Based in London, UK
International Racing Squirrels is a race management sim that has the player running an errant gang of misbehaving squirrels, who behave a bit like glamorous footballers. The title was produced by indie studio Playniac for Channel 4 Education. It is set in the dark underworld of the international squirrel racing scene. Bribery, debt, hotel room trashing, gambling and secondary careers in reality TV or the pop charts are rife. The game was inspired by an article in Scientific American that compared the running speeds of different animals and concluded that squirrels were faster than stampeding elephants. In the up-tree urban training facility players purchase squirrel homes that include a repurposed road cone, an abandoned cardboard box and a derelict birdhouse. They build up their team from a selection of bizarre characters including Nano Norah, who can update her Facebook status from the track just by thinking it; Hurricane Harry, who came from under the sea and has a robot leg; and Hissing John, who some say may be a snake in disguise - but no one dares to question. The squirrels train on running machines, lift weights, receive massage and practice the ancient martial art of Squdo. Time in the gym improves their stats, and stats win races. When your team's ready, it’s off to the racetracks on their Sciuridae Air private jet. From jungles to futuristic cities and streets to deserts, the squirrels face a barrage of opponents who start off easy but get harder as the game advances. Players watch the race progress from above and, as team managers, dive in with mini-game boosts when it’s time to overtake. The strategic deployment of power-ups, from an acorn grenade to a rocket booster, can also help the team win. A wild, live-generated commentary follows the race’s progress and the squirrel cam shows your squirrels’ faces. You’ll get a boost on special sections of the track if you have the right stats.
Playniac worked with the Money Advice Service, a subsidiary of the Financial Services Authority, to model real-world finances in the game. It features accurate recreations of current accounts, savings accounts and credit cards with interest rates, penalties and fines. Managing your money and understanding real-world finances is key to success in managing your race team. You can play cautiously and save up a huge pile of acorns, take risks and possible win even more or throw caution to the wind and end up totally overdrawn, selling your homes and squirrels to stay afloat.
Thrash Lab interviw YouTube
IndieStatik interviw YouTube
Indie Game Reviewer interviw YouTube
PLAYR interviw YouTube
Albotas interviw YouTube
Mentioned in UK Parliament! YouTube
Logo & Icon
Awards & Recognition
- "IndieCade East 2013 Official Selection" New York, USA, 2013
- "Game Connection America 2013 Selected Projects Finalist" San Francisco, USA, 2013
- "IndieCade 2012 Finalist" Los Angeles, USA, 2012
- "GameCity 7 Featured Game" Nottingham, UK, 2012
- "Develop Indie Showcase Finalist" Brighton, UK, 2012
- "Bronze Medal Winner, Serious Game Awards" Washington, USA, 2011
- "Flat out brilliant."
- IndieCade 2012 judges, Website
- "Sufficiently whimsical."
- Steve Russell, creator of Spacewar!, Wikipedia
- "A perfect pick."
- Games TM, Website
- "Remarkably slick, with a playful spirit and sharp wit."
- The Observer, Review
- "An absurdist skin stretched over a surprisingly deep management sim that hits that dark magic sweet spot of addictive gameplay."
- Turnstyle News, Review
- "An outstanding experiment in hybridizing genres (…) a truly clever experimental game (4.5/5 stars)"
- Indie Game Reviewer, Review
- "The cartoon style is eye-catching, and the gameplay is of the ‘suck you in and say goodbye to productivity’ variety. Boot up at your own risk."
- Huffington Post, Review
- "Aesthetically and functionally, it’s a well-presented game, with a sinister undertone behind the humour and apparent cuteness."
- Rock Paper Shotgun, Review
Request Press Copy
Please fill in your e-mail address below and we'll get back to you as soon as a press copy is available for you.
Alternatively, you can always request a press copy by sending us a quick email.
We were interviewed alongside other IndieCade finalists by G4TV here g4tv.com.
Electron Dance interview
Games podcast Electron Dance interviewed us here playniac.com.
Games podcast PressPlay interviewed us here playniac.com.
Playniac makes thinky games. We're a London-based studio that produces digital games on multiple platforms and experiments with game design in all forms.
More information on Playniac, our logo & relevant media are available here.
International Racing Squirrels Credits
Game Designer & Lead Developer, Playniac
Lead Artist, Freelance
Level / Content Designer, Playniac
Voiceover artist, Freelance
Squirrel and cat impersonations, Freelance