Review – Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back
I remember Bubsy from back in the day. The first game in the series, Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind, was just one of the dozens of mediocre 2D mascot platformers for the SNES desperately trying to emulate Sonic the Hedgehog’s success by creating cute little mammalian characters who all tried too hard to show off their 90’s ‘tude to all the kids from back then. Bubsy’s game wasn’t exactly terrible (there were certainly worse games back then), but boy was the mascot itself annoying. After the abysmal Bubsy 3D, the franchise has faded into the depths of failed mascot obscurity, until someone decided to revive the series for a new audience. Ladies and gentlemen, the game you’ve all asked for is finally here. Here’s Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back
As you would expect, Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back isn’t exactly a technical marvel. It looks like an average-at-best Playstation 3 title, with extremely simplistic (for a 2017 game, of course) character models. Bubsy looks like a cheap Unreal Engine asset when the camera zooms in. The environments aren’t spectacular either, being really uninspired and generic in design, although I do need to give credit to the fact the game is, indeed, very colorful. In this day and age of gray and brown militaristic shooters, I need to give credit to a game when I see the colors blue, red, yellow and green all at the same time onscreen.
Another main issue lies within the gameplay department. This game does not feature good controls. Although they are very simplistic and easy to learn, and despite the fact Bubsy has finally acquired an attack button after 24 years, the controller responsiveness is very wonky and the game suffers from a very problematic collision detection, both for enemies and for platforms. What’s even worse about this is that some of those gameplay faults are openly addressed by Bubsy himself during the game, a point that makes me wonder if the game was intentionally designed to have those flaws just so the annoying feline could spit out a few phrases every now and then.
The game’s best aspect, without a doubt, is its sound design. Before you say anything, I’m talking specifically about the soundtrack. The game’s soundtrack impressed me by having some really catchy tunes with a wide array of instruments and hummable melodies. There’s always a “however,” though. We reach the elephant (or bobcat) in the room, Bubsy, and his signature ability of not being able to shut up. Bubsy’s puns and one-liners are as annoying as ever, sometimes being just plain unfunny, sometimes being borderline creepy. His voice acting sounds less like a wacky mammalian mascot and more like Mark Hamill’s Joker on helium, creepy laughs included.
The game itself is extremely short, being beatable in around two hours. That, coupled with the overall lack of innovation (giving a platforming mascot an attack button isn’t exactly groundbreaking), lots of game-crashing bugs, Bubsy’s downright irritaing one-liners and near nonexistent replayability make it really hard for me to recommend the game to anyone. It’s just not a fun pastime for players out there, as only the biggest platforming fans will be able to have some fun with a game that plays (and is glitchy) like a title from 1993. Not to mention the very steep pricetag, which makes the game much less desirable, even for those with a morbid curiosity towards it.
Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back isn’t an offensively awful game, but it certainly doesn’t offer anything new or interesting to the already aging 2D platformer genre. It’s as generic and by-the-books as a game like this can be. And its only solace, the excellent soundtrack, is overshadowed by what I can only describe as the most irritating and sanity-defying voice acting I’ve ever heard in a videogame. Oh, and all those crashes . . . those things really tested my patience.
If this serves as consolation, this might be the best Bubsy game I have ever played. Looking back at this mascot’s previous titles, that really isn’t much of a feat.
Reviewd on PC.
Also available on: PS4
Copy of Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back provided by publisher