Naughty Bear Reader Review
I wasn't invited to a friends birthday party recently, so I decided to surprise my friend with a gift, so I wrapped up a little gift and set out to the party, upon arrival though two of the birthday boys other friends stopped me to see what I was doing, upon seeing the gift in my hand, they promptly laughed at me and in my upset rage I stormed home and threw the gift across the room...
In this situation, what would your reaction be?
a) Throw yourself on your bed and begin writing in your diary about how your friends hate you and don't understand you because you’re so different?
b) Get drunk and forget your problems with the "screw them" logic?
c) Go on a murderous rampage, attacking the participants of the party with various weapons; destroy the birthday presents and finally slamming the birthday boys’ face in a car door until there is nothing left to recognise him?
If your answer was C, welcome to the world of Naughty Bear, you'll fit right in...
Naughty Bear was released by 505 Games, famous for such award losing titles as Magna Carta: Tears of Blood and Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity, two games I have neither played nor even heard of. Naughty bear takes place on Paradise Island where you take the form of the titular character, at the beginning of each of the episodes, Naughty Bear finds some reason to 'punish' one of the teddies of the Island (like one teddy wanting to destroy his home and build a massive oil pump on the site, and another reading from The Deadbook and raising several Zombears on the Island) and sets on his less than merry way to scare, maim and tear apart the other bears.
The game itself, is a bit rubbish to be honest, the controls are slow and clunky, the music is very annoying (okay that's just nit-picking, I admit that) and the AI is pathetically predictable, it has many broken features, but it's saving grace is that you can murder teddy bears in all manner of awesome and thoroughly gruesome ways!
It is quite concerning though that a game that, in the first few minutes of the game, says to the player "Oh look Naughty, a gun! That'll be lots of fun!" is acceptable for 12 year olds, not to mention the numerous assassinations you perform and the gratuitous use of 'suicide moves' where you scare a bear so much they go insane and take their own life with whatever object they happen to be carrying at that moment.
I suppose, in hindsight, the title really sings through as you do get an overall feeling of Naughtiness when you first start playing this game, you see the cute little bears and you are slightly shocked by taking one by the scruff of the neck and grinding his face against a fast-turning record-turntable as stuffing sprays everywhere but soon after that you'll find yourself sabotaging everything in sight just to make every possible bear turn insane and take their own life.
There are some very good qualities to the game though which I would like to point out, it is original, though you could argue that "assassin games" are not exactly original but this takes it to new places, gives you new and interesting toys to play with in the toy-box of murder, there was more than one occasion where I found a new weapon, picked it up and thought "Ohhhh, I wonder what this ultra-kill is going to look like!" so the game is enjoyable for the most part.
Unfortunately, the bad points outweigh the good ones with Naughty Bear and I found myself constantly being frustrated by the broken controls and the fractured AI, where a normal bear would decide he could see me hiding in the bushes whereas an all seeing Robo-Bear (R0B0-B34R) could not, there were no "falling through walls" moments but every now and then I had to scratch my head and think 'really!? The programming is really going to let THAT happen?'
The overall fun of the game is very appealing; it just needed more TLC, polish and depth. Naughty Bear feels like an executive stress toy that has been given a tiny bit of extra padding, it's like that really quiet programmer in the 505 Games Studios...you know the one, always keeps themselves to themselves, created this little flash game where characters assassinate each other but decided to put cute, cuddly teddy bears as the skins and colours the blood white so they don’t get in trouble with the boss when they inevitably find it on his hard drive and instead of sacking the programmer, decided to make a full, boxed game out of it.
I would suggest renting Naughty Bear but not buying it unfortunately, not good news for 505 Games, but I'm sure there are some moody, twitchy misanthropes locked away in their mums’ basement somewhere that will get years of entertainment out of Naughty Bear, the novelty was just replaced with boredom and frustration way to fast for me.