For many people, “transformation” in the context of fiction calls to mind a shift in species. From fairy-tale witches turning people into frogs and Beasts to more mild transformations into anthropomorphic (anthro) animals, it’s a frequently recurring theme. With the rise of the furry subculture, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see it increasing in mainstream popularity, especially in video and tabletop games. So here are, ranked in no particular way, the top 10 furry transformation games!
10. The Elder Scrolls (series)
The Elder Scrolls is a long-running and influential series of western RPGs, set in the fantastic continent of Tamriel. It’s known for using just about every fantasy trope and device known to man and then some, often reinterpreted. As such, it shouldn’t be surprising that they’ve included transformative content! Though the games introduced the ability to play anthropomorphic characters in the third game, Morrowind, when the Khajiit and Argonian races were changed from human variants to cat and lizard folk respectively, lycanthropy has been around even longer. Starting from Daggerfall, the second game, player characters can catch this disease from a werecreature’s attacks. In that game, you could become a werewolf or a wearboar, and Morrowind and Skyrim kept the wolf form. They look fantastic, hulking beasts with massive strength, and come with incredible transformation sequences. However, they have drawbacks in their first two appearances. In particular, you need to hunt down innocent NPCs at the behest of the demonic Prince of werecreatures! Skyrim puts a much larger focus on the transformation, as you can become part of a fraternity of fighters who are all secretly werewolves. There’s an entire questline dedicated to stopping brutal werewolf hunters. Even better, there are no real drawbacks this time around, so feel free to wolf out as much as you want, and the Dawnguard DLC even allows you to gain skill upgrades for your werewolf form! Many other werecreatures exist in the games’ universe, including crocodiles and bats, but sadly they’re not yet playable. Perhaps they’re saving that for later installments.
9. Bloody Roar (series)
Transformation into alternate forms isn’t uncommon in fighting games, but this series was built entirely around the furry kind! The series revolves around people known as “Zoanthropes”, with the ability to transform themselves into stronger, deadlier anthropomorphic animal forms. Now, a fighting game lives and dies on its ability to create interesting and varied characters, and they deliver here. Every one of them has a creative anthro form, even those animals you wouldn’t otherwise associate with danger. While ‘classic’ animals such as wolves, foxes, rabbits, and lions are in there, when was the last time you saw a threatening anthro mole or chameleon? What makes it stand out is that the transformation is more than cosmetic; the alternate forms have unique moves and powers that liven up what might otherwise be a forgettable slugfest. Since you can’t maintain your beast form forever, timing your TF and budgeting the time spent in it becomes key to victory. The storylines of these furry transformation games, or what there is of them, take the subject very seriously, too. That’s not to say it’s without humor—there are plenty of gags, particularly in certain characters’ movesets. Sadly, the series ended up being only a quintet, with the last game releasing in 2003. They’re still well worth a play even now, though, if you feel like a bit of anime animalistic rage.
8. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
The Legend of Zelda: the classic Nintendo adventure fantasy series is no stranger to transformation. From be-tuniced hero Link’s transformation into a defenseless pink anthro bunny in A Link to the Past, to his later transformation sequence into a noble wolf steed for the impish Midna in Twilight Princess, there are more than enough changes to go around. Majora’s Mask, for the Nintendo 64, was the first to truly make anthro TF a key gameplay mechanic. In this adventure, Link ventures into an alternate dimension. Finding things strangely familiar from his previous adventure, he must use time travel prevent the moon from colliding with the world in three days’ time. The villain responsible for this is Majora, a malevolent spirit sealed inside a mask, and powerful masks are a motif. The key masks have the spirits of defeated heroes bound into them, and allow Link to borrow their forms. Their races are the wood-sprite-like Deku Scrub, the ogre-ish Goron, an ancient deity opposed to Majora, and most relevantly, the anthro fishman Zora. These, the recurring the nautical race of the series, have a sleek, shark-like design, and transforming into the form of the mask’s owner lets Link swim swiftly. What’s more, this one was a Zora rock star, and that’s just awesome. Shifting forms as appropriate over the course of the adventure is crucial, as each possesses excellent abilities, and there are some great transformation cutscenes. (Notable is the one after Link is cursed into one of his transformations!) It’s unlikely that the series will stop putting out new ways for Link to change form and save the day.
7. Jak and Daxter (series)
You don’t get much more upfront about transformation in a game than transforming one of the title characters into a furry critter at the beginning. The much-loved series of sci-fi platformers for PlayStation consoles prominently features the race of small creatures known as ottsels. Appropriately enough, they resemble otter-weasel hybrids, and tend to display the attitudes of such creatures: Daxter is a loud and amusingly outspoken sidekick to Jak. Of course, he doesn’t start as one, and the plot begins with a mishap involving some transformative goop that leads to a wider conflict. Over the course of the series, several more people find themselves stuck as members of the cuddly(looking) race, for better or for worse, and we learn a thing or two about them in the process. An interesting aspect of it, though, is the emotional arc Daxter goes through—at first repelled and horrified by his transformation, he gradually grows to accept it and sees its usefulness. Ultimately, it’s a rather uplifting story within a series that was already a lot of fun.
6. Altered Beast
What link does a Roman centurion have with magical, empowering transformation into anthro werecreatures? Not a whole lot, but that doesn’t stop Altered Beast from joining the list of furry transformation games or from being a blast to play! As we’ve mentioned, this side-scrolling beat-‘em-up set in ancient Greece (yes) sets you on a track to slay monsters and beasts. It also lets you become one by defeating enemies and absorbing “spirit orbs” they drop, hence the title. There are slight differences across the various versions, allowing you to get more transformations. However, in all of them, the main form is a werewolf, and the one with the only really detailed transformation. This feat was quite impressive for that early era. The plot is minimalist, but the combat is definitely fun, and building up to a powerful furry transformation is a great feeling. It really does seem like an upgrade, as in addition to the increased power of the attacks, we get to watch our heroes becoming buffer beforehand and finally morphing. And really, in any game, retro or not, beating up mythological monsters is more fun if you are one.
