E3 2021 Preview – To the Rescue!
There are countless business management sims on the market, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an animal shelter simulator before. Yet here comes indie developer Little Rock Games to deliver just that with their first title, To the Rescue!. I had the pleasure of speaking with Olivia Dunlap, Lead Developer for Little Rock Games, with regards to what this game is all about.
In To the Rescue!, you play as a protagonist of your choosing that has just moved to a new town with their pet, which you can also select from multiple options. Right away you discover a lost puppy outside your home, which you then have to take in and find a home for (interestingly, this is based off a real life event with Olivia and her partner). This leads you to working at a local animal shelter, where you’ll have to manage the facility and the animals within.
There’s a surprising amount of realism when it comes to the tasks you’ll need to perform while managing your shelter. You’ll have to build kennels to house the animals, make sure they’re well fed with food they like, play with them and show them affection to keep their happiness up and therefore make it easier to adopt, expand your facility when it starts to get crowded, keep it clean, etc. A lot of thought has been put into the inner workings of running an animal shelter.
However, there is one aspect that might turn some players off. To the Rescue! features a euthanasia mechanic. Now before any of you get up in arms about this, allow me to explain the reasoning behind it. The team at Little Rock Games wants to bring awareness to the goings on in animal shelters. Yes you will spend time getting to know the animals and care for them, but there’s another side to it as well.
Unfortunately, many shelters get overcrowded or have animals that have been so traumatized that they’re unfit for adoption. This is the grim reality for many animals and they didn’t want to pretend like it doesn’t exist. They’re choosing not to shy away from the unpleasantness that many shelters have to face. Instead, they want to use this as an opportunity to educate people as what it’s truly like to run a shelter and hopefully encourage more people to adopt. Personally, I applaud their decision to take this approach. There is an option to turn off this mechanic too, if it proves to be to tough a thing for anyone to handle.
This brings me to what I think is the best part of this title. In addition to creating an adorable game with some truly surprising realistic elements, Little Rock Games is donating 20% of the profits to Petfinder. For those who may not know, Petfinder is an online pet adopting website that has helped place millions of pets in their forever homes. This is my favorite aspect of To the Rescue!, as they’re setting out to raise awareness and make a real world difference. This reason alone makes it worth buying, having a fun game to play is just an added bonus.
To the Rescue! will be available to play in the Fall of 2021.