Review – Naughty Bear

What would you do if all of your bear ‘friends’ left you off of the guest list to the party of the year? Would you sulk in a corner and try to forget about it or would you let your anger simmer and build until it reaches apocalyptic proportions and then make all of your ‘friends’ pay? If you chose the first option, stop reading now. If you chose the latter, then you are in for a treat.

You play as Naughty Bear waging psychological warfare against all things cute and fluffy. You engage in sadistic scuffles on all that crosses your path. Using an array of weapons, each with their very own finishing move, interactive objects and endless scare tactics, you create chaos on the Island of Perfection to earn Naughty Points as you inflict physical and psychological harm on your numerous enemies. This all-new scare-based points system allows you to win the most rewards for being truly deviant and maniacal. As the ill-fated bears become more difficult to harass and terrorize as the game progresses, the variety of scare-based attacks allow for a completely new experience each time you play.

There are seven levels and each level is split into four sub levels. There is only one basic map though, and the game can seem repetitive at times. The challenges themselves range in difficulty from easy to very hard, and the lack of a way to lock on to a target can get frustrating sometimes.

As you make their way through the game’s seven levels you’ll unlock special costumes that tyou can later use to your advantage in multiplayer campaigns. Competitive online play gives you the opportunity to experiment with new traps and power-ups. The Paint Trap covers opponents in fluorescent paint, preventing them from taking refuge from Naughty Bear by hiding in the woods. Power-ups like the Rage Capsule makes players stronger, while the Speed Capsule makes players run faster.

The multiplayer modes featured in the game include:

  • ASSAULT: Assault mode pits two teams of red versus blue bears against each other as one team attempts to destroy an iconic statue in the Island of Perfection while the other team tries to protect it. Each team rotates from either defending or attacking the statue in two-minute rounds. Teams can use any tactic, including the strategic use of traps, barricades or hiding in the woods, to prevent their opponents from destroying the statue.
  • CAKE WALK: In Cake Walk, players attempt to hold the Glorious Golden Cupcake for as long as possible. Holding the cupcake puts the player in a vulnerable position where he can’t attack or defend himself. A typical game starts with a mad dash to the prize and then, once someone has the Cupcake, it’s a battle to maintain possession as long as possible. The player that holds the Glorious Golden Cupcake for the longest period of time wins.
  • GOLDEN OOZI: The Golden Oozi of Doomness is a gun with unlimited ammunition, and the only way to gain points in this mode is by using it to kill enemies. This unique scoring system makes players work as a team one moment to destroy the current wielder, and then backstab each other to steal the prized gun. The winner of this mode is the player that racks up the most kills using the Golden Oozi.
  • JELLY WARS: This scenario features cooperative gameplay and intense strategy as there is no coming back from the dead in Jelly Wars mode! Three players take on the roles of Daddles, Cozy and Sunbeam and bring jelly desserts to a giant mixing machine in order to create the most awesome jelly of all time. Watch out though, as Naughty Bear will try anything to stop them! The bears will have to protect each other, transport delicate objects, call back up, repair objects and heal others while Naughty attacks them, disables their tools and hides their jellies. The winner decided when the bears collect five jellies if Naughty Bear annihilates them all first.

The graphics for the game aren’t exactly great, and the framerate can get choppy if too much is going on at any given time. More polish is definitely needed, but at the same time it doesn’t make the game unplayable, but it can get hard on the eyes. The kill animations are probably the best part of the game, and they vary from level to level and weapon to weapon. You can also scare a bear bad enough to make them commit suicide. Seeing a bear bash his own head in with a bat is priceless.

The music for the game fits the style of play, and the tempo picks up when you need to get moving. Using your own music isn’t an option for the PS3, but killing bears to AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ would be a blast. The voice over work is borderline childish, but fits the gameplay well.

Naughty Bear is a game that you’ll either love or hate. There was a lot of hype and publicity leading up to its launch, and it may have missed the mark by a little. The graphics aren’t worthy of a next gen title, but are more than a few steps up from a last gen game.

If killing bears in entertaining ways sounds like fun, you may want to give this game a try. Renting it first might be your best option until a demo is released, but don’t expect to finish the game quickly.