For fairly simple reasons, this is a pretty video game heavy list. However, other media may get through as well. Critters are small creatures that, typically, aren’t all that harmful. However we decided that there were two lists; one for conventionally adorable critters and one for oddly adorable critters. Today we’re focusing on the latter, where we look at slightly weird critters who you can’t help but smile at, so let’s get all fuzzy in this week’s Top 10.
10) Imp – Dungeon Keeper
The humble imp of the Dungeon Keeper franchise is one of the most important aspects. You can summon them with magic, you can slap them about the place! They also dig your dungeon out for you and gather gold and claim land in your name. Imps are hugely important in the world of Dungeon Keeper, so they’re absolutely everywhere, including in enemy keepers lairs.
The reason they’re oddly adorable, at least to me, is the fact they are so pathetic compared to everything else. Amusingly, you can possess them to do their work for them, but ultimately you’re more likely to possess a Salamander or a Vampire. Imps are important, they’re bug-eyed, they carry these pouches where they keep gold… And most importantly, when you pick one up, they make a struggling sound, until you let them go. Then you get the most gleeful “Yippee!” sound imaginable. So cute, for an evil critter.
It could be the vague resemblance to fraggles, the umbrella-parachutes, or the highly relatable way they panic and explode when in a high-pressure situation, or the way they’d rather hurl themselves to their death than go on through life directionless, no one to hold them back, free for just one horrifying instant… or maybe it’s the little blue smocks!
They look nothing like real lemmings, behave more akin to the fictionalised version portrayed by Disney and a shovel, and they have no sense of self-preservation. In other words, they’re as much rodents as Team 17s other famous characters are arthropods, but that doesn’t make us love them any less, and screw the rules! They have green hair. The huge numbers, their minute size, and their helpless vulnerability, and the fact that gameplay literally compels you to look after their physical and wellbeing as you escort them to their goal, all contribute to a general sense of sweetness about the poor, doomed, faux-rodents.
The ultimate mushroom men, Goomba are strange in that they are literally mushrooms with feet, big mouths and eyes. I think that’s enough reason for them to fall on the oddly category, but they’re utterly adorable critters too. Their sole purpose in the Mario games is to walk around with a bit of a grumpy face, hoping to bump into Mario to get the kill. Of course, that rarely works out.
Goombas are everywhere in the world of Mario. The oldest games featured Goombas and they’ve always had a face on their silly little mushroom-y bodies. For the best too, considering Mario eats mushrooms for their growth properties. Nevertheless, these grumpy little mushroom folk are part of the appeal of the Mushroom Kingdom as a whole. No doubt we’ve not seen the last game with Goomba in yet!
7) Ghosts – Pac-man
The ghosts of Pac-Man are four different-coloured ghosts, each with their own little personalities. Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde all represent different personalities which affect the way they interact with Pac-Man in game. For instance, Pinky is known as Ambusher, where she’ll try and approach Pac-Man from behind. Clyde takes a random personality, which can be any of the three other ghosts – and so on.
This gives them all a massive sense of character in an otherwise limited game. The fact that they all are the exact same size and shape helps to add to their uniformity. Couple their uniform look with the fact they only have eyes, which look in whichever direction they’re travelling, these ghosts are cute. Oh, they also gain scared, worried little mouths, but only when they know they’re about to be eaten by the psychopathic Pac-Man.
6) Kuriboh – YuGiOh
Oh wow! How often do we drop YuGiOh into our lists? Magic the Gathering get’s all the love… and will be doing so later, but Kuriboh literally embodies the purpose of this week’s Top 10! It’s pure fluff with big eyes and oversized paws, and its whole purpose in life is to stop you from hurting. It is a fuzzy ball of love. And it comes in so many adorable varieties! Wings, rainbow, pure light, tiny knight, cybernetic, bandit, ball, dark magician cosplay, and immortal.
Oh, and adorable chibi version. Yeah! There’s a more adorable version of a ball of fluff with big eyes, and it’s just bigger eyes, and a tail with a big red bow. In a game with so many iconic monsters and creatures, somehow this sweet little ball of fur bested sorcerers and dragons to be as iconic in its game as Pikachu is in his own. Of course Little Kuriboh may have gone some way to helping the image… maybe not so much the cute-factor though.
They’re cute, and they’ll stay that way if you obey the rules. Ok, so past Gizmo the entire Mogwai race is nothing but sweet, fuzzy trouble with stubby little fingers that manage to cause a great deal of damage and inevitably manage to snatch up food at inappropriate hours. Gizmo is blameless of nothing more than singing sweetly at strange hours, falling into the hands of reckless caretakers, playing host to a population of monstrous and destructive demonkin, and being a rotten spoilsport who tries to never let them out to play!
And there’s a certain endearing quality to the Gremlin host when at full strength. Their antics aren’t universally malevolent, merely chaotic to the point of blatant recklessness, with a few… actually a lot of sadistic individuals who delight in terrifying, kidnapping, and occasionally mildly wounding and lightly murdering. But it’s all in good fun, right? No harm no foul apart from all the loss of blood, property damage, and general upset of basic civilized functions for a while. What right has Gizmo to deny us a bit of entertainment once in a while. It’s been a while, maybe it’s about time he took a bath.
