first instead of running away from you, especially if you don't have a mate because as a lone wolf you are not as bad of a threat. It's easier to hunt them when they are running away instead of trying to gang up you, so among other things (raising the tail, harassing and biting them) the player can growl and snarl at them to encourage them to start fleeing.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • This version gives the entire game a much needed graphics upgrade. Nice wilderness, with beautiful trees (actual accurate species, each even with varied models!), rivers, mountains, rocks, lush grass, and your beautiful wolf. The other animals also have updated models. Watching elk running as a herd is just awesome! The map also is larger now.
    • While the Amethyst Mountain map is nice, Slough Creek's map is lush and greener, with wild flowers, beautiful den sights, a river that can flood, and it's not even done.
  • Second Love: Should your mate die in Slough Creek with permadeath enabled and single parenting turns out to be too much of a burden, you can shack up with a compatible dispersal wolf. This is something wolves have been observed to do even within days of a mate's death.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The game realistically portrays a wolf's life. The game areas (apart from Lost River) are based directly off real areas in Yellowstone - right down to small ponds and a dead lightning-struck tree. The packs - and pelt colors of wolves in those packs - are based on real-life Yellowstone packs (Druid Peak, Slough Creek, and Specimen Ridge in 2.5 and 2.7 which were packs that existed in 2004; Junction Butte, Lamar Canyon, and Mollie's Pack in ''The Anniversary Edition', which were packs that lived in the same area for most of the 2010s.) The customization options added in 2.7 are also based on real-life packs (the Lamar Canyon pack and Blacktail Deer pack), while the "limpy" customization option comes from a real-life Yellowstone wolf nicknamed Limpy. The team consults with wolf biologists such as Dr. Dan MacNulty of Utah State University and Dr. David L. Mech, Senior Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey and one of the most famous wolf biologists in the field.
    • The ambient bird song in the game is all from birds native to Yellowstone.
    • For The Anniversary Edition:
      • The team made a trip to Yellowstone, partly just to make sure the species of plants used in-game are accurate.
      • The pups, when released, will have a simplified genetics system determining coat colors, which includes a smaller litter size of potentially extra disease resistant pups if both parents are black wolves. This is is to reflect that in real-life the gene that makes wolves black also is associated with more natural resistances to some diseases, and also to reflect the recent discovery that when two black wolves mate each pup sired has a chance of dying in the womb.
      • Interacting with other wolves (both hostile packs, potential mates, and when they are released, pups) involves real wolf body language. This includes the typical wagging tails, snarling, and other well known behaviors, but also includes wolf body language most people are not familiar with, such as resting your chin on the other wolf's back as affection, or "airplane ears," which indicate uncertainty. The player will be able to bark softly to signify to the pups they need to go into the den and hide.
      • You may meet up to three dispersal wolves at the same time. It's not common knowledge sometimes multiple wolves (often siblings) will disperse from one pack and travel together for a time before each one eventually finds a mate or dies. Most people wrongly assume wolves always disperse alone.
      • In addition to wolves, the team researches the other animals (and vegetation) that are in the game to insure the most realistic experience possible (while keeping in mind good gameplay.)
      • Mule deer stott correctly, appear alone or in much smaller groups than the elk, and have a larger flee distance to reflect that they are more skittish compared to elk. They were also chosen to be in the game instead of white-tailed deer because they are far more common in the Northern range, which is where the game takes place in. The team went so far as to research the exact distance in meters a wolf can get to mule deer before they start to flee, measured it out in game and programed it in. (Though, it turned out to be bad for gameplay, so the distance was shortened.)
      • The stars in the night sky are accurate instead of being random like in many other games.
      • For greater realism and immersion, the ambient bird song has been vastly expanded upon, and ambient sound has been added for other types of animals. One team member made a list of every species of bird living in Yellowstone with sound files for each one, and these were added to the game, with the frequency they occur depending on how rare the species of bird is in real life. As for the other species, in the distance, you can now hear bull elk buggleing, coyote packs howling, and a type of squirrel chattering. You can also hear wind. The frequency any ambient sound occurs is being adjusted so it doesn't annoy the player, and you can turn this feature off if you want.
