Naughty Bear as a premise was intriguing to say the least; you play as a Teddy Bear that is hated by the other Bears. This sends him on a murderous rampage through the village to scare and kill the other bears for revenge. Combined with the cartoony style and the game play trailers, the game had a lot of promise and it was something that I was watching with great interest.
Unfortunately the game ended up being a collaboration of a few good ideas, limited content along with bad execution. Needless to say it is disappointing, but that doesn’t stop it from having some good points, while not saving the game from mediocrity they may make it a guilty pleasure.
To put it bluntly, Naughty Bear is a bad game. Going into the game expecting more than a bunch of levels where you can go around and sadistically kill teddy bears in will end in major disappointment, especially in the story department. The game is presented in 7 episodes; all set within the one island with very little variation on what areas you enter.
Each Episode then has challenges that can be done in them, things like sticking to a time limit, not being seen, not being hit, make all the bears suicidal and even having to kill all of the bears. The problem with this is that the Episode is still the same sets of levels and characters.
The only time the game really switches things up are the placement of the environmental objects. One episode a power supply will be inside and another episode it will be on the opposite side of the building, or you will find different weapons and traps in a different area.
Where the charm starts to leak through is in how you can kill the bears. Sure if you are in a rush you can pick up a baseball bat and start cracking heads, but that is no fun because of the limited combo’s (1 per weapon) and it turns into a button masher. Compare that to sabotaging the phone line and barbeque, setting a trap (either a bear trap or a mine) outside of a door where the bears are hiding. When a bear finally comes out and gets snared in the trap, run over and kill him.
The other bears in the house will get scared and start barricading the doors, the whole time you combo meter is going up. Then one bear decides to go and fix the barbeque you can run up behind him and either burn him on the barbeque to scare him, or fry him completely. It is disappointing how few environmental kills there are, outside of a sink, toilet, fire, barbeque, phone, car, boat and power supply there is nothing in the environment to keep you interested in the landscape. Where things really start to fall down in appeal is the animations and in the barbeque kill the bear doesn’t look burnt at all.
Sure that’s a minor thing, but it is those minor details that we have become used to and that have become the standard that makes Naughty Bear feel rushed and it certainly doesn’t seem like it should be a full retail game. As a downloadable game these minor annoyances wouldn’t stand out so much, and the game is small enough to be downloaded. It would at least be one part of the game that works online, every match I tried to connect to would find player, pretend to connect and then fail.
A really nice touch that the game does have is the ability for the bears to escape then come back with a Police Bear or use the phones that haven’t been tampered with to call the police who will then come to the island. This gives you a much harder to kill bear, who has a gun. Once the Police Bear is dead you can use the gun, but it is so weak that is probably isn’t useful to anyone unless you want to see the special kill with the guns. I say guns because there are also Army Bears that appear in the later Episodes alongside, Zombears, Alien Bears, RoboBears and a bunch of other strange characters.
In the end Naughty Bear is in a strange place in my mind, not just from the sick and twisted game, but in the way it makes me feel. The game is built badly and doesn’t look good, but it can be fun. It all feels very similar after the first few levels and because of all that I can’t recommend anyone buy the game for anything close to the RRP. But give it a go, either when it drops into bargain bins, and to be honest it probably isn’t far away, or rent it. You may find yourself satisfied with what the game gives you for the short amount of time it lasts.