4) Fblthp – Magic: the Gathering
Fblthp, pronounced “Fibble Thip” (as far as I can tell), is an adorable recurring creature who is absolutely lost. He is a homunculus who served the Azorius Senate for many a year, left to attend to his duties and this suited him fine. He would tend to the gardens, he would clean up and that was his life. Then, one day, he was made part of a mission, completely outside of his control and he became bait.
Fblthp was originally just a fun bit of art design for a card, Totally Lost. People fell in love with the little guy, with his one huge eye and his lost expression. Sure, he’s not conventionally an adorable little critter, but the expression and the shock written on his tiny little face just says it all. He was thrown into a situation he really didn’t want to find himself in – And this image conjures up an image of the type of cowardly little being that he is.
Plus, to be fair, those feet are as big as his entire body, so that’s not a safe working environment.
3) Poro – League of Legends
The Poro is effectively League of Legend’s cute little sheep. A group of Poro’s are known as a fluft and if you’re not already going awww at the prospect of seeing a fluft of Poro, I don’t know what is wrong with you? Anyway, they are literally a tiny little ball of fluff, with a massive tongue, cute beady little eyes and teeny little legs. Basically, like all weird but cute things, they’re a giant head with legs and a tongue.
Either way, Poro love to eat Poro Snax – A delicious little meal for the cute fluff balls. Poro hail from the Howling Abyss, hence their fluffy nature. These little creatures are League of Legends mascot, as well as being close friends to champions such as Braum. The Poro have a bunch of different skins as well, a lot of cameos in different game modes and are definitely cuter than Yordles… Just.
2) Purple and Brown
Classic animation from Aardman in their typical style, but in this case it’s a series of shorts about Purple, who is tall, and purple, and Brown, who is neither tall, nor purple. Dialogue is light, and yet there’s no issue communicating, especially when most of your motivation in life is gormless laughter and the vaguest interpretation of your sparse surroundings.
These dimwitted clay blobs are impervious to any and all forms of bodily mutilation, and their psyche is resistant to the worst of traumas, greeting every hardship with the same idiotic chuckle moving to raucous laughing no matter what damage they must have withstood. Must be nice having no endoskeleton. Or exoskeleton. Or tissue.
1) The Slime – Dragon Quest
Iconic, I think that’s the one word I would use to describe The Slime from Dragon Quest. I’d say most gamers have at least heard about Dragon Quest, but more importantly, The Slime is one of the more recognisable characters in gaming. Indeed, in Japan, The Slime ended up getting its own section on the Square Enix Japanese website, known as Smile Slime. There’s so much merch for this guy.
To think though, we call him cute but when you get down to it, he’s not very different to our number 2 pick, Purple and Brown. The reason we figured The Slime gets the edge is that it’s basically a much more refined, cuter version of Purple and Brown, which are already adorable. All things considered, apparently the cutest thing of all is, oddly, to just shove a face on an amorphous blob.
Aww, wasn’t that list adorable? Well we’re not quite done yet, as we have two more “critters” that we felt deserved a mention. Compared to the previously mentioned, these two are a fair bit more dangerous, but all in all, they’re still just so damn adorable and they’re not always harmful, I guess?
Squigs – Warhammer
If orks kept pets, it stands to “reason” that they would be roughly half hunger, half malice, contained in muscle mass and teeth with just enough limb and sensory capacity to actually quite dangerous without the need to be physically thrown – although let’s not write anything out just yet. Ranging in size from a less angry chihuahua up to a more angry bull elephant, with piggy little eyes, a snout, and space enough on the back for a grot saddle, or a place to strap a stick long enough to dangle the grots out front to make the Squig go faster on their stubby little legs.
Doesn’t sound like it belongs here? I loudly disagree. It’s an angry little frog-pig that just wants to eat everything in front of it, it starts off tiny and gets bigger as it eats all its brothers and sisters and trainers and the big guys in armour and all the cows. It’s hard to take something like that seriously even when it is permanently angry at the world and trying to messily devour whatever’s in front of it. They come in massive varieties, all of which are variants on eats everything, excretes something useful, or is a particular size for a specific use, like for cleaning teeth or carrying a fortress full of orks on its back.
Turrets – Portal
Maybe it’s the singing?
Simple in design, form and function in perfect harmony. A simple and easily transportable tripods with twinned automatic rifles that activate in accordance with a complex friend/foe system and motion tracking that recognises the presence of obstacles. They’re effective and deadly, all you could want from a stationary gun platform for defending a location temporarily, such as a military installation or fancy party. But Aperture Science goes the extra mile, that unnecessary touch of class that makes their product so much more desirable. Choose from a range of colours before purchase, and enjoy your turret’s customer service and professionalism as it courteously dispatches undesirables.
And left on their own in storage, in hidden little corners in your facility, they have a tendency to quietly collaborate, and sing together in complex harmonies and time signatures, whiling away the bloodless hours in the darkness.
Ah, that was nice. I feel better having seen so many sweet little critters going about their daily business. These little creatures and beasties have cute little faces, or they make adorable noises. However, I feel like we’ve oddly missed out on something. I wonder what we’re missing? Oh wait, I know, we haven’t yet spoken about next week’s list, so choose what we do next week in the poll below:
Now that we’ve felt all warm and fuzzy inside from seeing these little guys and girls, what do you think? Did we happen to forget the cutest critter, or did we capture most of the cute ones? What do you think of our spin on oddly cute critters? As ever, we love to hear from you guys, so share your opinions with us in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter. Until next week, take care Top 10 fans.