      • When Winter comes in-game, the ambient bird song changes because many bird species migrate south out of the park.
      • Aspen tree models have spots of missing bark at the bottom, to reflect that elk peel bark of them when they can't find enough grass in winter. They also occur in bunches because Aspen trees are connected at the roots; what appears to be multiple trees are actually one single tree.
      • All the trees and other vegetation are real species native to Yellowstone, with the amount adjusted to how common they are - it's not generic video game grass.
      • Faries Fall is a small, previously unknown waterfall that the team discovered on their own during their trip to Yellowstone. It was added to the game soon after.
      • The bald eagles make accurate sounds. They do not make that famous screech they are usually depicted doing in most works because that cry actually belongs to the red-tailed hawk. Sadly, in real-life, bald eagles do not sound very impressive.
      • Your wolf may dream occasionally when sleeping. While the game's depiction of it is highly speculative and stylized, there is evidence that animals can dream, including dogs and thus presumably wolves also.
      • Wolves, both the player and NPCs, have a degree of pitch variance, like real wolves. The player can customize theirs.
      • Seasonal changes are accurate. The snowshoe hare's coat changes from brown, to fading to white, to full white. Male elk, moose, and mule deer lose their antlers in the appropriate months. Elk migrate to better feeding grounds depending on season. Grizzly bears hibernate in Winter, so the player does not encounter them. In Slough Creek, fawns, and other baby animals appear in Spring. Slough Creek will also flood certain times of the year after the snow from the mountains melts into the river.
      • The player will need to find a den in April, the month real wolves look for a den. How sunny and snowy the area is will have a gameplay effect, with dens near cold areas not being ideal. Eagles will be more likely to attack pups in open areas, but it will be easier to fend them off because the view will not be as obstructed by trees.
      • Most people wrongly assume female wolves do not raise their leg when marking their territory. They actually do, and the game accurately reflects this (in Slough Creek, creating and maintaining your own territory becomes an important gameplay mechanic.)
      • In the customization panel, the player is not given the option to give their wolf blue eyes because unfortunately, adult wolves cannot have blue eyes unless perhaps very rarely, and the game is aiming for as much realism and educational value as reasonably possible.
      • You can tell whether a bison will charge or not by its tail position. They also will behave accurately; they are aggressive and don't flee from the player easily.
      • Herd composition is accurate. There are bachelor herds of just bull elk, and regular elk herds with just females, one bull, and offspring. The mule deer are found in much smaller herds. Coyotes have varied pack size. There is sadly no giant mega herds of bison because of performance constraints, but male bison can be found together in twos, which isn't inaccurate because when male bison get too old to reproduce anymore, they wander off from the large herds and stay with only another old male or two to keep them company.
      • The large boulders scattered on the ground are specifically glacial erratic boulders, which were carried there and left behind by glaciers hundreds of thousands of years ago. They are a common, distinctive sight in Yellowstone.
      • In multiplayer, when players separate too far from each other they disappear from other players' maps. When this happens, players can howl to place a marker on the map for a duration indicating where they are. This was added in because real wolves obviously don't know where other wolves are if they are too far away to see or smell them, so they howl to indicate where they are.
      • Wolves often hunt elk calves (and other baby ungulates) in spring, so likewise in Slough Creek during spring the player may hunt these, with this being implemented realistically: Calves do not have any scent yet in their early weeks, so the player can't find them this way; instead the player is clued in that there's a calf nearby by the presence of a lone female elk (female elk separate from their herd temporally when they have offspring) trying its best to be inconspicuous. Its calf is hidden in grass that is slightly taller than the surrounding grass. If the player gets close to the calf's hiding spot she will charge in to defend it. In a bit of depressing realism, there is a chance that after the calf is killed the mother may not accept the death and still try to defend it from the player.
