BUY IT FROM AMAZON: RIGHT HERE!
PLATFORM: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3
ESRB RATING: Teen
DEVELOPER: Artificial Mind and Movement
PUBLISHER: 505 Games
Naughty Bear was released last June to mostly negative reviews. The concept is simple- you’re a teddy bear who murders other teddy bears in a bright, colorful world that’s reminiscent of a children’s television show. Certainly humorous subject matter, and the actual stalking, trapping and killing of the bears made for some fun gameplay but endless repetition crippled what could have been a promising game.
Now Naughty Bear: Gold Edition has been released, and did they fix complaints with the game?
No. No they didn’t. But it does come with all the currently released DLC and only costs 30 bucks. But is that enough?
“It’s Carebears meets Manhunt!”
In each level our stuffed hero Naughty Bear is told by a narrator how he’s been left out of some fun activity that the other bears are all currently enjoying, such a birthday party or dance. Naughty Bear doesn’t take well to this slight and decides to exact revenge, killing off the rest of his endangered species in the most creative (and quick) way possible.
In later levels the other bears, sick of his ursus crimes, enlist the aid of robots, ninjas and even the undead to take down Naughty Bear once and for all.
Naughty Bear can find a range of weapons and traps to use against his bear neighbors, and he can also sabotage items found in his way- fridges, toilets, bbqs, telephones and lots more. Curious bears will attempt to repair these items, which leaves them open for environmental kills- freezing the bear into an ice cube in the freezer, drowning him in the sink, etc. But you don’t simply want to kill these bears, no. You want these bears to feel your pain, to understand your crippling loneliness. The goal here is to slowly break down their fragile, cotton-stuffed minds. How else are you going to get a high score?
That’s right, at the end of the day Naughty Bear is an arcade experience, all about points and high scores. You’ll have to cleverly chain together attacks to get the most points and keep a combo multiplier going.
Naughty Bear loves to hide in the shadows. Sneaking up behind a bear allows you to bellow “Boo!” in their ears and scare them, but to really get them flustered you need to string things together. A bear that you scare who runs into a house to see everything going haywire will start to freak out, and if he runs into a dead bear or two and maybe hears another one being murdered, his mind will be ready to snap. One good scare will drive him absolutely insane. A crazy bear offers the most points and has the bonus of both not being a threat and also terrifying any other bear it runs across, babbling hysterically.
If this all sounds very fun well yes, you’d be right, but the problem is a severe lack of variety. There are only two or three areas in the WHOLE GAME, which means that after the very first level you’ll pretty much have seen all the game has to offer. Later on the levels are remixed a bit with a couple of new objects here and there and new enemies, but you’ll walk through the exact same environments over and over and over, killing the bears in the same ways. What starts out as fun soon becomes a maddening chore.
The simple graphics work, since it’s supposed to mimic a kid’s show anyway. Same with the simple music.
The kills are probably the best part. Naughty Bear violently dispatches the bears in all sorts of inventive ways, and the fact that they’re only full of fluff means that they just avoid that M rating.
At first look there’s a lot of content here. This Gold version comes with three extra DLC levels, two of which would have run you five bucks each. Each level comes with a bunch of different challenges that you can play to try for platinum medals- speed runs, sneak runs, and levels where you have to drive the bears insane or take no damage. But despite all the different challenges you’ll play each one almost the exact same time-consuming way each way, making the bears insane and killing them in as many different ways as possible.
By getting Platinum medals you can unlock more levels, outfits which boost Naughty Bear’s stats and give him some starting weapons, and of course, achievements. Considering that it can generally take you around 20-30 minutes to get a platinum medal in each mode that’s a ton of replay value, but that hinges on how much you’d want to play the same levels over and over.
There’s also multiplayer but it’s pretty much a barren wasteland out there now.
Even with the new low price and extra content this is still a rental at most. It’s amusing for a while but it gets old quick.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars