Genre: Fighting Developer: A2M Publisher: 505 Game Street Classification: MA15+ Release Date: 15th Jul 2010 Platforms:
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Is it just me, or is there something inherently appealing about taking something cute and cuddly and making it insanely wrong, borderline reprehensible? It's like when Crank Yankers took the Muppets and made them filthy prank callers, or how Robot Chicken pokes fun at many of the toys we grew up with by using said toys. There's something that just resonates - an almost involuntary chuckle, where you cover your mouth surprised, sheepishly look around
and then bellow uncontrollably.
It's that illegal laugh that made Fat Princess so popular and had me barely able to contain my excitement at the prospect of Naughty Bear. The premise is quite simply fantastic. Unfortunately, its execution is shoddy at best. Looked down upon, laughed at and scorned by his brethren, Naughty Bear can'ts takes no more! An overlooked invitation to a party is the straw which will break his playmates' backs. Thus begins this tawdry tale of revenge, as Naughty Bear wreaks havoc upon his former buddies, torturing, trapping and tormenting them in a multitude of ways, though true torment comes to the player having to negotiate through this twaddle.
Set in a Play School style - proper British voice over - fantasy world filled with all manner of teddy bears, Naughty Bear appears to have a strong foundation to build on but the pieces just don't fit. The game looks extremely average, and that's being generous. Even the Wii can produce something sharper - I get that it's a stylised look but it could barely [You're not funny - Ed] hold my attention.
The voice-over artist is trying to be a smarmy version of a lovable narrator, but instead comes off rude, condescending and offensive in all the wrong ways. I was hoping for something along the lines of Stewie from Family Guy and was left more than a little disappointed - and if I hear him say "naughty" one more time I may just go insane myself.
The gameplay involves Naughty Bear coming across a group of houses, a car set in the getaway position, and at least one dock, populated by many other bears. By hiding in the bushes you become invisible, so you can scare them and watch as they bolt off, lay traps or sabotage various machinery to take them out, or do it the old fashioned way with one of the many hand to hand objects (baseball bats, axes, katanas, machine guns) for a finishing flourish.
You can also scare other bears to the brink of insanity so they top themselves, which has genuinely hilarious results the first few times, but gets real old, real fast - plus sneaking around to get them to that point really isn't worth the hassle. In theory it's not a bad system, but the roar Naughty lets off to frighten is identical EACH AND EVERY SINGLE TIME. To chain together massive combinations, you're recommended to scare and hit in tandem, but by the fiftieth time you hear him roar you'll be more than over it.
The level design is extremely unimaginative and extremely repetitive. Each episode involves you doing menial challenge while leaving your domicile, opening your gate, checking out a "new" area (which looks exactly like every other area you've explored) and then it's scare, kill, rinse, lather, repeat, head across a bridge, do the same to a semi-boss bear after taking out his protector cops/ninjas/marines/zombies/robots, stop any bear from escaping via car or boat, and destroy a certain collectible for an optional challenge, be it presents, badges, bird-cams or whatever.
By the time I'd reached the third episode, I had very little desire to persevere further. Each section is "lengthened" with certain objectives like racking up points against the clock or not getting hit, which ends up feeling more like busy work to keep up appearances. This is compounded by the lack of a checkpoint system, where you must complete the entire episode (all three parts) without dying, or go through the motions all over again, which greatly diminished the little desire I had to keep playing.
It's such a let down, because the potential is certainly there. Rather than have Naughty Bear scare from the bushes or pop out of closets, why not have jack in the boxes, masks, ghost costumes or anything prank-worthy - but with a vicious twist? It could have piqued interest and numbed the pain of the incredibly dull gameplay. In the end, Naughty Bear gives you the bear necessities, and very little else.
The idea is solid, and it reminds me of conkers bad fur day from the n64, however, unlike conkers bad fur day (which was a great game) this game is terrible, absolute rubbish. I'm not even sure how this game even managed to get released if anything it should have been released as an XBLA game for 800MS (if they were lucky, its not even worth that).
What would make the game better (besides a full refund on the purchase price and a giant apology from the creators);
More zones, lots more. Like at least another 10 or 15, each level should have you playing somewhere different.
Larger zones and more bears, the zones are tiny and cramped, this is probably why there's only a few bears in each zone. To make the gameplay more enjoyable they should take all the bear models, and shrink them 40-50%.
Timer and multiplier. Good in theory, annoying in practice. Players want to have fun setting up traps and killing the other bears in their own time, not feeling as if every episode is a goddamn time challenge, seriously!
Health. One word. Regeneration, there's not enough cakes on the island if you manage to get your plush arse shot the hell by the "good" bears.. so you eventually get to a point where its "oh well, mose well go set a land mine and then blow myself up on it because I'm going to fail anyway"
I could go on for a while here about how bad the game is and what they should have done, but the game isn't worth it.