      • The team contacted an adviser just because they did not know what kind of sound effect to use for the emote for calling the pups out of the den. They found out wolves make a distinct "squeaking-whimper" vocalization to call pups out of a den, as well as to announce they have food for them. They got permission to use a sound clip of this from a trail cam.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Similar to an RPG, right before your pups are born in Slough Creek, your birthday rolls around and you can choose to advance your wolf's age with a selection of a few perks that boost your stats and other things for the year. Of course, you could always choose not to and remain forever youthful.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • Is this to 2.7, as it is an entire remake of the game: a new codebase (since the previous one was a decade old and had become pretty tangled over the years), new AI, remade/bigger maps for Amethyst Mountain and Slough Creek (updated to reflect real-life changes: the burned region in Amethyst Mountain is now a growing forest, and as the packs that appeared in the original game have since died out in real life, they've been replaced with more modern packs), updated graphics, new animals to hunt, and more.
    • The first version of the game required you to interact with NPCs wolves in the "social arena." This consisted of walking up to them while they were standing statically in their territory, and interacting in a turn-based fashion by selecting "dialogue" options in a menu and then the NPC reacting with violence, submission, or accepting you as their mate. Needless to say, this was considered bad. 2.7 made some small upgrades to this system, but Anniversary Edition completely threw out the "social arena" concept. Now the NPC wolves actively roam and maintain their territory guarding it and hunting, and interact with the player in real-time when fighting and with either using various emotes, like raising the tail in dominance. They may try to steal kills from the player or vice versa. The dispersal wolves NPCs (potential mates) also now actively roam and hunt, interact with each other and the player, and courtship with them also involves the real-time emotes.
    • Slough Creek contains an overhaul of the territory claiming mechanic in Anniversary Edition. 2.7 gives you a unrealistic tiny half-circle that needs to be constantly maintained. Anniversary Edition lets you choose anywhere in the map to claim territory. Protecting it from encroaching stranger wolves becomes important. If you try and ignore them, they will gradually take yours over, and can advance their territories until they take the entire map, leaving you with no safe zone.
    • An completely updated Lost River map is planned, with such things as the size being adjusted to fit in better with the other larger maps.
  • Wintry Auroral Sky: The aurora borealis can be seen sometimes at night. It actually can be visible in Yellowstone in real-life on a clear sky, but only rarely and faintly.

     Wolfquest 2.7 and prior contains examples of: 
  • Ascended Meme:
    • A fan-nickname for a particular dead tree in the game - the one on the far bottom-right of the Amethyst Mountain map, surrounded by a forest of live trees - was the "Moontree". The Lost River map acknowledges this by having a movie poster on the cinema advertising a movie called "The Moon Moon Tree", combining both the WolfQuest community's meme and the more widespread Moon Moon meme, and showing a wolf near a dead tree.
    • Similarly, a movie poster with a bear and the words "Bob's Angry" was added later on, in reference to players frequently nicknaming the grizzly bear "Bob".
  • Artificial Stupidity: Prior to the release of Slough Creek, your mate was pretty much useless. All it would do was follow you around, and run in circles.
  • Autosave: Added in 2.7.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears are dangerous and can kill you in about three or four hits, but at least as of 2.7 there’s a 20% chance of scaring them off each time you bite them.
  • Beating A Dead Player: In older versions of the game, bears would continue to attack your wolf once they killed him.
  • Brick Joke: In 2008, when someone asked on the forum if there'd be any other animal games in the style of WolfQuest, WQ Project Coordinator Michelle joked that the team thought "SlothQuest" could have some exciting gameplay. In 2015, the Lost River map was released, and in the abandoned town you can find some defunct arcade games named SlothQuest.
  • Camera Lock-On: A full-screen lock-on occurs when your pups are in danger from a specific predator - can be skipped by the player.
  • Camera Screw: Can happen sometimes, but 2.7 improves it a lot.
  • Death from Above: The golden eagle is an unusual enemy in that it flies, and therefore is unable to be chased away before it dives down to scoop up one of your pups.
  • Death of a Child: Your pups are definitely vulnerable and can be permanently killed by starvation, predator attacks, and even you.
  • Drop-In-Drop-Out Multiplayer: As long as the player who started the pack doesn't leave.
  • Easter Egg: Giving your wolf a radio collar may randomly trigger planes flying overhead.
  • Escort Mission: The final one - taking your pups to the rendezvous point.
