I first saw the trailer for this game by accident. My initial impression took me back to the old Viva Piñata days. Collect them all ‘Pokemon’esque’ cuteness that is so addictive for the light-hearted gamer such as myself. A cute soundtrack and adorable voices, it didn’t take long to get hooked, especially when the story took on some twists and turns that were not altogether expected.
So, lets take a trip to the world of Bugsnax. Snaktooth Island is the home of yummy little creatures that are so sweet they will melt your teeth! You are a Grumpus journalist, definitely not the best in the business but darn if you aren’t passionate about your work. The world famous explorer Lizbert Megafig has found this amazing island of tasty creature and you are intrigued enough by what these little guys could be. So in the end, you take yourself and your job by the teeth as you head her way to interview her.
When you arrive in your balloon before you come across the first village, you crash. In the midst of the chaos, you meet the adorable Filbo who, with his low self-esteem and even lower self-confidence, is out and about trying to find a lost Lizbert and her partner Eggabell. He is another Grumpus who put his faith and trust in Lizberts vision for the island. Right away, this search sets off a chain of events for a mystery that needs solving. You progress through with the idea in mind of learning more about what the Bugsnax are and who are all the people who live in the village.
Your first aim is to interview all of the villagers and to do that you need to find them by completing various mini quests gather various tools you will need in order to find the Bugsnax. The gameplay itself is very quick to adapt to for all ages and skill levels when it comes to game controllers.
The game has captured the heart of all but one of the people in our household. The final person is more into hiding in her room with music on and doing artwork, so hopefully the developers won’t take it too personally. However, I do hope they would be pleased to know that they have managed to fuel a new obsession in our eight year old daughter and she was only too happy to answer some of my questions on her time playing the game.
So here I introduce you to baby Boyd aged 8 and her love of all things Bugsnax. She spoke of how she enjoyed the cuteness of the bugs themselves but also the sense of adventure that came from collecting all of the different types. The whole house can vouch for the fact that she has played the game a lot. Her own interest had been piqued in the game having watched me play it, she got inspired and was taken in by the sweet and naïve animations but also by the bugs themselves.
Now she has taken upon herself to create her own versions of Bugsnax with drawings all over the house and is now on play through number three of the game and setting herself various targets and challenges as she completes the game. And to be fair, she has has been very impressive. The ease of game play and the flow of the story has made it very adaptable to her style and skills. She has even managed to platinum trophy 100% this game which is a testament to the craft.
The developers have managed to create a universe and immersion that has completely absorbed an eight year old girl whose love is primarily ponies and panda’s. Looking at this, it would be an easy assumption to think that its a gentle smooth game targetting children and amateur gamers who don’t like anything too difficult. A completely fair assumption to make and one I would probably make if it wasn’t for the fact that I will now introduce you to a more seasoned gamer.
This is daddy Boyd aka Khazaboom, Youtube and Twitch streaming extraordinaire and well versed in most things game. At this point, he had watched me, he had watched baby Boyd and had been intrigued by the story. The very story I briefly introduced you that the more you progressed in, the darker the undertones became. These darker notes went straight over the head of little one but well and truly interested the horror game fanatic himself. He too had thought it was a cute little game but in the end, he was quick to pick up the subtle nuances that have interested adults and made it such a fascinating game for so many ages.
I really do not want to spoil the ending for the readers so I will skim over the details but I want to mention how the story managed to pull in a gamer who tends to look more towards an in-depth, hard story that it would be easy to immerse himself in. Yet this cute seemingly innocent little game has completely absorbed him and drove him to also 100% platinum complete the game. When I asked him what made him want to he explained how it was owed to the game itself. The ability and everything worked on that he states it would have been disrespectful to not, almost a dis-service to the game to not do everything.
The side quests, which if you want the best ending you definitely need to complete, the collections. The transformations and story development have are achievable but not easy. The game itself gives you the tools you need to complete it but really it is a giant puzzle and logical challenge you need to think outside of the box to attain complete satisfaction.
From a technical standpoint, the map isn’t overly large but Khazaboom expresses disappointment in the lack of fast travel and I completely understand that one. There are random shortcuts through the map that can make it easier to pass throughout and explore more. When you consider a trophy in the game includes collecting 100 Bugsnax or that is basically all of them, it makes sense to not have that fast travel that gamers have been spoilt with in the past.
There are so many arcs that it’s easy to spend hours playing on the PS5 which loads it sublimely and submerges you into the world with the dual shock controllers containing microphones. You all too easily become that characters and without giving any spoilers a sequel is definitely suggested. Both of our household Bugsnack adventurers are chomping at the bit for more and will more than happily play. For that matter, so am I. WE NEED BUGSNAX 2.0!!!!
Technical gameplay: 4/5
Overall rating 4/5