Editor Chief. Having previous experience in the industry as a games journalist for the past 5 years, Pedro started this new project with the team to deliver our take on the Gaming Industry. Fan of SP/MP games and a huge World of Warcraft nerd. Contact me at : [email protected]
Talkin' 'bout Bugsnax
I can’t say how many times Bugsnax has put a smile on my face, but the one thing I can tell you is that my friends cannot hear me anymore singing the Kero Kero Bonito Bugsnax single. When I first heard about Bugsnax I wasn’t very excited about it in the first place, however I liked the monster collecting premise and the promise of embarking on an adventure in an unexplored island.
But oh boy! I wasn’t ready for the number of smiles and the joy that this game would make me feel while playing. During a pandemic, this is the type of games we need. Bugsnax reminded me how important it is to have fun and feeling the joy of picking up a game and simply explore and do what you want.
Bugsnax is the opposite of Demon Souls and that’s definitely a good thing because in a console launch you need those two polar opposites.
Bugsnax is a joyful and fun experience that reminds you how exciting it was to get a next generation console. However, the game is much much more than that once you get to know the characters and the world they inhabit.
In the game you play as a sort of “current failing at it’s job” journalist that needs it’s big story. You proceed to ask your Editor Chief to investigate a remote island that goes by the name of Snaktooth. This island is inhabited by some cute creatures with wobbly eyes called Bugsnax. These creatures are a mix of bugs with food and will be the main focus of the story moving forward. Before you are sent on your way you take a look at a video by Elizabert Megafig aka Liz, a successful adventurer that called upon you to join them (Liz and his group of Grumps) in the island of Snaktooth, to see for yourself these amazing creatures.
These characters and the world are simply AMAZING. Each character features its own unique personality with their own views on the world and the characters surrounding them that with the story moving forward will EVOLVE, learn from their mistakes and become better persons, or should we say grumps? The voice acting and dialogue are insane for the studio that is making this game.
Bugsnax keeps you hooked to the game by its narrative, not just by the mystery, but also by how its characters interact with each other, using the player as it’s guiding hand.
If you sort of have LOST vibes from the couple of trailers you saw, you aren’t wrong, because as soon you arrive on the island Elizabert has disappeared and a “fight” went down in the town of Snackburg (your future main hub) caused its residents to leave and go their own way through the island. With this being said, you can immediately notice that the game will have you scatter the island to bring back the residents and find out what happened to Liz.
Once you start the game you will meet the very first Grump named Filbo who will immediately become your best buddy. He’s the typical nervous and sort of funny shy friend that we all have! And literally the only person that is trying to bring back everyone to the town.
The characters and dialogues are the major highlights in this narrative-driven game, you will feel right at home if you are a big LOST TV show fan, you will notice that certain characters will fall down on a certain category and its unique personality will win you over
With the story out of the way, let’s talk about the gameplay loop because at the end of the day this is how we interact with the game after all.
As soon as you start the game you are equipped with what every experienced journalist has, a journal, and its trusty camera. With the camera, you’ll be able to analyze the various bugsnax and the items around the world and with the journal you will be able to look at your inventory, quests, take look at the map, your Bugsnax “Pokedex” where you can take a look what you capture thus far alongside weakness and strengths.
Bugsnax is a game about self-discovery as there are no pointers in a map telling you where to go, reminding you that it’s important to read and hear what every character has to say and this means becoming immersed in this world. Throughout the island, you will encounter many different zones from beaches to deserts, to snowy areas and even forests! I definitely love the art style in this game and how each zone projects emotions on you as a player.
Stealth and planning are the major requirements to deliver a successful capture, watching out for the strength and weakness on the Bugsnax alongside adapting to the environment will test you
The “main gameplay loop” of Bugsnax is using your camera to scan the Bugsnax in the Pokemon Snap style and then proceed to use your cunning and the tools you have available to be able to capture “them Bugsnax”. After you manage to capture the Bugsnax that the residents required you will embark on a journey to help each and every individual in an effort to convince them to come back to town. After having these Grumps in town you will then be able to do what a journalist does best, which is interviewing with the goal of documenting who they are, why they came to the island and the 1 million dollar question of figuring out what happened to Liz
You start out the game with a trap that you can set on the ground to capture, however, it might seem simple at first but don’t get the wrong idea the difficulty spike will hit you sooner than you might think. With every major zone unlock with you will get two these may vary from jumping pads, a slingshot which will feature many types of different ammunition like tomato sauce, chocolate, hot sauce and more.
The secret to capturing Bugsnax, is the combination of tools and stealth at the end of the day. In the first few hours, you will go around trying to find out more about these creatures and how to approach them but by the end of the main story, you already become a master hunter!
The idea that I want to pass along here is that you need to plan your strategy depending on the bugsnax that you want to capture. This is the type of game that will push you to think outside the box to manage to capture each bugsnax, later in the game you will have to see the strength and weaknesses like we mentioned above so you can know how to approach each bugsnax.
Bugsnax will gradually increase difficulty with each zone, so it’s really important for the player to adapt to the environment alongside completing side quests to increase inventory space, finding out more about bugsnax, and unlocking those shiny trophies.
After you end up capturing the bugsnax that the residents have tasked you with, you will proceed to “feed” them this bugsnax, and with this comes the choices of which part of the body you will want to turn into the bugsnax you are feeding them. (some quests require you to do certain parts of the body to complete the quest)
The gameplay loop plays fine, however, there are some problems related to loading times on the Playstation 4 that becomes a bit tedious, for example when you go from the main hub to any of the other zones you will have a loading screen (It works in the same way as an arch stone in the original Demon Souls basically) which can become a bit repetitive after a few hours, especially when the game sends you across the island to search even further for specific Bugsnax.
Now that we have reached the part where we talk about loading times, it suffices to say that we have reached the Technical part of this review.
On the Playstation 5 the loading times aren’t a big issue nor the frame rate. However, the frame rate problem becomes an issue on the base Playstation 4 model which features an uncapped frame rate which is always below twenty-five frames per second. It seems like the team is already preparing a patch to fix this, however stay tuned for more.
On the Playstation 4 Pro model we also have uncapped, although this is one of those games that would benefit from having a 30FPS cap. Just like MediEvil, the game suffers a bit on the frame pacing side. Frame rate aside, the game visuals combined with the art style are gorgeous. Bugsnax objective isn’t to be the graphical benchmark of the next generation or current hardware and that’s okay, Bugsnax art style compensates in that regard.
So to wrap things up, how is Bugsnax and why you should play it? Is it because of the narrative? The gameplay? The world building and it’s characters? It’s a mix of everything,
Bugsnax features an amazing emotional story, filled with unique characters with their own personalities which will make you smile while at the same time making you sad in the right times. You can expect fun and challenging gameplay loop who rewards players who like to explore and thinking outside the box. Bugsnax also reminds us how important is to make us smile during this tragic times
- Addictive & emotional narrative that keeps you hooked on the screen with it's characters
- Amazing world building and art style
- Challenging and rewarding gameplay
- Voice Acting & dialogue
- Framerate on Playstation 4 models
- Loading times can be tedious on the Playstation 4 models