5. The World of Darkness (series)
Technically, this is a pair of settings (now known as the World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness) for tabletop games published by White Wolf. The games revolve around playing as a number of different mythical monsters or empowered people (such as vampires, werewolves, and mages) with their own unique powers. Transformation, both anthro and feral, shows up quite a lot of times among these powers! Naturally, as the most direct of furry transformation games, Werewolf: the Apocalypse and Werewolf: the Forsaken put it front and center. They allow the player lycanthropes to shift into multiple forms in varying levels of anthro. The former, though, also allows you to play as one of quite a few other werecreatures in both Western and Asian forms, such as rats, bears, and foxes. Changeling: the Dreaming and Changeling: the Lost have the Pooka and the Beasts; respectively, tricksters fae who can shapeshift into a single animal form, and human captives who were transformed into animals by more malevolent fae (and remain somewhat anthro) in the latter. And, for that matter, there’s almost always some mystical power to transform yourself into an animal in whole or in part: mages have shapeshifting magic, of course, and even vampires get in on the act by becoming wolves, bats, etc. One type even becomes progressively furrier over time! It’s a simple system to learn and with a great deal of customization options, as well as an active playerbase even for the older games. Many of the older editions can be found under the Onyx Path publisher name as well, such as on DriveThruRPG.
4. World of Warcraft
Ah, the genre-defining fantasy MMO by Blizzard. Where would online gaming be without it? As you might expect, there’s plenty of both furry and transformation content to go around. Races include the Native American-inspired minotaurs known as the Tauren, and the sadly unplayable Vulpera (adorably manic fennec foxes). As far as transformation goes, notably, the Druids get access to animal form (as in D&D, see below)—you can assume the shapes of various animals to bolster your combat or travel abilities. Cats, seals, bats, and more are all at your command, and there are other spells that will turn you or your enemies into creatures great and small at your will (want to be a mammoth to stomp? You can). The expansion-introduced Worgen merit special mention, being a race of redeemed werewolves, and for having a memorable racial introduction. During a siege on the city of Gilneas by hordes of feral Worgen, you are infected, and it slowly becomes worse and worse as you conceal it, until you’re locked into a stronghold with those you need to keep safe… Indeed, it takes a lot of redemption. The game may have been out for a long time, but there’s always something worthwhile in there.
3. Fire Emblem (series)
Another long-running series, this line of turn-based strategy games include quite a few different takes on fantasy creatures, and naturally that includes shapeshifting races. Best of all, given the massive character count in almost every game, you can almost always recruit at least one member of any of them to your side (sometimes with romance options—another staple of the series). Almost all of those who shapeshift do so by changing into a fully anthro or feral state to attack, then reverting to a furrier state for everyday activities…and there are numerous species to choose from. Manakete dragons in many games, for instance, change between seemingly-elven humans and the fire-breathing reptiles, while Laguz from Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn change into others, like cats and birds. Awakening meanwhile introduced the taguel, a now-mostly-extinct race of rabbit shapeshifters who look far more animalistic than the laguz, as well as an intriguingly alien view of humanity. Proving that the games’ designers were on a roll, two more species were introduced in Fates: Kitsune (naturally, Japanese-styled foxes) and the bestial werewolf Wolfskin. Some of them might have the Japanese tendency to go easy on the actually “furry” aspect of their more human forms, but the trend towards being furry transformation games has been going upward and there’s a lot of story behind many of them, particularly the Laguz.
2. Breath of Fire (series)
If the name of the series led you to guess that it’s about dragons, you are correct! But that’s not all it’s about. First of all, the series earns points for depicting humankind and anthros living alongside each other and even intermarrying from time to time. It’s a classic JRPG franchise through and through, though the stories have varied from traditional RPG fare through to grim, gritty techno punk action. Numerous characters over the course of the series, including of course the protagonist (traditionally a blue-haired youth named Ryu), who gets increasingly powerful transformations into his draconic form as a given game goes on. There’s also often a tribe of winged humans, and they have been known to transform themselves into birds. You could definitely come for the transformations, and stay for the memorable party members; they include a recurring naga sorceress, and in one instance a feline Thundercats-like martial artist. The tones may not be the same in each game, and some releases have quite a few problems with translation, but who doesn’t love turning into a dragon?
1. Dungeons & Dragons / Pathfinder
Yes, these are two entries in one. The original and “world’s greatest” tabletop roleplaying game is chock-full of transformation. So is what is essentially a spinoff game, Pathfinder, branching off from D&D’s edition 3.5, if not more so! Whether or not you’re a magic user, you’re likely to use or to run afoul of the many spells and effects that can turn you into an animal or an anthro. Chief among them is the Polymorph school, which alters targets (willing or not), and the infamous baleful polymorph which can zap foes into harmless small creatures. Some races and classes in both games (and in multiple editions of D&D) also innately possess shapeshifting, such as the original Druid, the Shifter of the Eberron campaign setting, or Pathfinder’s kitsune. Intriguingly, some spells also allow you to make normal animals into anthropomorphic versions of themselves, or even turn intelligent animalistic monsters into humanoids. Once again, a huge variety of werecreatures is featured, with rules sometimes given for player characters so “cursed”. As both games are nearly endlessly customizable beyond the huge amount of content they have already, you can likely find or add as many as you want. There’s also a lot of furry home-brew content, some good examples of which can be found on the D&D Wiki and the Pathfinder System Reference site. Out of all the furry transformation games on this list, these ones really allow you to build a character and then transform them to your heart’s desire.