“Kitten Squad,” a top-down twin-stick action game from designer Luc Berard, hit the Nintendo Switch Thursday, making it the first advocacy game from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to arrive on Nintendo’s console hybrid.
In the game, players take on the role of an elite team of kittens out to rescue a menagerie of captive animals, from orcas at SeaLand Marine Park to cows at dairy farms to elephants born in captivity. The game has players taking out waves of “animal-abusing robots” using weapons like yarn-ball guns and carrot launchers. They can also earn cat-eared coins that can be redeemed to dress up the kitten characters in an array of clothes, costumes, and PETA gear. There is no way, as of publication time, to purchase in-game items with real cash.
The game has already been downloaded 1.3 million times on PlayStation, Steam, and mobile, according to PETA.
“In ‘Kitten Squad,’ players liberate abused animals while also learning how they can help animals in the real world, such as by going vegan and boycotting the circus,” PETA Vice President of Marketing Joel Bartlett, said in a press release. “PETA is thrilled that Kitten Squad is now available as a free-to-play game on Nintendo Switch, where it will surely reach scores of compassionate players who enjoy standing up for justice.”
The game was designed by Benard, best known for “Eternity Child” and “Mecho Wars”, designed the game in collaboration with PETA and Sagency. The game’s missions are inspired by PETA’s real-world reports of animal abuse, including baby elephants who the group says were exploited by Ringling Bros. circus.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—has created numerous online games, including parodies of Pokémon and Super Mario Bros, as well as “I, Calf,” a new virtual reality experience that shows viewers what it’s really like to be a cow born on a dairy farm.