Review: Naughty Bear
Here is a novel idea. Let's make a game called Naughty Bear about a psychopathic stuffed Teddy Bear that is socially inept and pissed off cause he did not get invited to the birthday party (among other events throughout the story) thus with the help of a poorly British accent narrator, kills everyone. Another idea that was great on paper but the implementation fell way short. Like everyone else, I was hyped about Naughty Bear since it seemed like it was a light hearted version of the perverse, yet disturbingly fun for most, Manhunt game. Instead of the gore, you get cartoon violence which is fine by me. Since I like to install all my games to the Xbox 360 hard drive, I was shocked at how much space this game took up. Most games take up four to eight gigabytes of space. Naughty Bear takes 756MB....WHAT?! For a game that ships on a disc when this could have easily been a downloadable title is insane.
I thought to myself, "maybe the game will still be fun and I shouldn't dwell on the size of the game." I was terribly wrong. Besides the voice actor for the narrator, who I think is forcing that accent, you will notice how nausea-inducing the camera is. There was plenty of times I had to step away from Naughty Bear due to how nauseated I was becoming. Past the dizzy spells from the camera, the game doesn't look that bad. The cartoonish colors as well as the art style really pops out and I was really satisfied with how the characters looked. You will notice that some animations suffer from frame skipping. For example, every time Naughty Bear went through the door to his home area, it would show him opening the door then in an instant he is already on the other side closing it behind him.
In Naughty Bear, each level is you just completing objectives. These objectives can be a point cap, destroying items, killing everyone or variations to that effect. Yeah, not much variety which makes the game repetitive real fast. Killing in this game can be done by either using weapons, traps, or scaring the crap out of the other bears to the point of suicide. Sounds fun right? Try doing those same things over hours of gameplay and tell me if it's fun then. Another aspect of the gameplay is in order to unlock more levels in the seven worlds the game presents to you, you must gain enough points in the current level to gain a trophy. Depending on what score you reach, it can be a bronze, silver or gold trophy. In the later levels (if you make it that far) that becomes a sticking point for repetitive play. Doing a level over 4 times to get a gold trophy to unlock more levels that I would like to try is just wrong.
There is multiplayer in Naughty Bear but good luck connecting to a game to play. I got into one game in an hour of trying to connect to only have the host quit and drop me back to the menu. Any game that comes out in this day and age should absolutely include host migration. Without it, the multiplayer experience is soiled due to someone rage quitting. Certain games just don't need multiplayer. When will developers understand that?
If 505 Games released Naughty Bear as a XBLA game, most people would forgive how clunky the game is all around. Selling the game at a retail price is something that will send this game to an early grave, or the bargain bin. Seems as though the developers were the naughty ones, not the bear, after all.