  • Experience Points: Earned by killing things, interacting with enemy wolves, and marking territory. Earns you things such as a bonus den choice, one of your pups being pure white, and the ability to name your pups. As of 2.7 it is required as part of the game itself: a certain number are needed in order for dispersals to start appearing in Amethyst Mountain.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: You have the option to make your wolf sleep until a different time of day.
  • Freeware Game: The 2.5 version of the game remains free (though the text chat of 2.5 has been killed off due to an agreement with the Minnesota Zoo, leaving only phrased-chat and no-chat options.)
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The early versions of Amethyst Mountain, before Amethyst Mountain Deluxe was released, had some of these:
      • The infamous "Circles" glitch in Multiplayer happened frequently: all players' wolves would suddenly stop moving properly - they would either walk slowly in a perfectly straight line (unable to turn), or run in circles. The only way to fix this was leaving the Multiplayer game.
      • One patch caused wolves to get stuck in the elk-biting position, standing on their hind legs and losing their stamina, making it hard to move and impossible to eat or do anything else.
      • Another patch mixed up the pelt colors and names of the wolves in various save files if there was more than one save file on the same computer.
    • A common complaint about the Lost River map is how easy it is to get stuck in literally any set of stairs. The only way to escape a stairway once you're stuck in it is to reload the game.
  • Ghost Town: A major feature of the Lost River map.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: A wolf can be near death, but eating a good quarter of an elk or so brings it back to good health in a matter of seconds.
  • Idle Animation: Your wolf will eventually sit down and... lick. Your wolf's mate always remains standing when idle, but will occasionally wag its tail. Pups may bow down in the "let's play" posture, among other things.
  • Instant Death Bullet: All it takes is one gunshot in the cattle ranch to instantly kill your wolf.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: When your wolf sleeps, you can plan what time to wake up in. This is mostly just an aesthetic thing, though elk won't detect you as easily at dawn or dusk. This was dropped in 'Anniversary Edition''. You still need to sleep, but you can't set the time you wake up.
  • Microtransactions: While the PC version contains the full game of 2.7 (Amethyst Mountain, Slough Creek, Lost River, all customizations, and multiplayer) for one price, the mobile/tablet version gives the demo for free and offers two microtransactions ("pelt options", which includes all customizations beyond the default 5 pelts, and "full game", which includes Slough Creek, Lost River, and multiplayer.) The total of the two microtransactions comes out close to (slightly less than) the PC game's purchase price.
  • Mook Bouncer: Enter the southern territory when trying to bring your pups to the summer rendezvous point, and one of their pack's wolves will run up to you and you'll be teleported outside their territory, usually a considerable distance toward the direction opposite the one you're trying to go. As of 2.7, stranger wolves now run up and "greet" you at their territory border should you cross it. This merely results in your wolf taking a few steps back and being warned to return to your pups before any stranger wolves get at them.
  • New Game+: Experience points allow you to unlock special abilities and things such as the ability to name your pups, how efficiently you mark your territory, a secret 4th den, and a "white" puppy (who, as of 2.7, is no longer pure white but instead just a noticeably lighter colour than its siblings). In 2.7, experience points are connected to individual wolves, not to save files, which means you can play through the single player campaign again and again with the same wolf, gaining more EXP for it each time you do. Rack up enough EXP for that wolf over time and you'll eventually unlock everything.
  • One-Hit Kill: Being shot at the cattle ranch results in your wolf dropping dead instantly.
  • Power Up Motif: There is a little chime in Multiplayer when players successfully complete a Pack Rally to get a temporary strength bonus.
  • Respawn Point: In Multiplayer, it's a short distance away from where you died.
  • Save Point: Any time except when a stranger wolf is nearby (due to the fact that many glitches were caused by saving in or near a social arena).
  • Skybox: Has different ones for each map's four times of day.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The golden eagle up to 2.5. No matter how many times you chase it away, it will come back. It's less frequent in 2.7.
  • Tuckerization: Many locations and buildings in Lost River are named after developers and beta testers. A full list can be found here.
  • Updated Re-release: 2.7 was this to 2.5, with updated graphics, a new map, an achievement/account system, tons of bugfixes, and some other updated features.

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