Game Title: Naughty Bear
Release Date: June 29, 2010
Developer: Artificial Mind and Movement
Available Platforms: Xbox360/Playstation 3
Players: Single and multiplayer modes
ESRB Rating: T
I will start off by saying this game should be filed under the “good ideas gone wrong” heading. I really, really wanted this game to live up to expectations but honestly it falls flat on its furry little face.
Naughty Bear is the story of a birthday party gone wrong and one of Perfection Island’s residents being left off of the guest list. Apparently they chose the wrong bear to leave off because the solution to this injustice is to scare, torture and kill nearly every living creature on the island. Using weapons that include ham hocks, swords and axes, golf clubs and other items laying around the island, your goal is to extract revenge on all that have wronged you (all while the narrator eggs you on). While most challenges are based on murdering everyone in sight, others include stealth and speed to meet the objective.
The environment of Paradise Island is based on the sandbox model that helped make Grand Theft Auto such a huge hit. The big difference here is that that they take what could be a huge world worthy of exploration and shrink it to the size of a few structures (houses, halls, etc.). The repetitiveness of the levels is quickly evident. While the times of day and cast of characters changes slightly from level to level, the basic structure never does: quick training level, second slightly harder level then the “boss” level to finish off a stage. This pattern quickly kills any fun that may have been present in the game.
The weapons in the game offer one the games more intriguing qualities. After beating a bear to near death, you are provided with the option of an ultra kill to finish them off. These stock videos are funny the first five times through but they quickly lose their mystique as well, I can only laugh at teeing of on a bears face with my 3-wood so many times. Another option is to scare the other bears into a state of insanity which forces them to kill themselves.
The game play itself is another major issue. I think the game actually made me car sick, I woke up today after playing for a few hours yesterday and feel like my eyeballs are spinning in my head. The camera darts around so fast that it is hard to control at times. The graphics tend to get choppy in spots and the camera placement itself obscures views near walls and in doorways. Nearly every time Naughty enters through the main door to start a mission, the graphics start skipping.
The game also comes with a multiplayer mode but I unfortunately could not get it to work despite attempts on multiple days. I spoke with other players and they seemed to be running into the same issue with MP connectivity.
Overall, I did have some good times with this game but they were all based on the novelty factor. I think that putting this game out as a full price, boxed release was a mistake that will cost them dearly as the negative press spreads. This should have been released on XBLA or at a greatly discounted price to make up for all that is wrong with it.
Grade: This game gets two Grumpy Bears