Rodeo Stampede is my favorite endless runner of 2016 so far, which is no small feat considering Rooms of Doom also came out this year and lets you play as a cat wearing another cat as a disguise. But one of my only complaints about this ultra-endearing collect-a-thon was that the animals were way more chic than my wrangler: the Celebirdy is a brilliantly blue peacock daring to wear red pumps, the Lawrilla somehow makes a barrister’s wig look not-ridiculous, and the Ballerina Hippo is pure princess. And yet, atop these majestic models, my lasso-wielding lass remained plain in an orange Henley and wide-brimmed cowboy hat. Yawn.
This week’s update, however, drastically tips the style scales. For the first time, you can not only change your character’s appearance, but unlock a wide variety of hats and costumes for her to don. These unlocks come from experience points gained via riding rare animal variations—such as the Celebirdy and friends mentioned above—which adds another much-desired feature to the game: a benefit to jumping on rare animals after you’ve already added them to your zoo. Since rarer animals earn you more experience, there’s a reason to repeat the secret challenges that make ultra-rare critters appear, like eating 30 animals on a single lion to unveil Le’ Ion Chef.
The outfits you can unlock vary in complexity, from a different hairstyle like the spiky “Giddy Up” to an entirely new costume like the helmet-, cape-, and sword-bearing “Spartan.” To earn all the different items, you’ll need to ride rare versions of every animal: each type of creature, such as lion, hippo, alligator, etc., unlocks specific items as you level up in their area of expertise. So if you want that Spartan outfit, you’ll need to get riding buffalos in the Savannah, while elephants will help you earn the regal Crown ensemble.
Not to be outdone by their human conquistador, every species in the game has also received a new rare skin to discover and tame. These seventh variations are only discoverable once you’ve upgraded the related animal habitat to level nine, so it will be an expensive challenge for most players. If all the new additions are as ridiculously charming as the seventh buffalo—a racing-striped, spoiler-decked “Bufferari”—I’m willing to shell out the in-game cash.
This update also adds one more highly-requested addition: the Mission Mule, an IAP that gives players unlimited missions without waiting or watching ads. Previously, the critical coin- and boss-earning missions only appeared every few hours, unless you watched an ad to earn a new one. Since you could easily complete one (or more) mission on every run, this resulted in a lot of non-mission downtime. This IAP essentially offers a premium version of Rodeo Stampede, since it’s priced at $5.99 and does away with almost any need to watch ads (especially since the in-game continue can now be purchased with coins instead of ads, too).
The now extra-fashion-packed Rodeo Stampede is still available as a free download.