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Review

Review: Naughty Bear

Oh, that troublesome bear.

I was looking forward to getting my hands on Naughty Bear (I mean the game before someone suggests I’m referring to same sort of sex toy). The trailers were humorous, the premise sounded fun and fairly original. Unfortunately I’ve been here before with Fairytale Fights and that didn’t end too well.

The story starts with the bears on the island throwing a birthday party which Naughty Bear has not been invited to. Personally I’ve never cared too much if I get an invite or not but, according to my little sister, it’s the worst thing in the world. Naughty Bear is more on my sister’s wavelength. He wants revenge. Your task is to kill all the bears on the island and make sure the main culprit doesn’t escape. Later chapters follow a similar theme, seeing you take on alien, zombie, military and robot bears.

There are numerous ways to kill the bears; these include laying traps, sabotaging various items, shooting them, or scaring the bears so much they commit suicide. If you’re really struggling for a way to kill them you can simply beat them to a pulp. The bears can also escape, either by car or by boat. You can sabotage the vehicles to slow them down before killing them with a car door or on the dock floor.

At the start of the level you can select which bear you wish to be. You only have one choice at the start but more are unlocked as you play the game. Each bear has its own attributes with varying levels of speed, strength, accuracy and life. Sometimes they have extra abilities like ninja bear; he can run without being heard by other bears. Picking the correct bear can really help with some levels, for example: the zombie bear is very slow and on certain levels this puts you at a disadvantage.

In each level you rack up naughty points based on how quickly you can string kills together. Your points can also be increased by using as many kill methods as possible, by smashing everything in sight or by completing the sub mission. The sub missions usually consist of throwing varying amounts of an item in to a fire or toilet. If you fail a level you lose 70% of the points you earned while playing the level. As you earn points you receive cups (bronze, silver, gold or platinum) based on how many points you have earned. You’ll need to earn the higher valued cups in order to unlock all the levels and bears. One annoyance is that the game doesn’t tell you how many points you need to obtain each cup.

Some of you are probably thinking that this sounds like a lot of fun; what can possibly go wrong? Here comes the biggest problem with Naughty Bear: it’s a great idea but badly executed. The developers must either have run out of ideas, time or money. There are 7 chapters which are all set on the same small island; each of these is broken into 3 or 4 small zones. The order of these can vary and sometimes a zone may receive a few cosmetic changes but these changes just aren’t enough. There are only so many times you can sabotage the same car, phone or electrical box.

Each chapter begins with a small section of narrative telling you why Naughty Bear wants to kill everyone. These are a bit like a 3 year olds TV programme but obviously with more violence. In fact, I think if they had replaced the bears with Teletubbies I’d probably have enjoyed the game more and bashed their heads in for a long time. After the second section of narrative I was already so sick of the voice over that I started muting the TV.

To stretch the game out you can unlock 4 variations of each level, although there are 7 possible types. These include, speed run, invisible, killer, untouchable, top hat, insanity and friendly. Each of these requires a certain number of bronze, silver or gold cups to be earned in order to gain access. Most of the variations are fairly obvious, speed run gives a set time to complete the level. In invisible you can only be “seen” 4 times or less, although I’m not sure what counts as being seen in the game as there seems to be a lack of consistency. Killer is basically the main level played again but you can’t allow any bear to escape and every bear must be killed. Untouchable is where you can’t take any damage, except from your own traps. In friendly you can’t hit any bear, killing through traps and any other method is fine though. In insanity you have to scare every bear until they go insane and finally top hat challenges are just a harder version of the original level. The problem is that each variation is essentially the original level with a few options removed. Untouchable and invisible are probably the best variations as they do challenge you and help you improve. Unfortunately the weapons and traps remain the same through the levels, some variation on landscape and weapons would really have helped.

When it comes to Naughty Bear’s AI I simply can’t tell if the bears are meant to be stupid or if the AI is just poor. The bears’ paths change a bit but as the zones are so small it’s hard to tell if they’re preset or not. They barricade themselves into rooms and call for reinforcements from either the police or military but you can climb through the windows and the reinforcements are just re skinned bears with guns.

There is online multiplayer available if you can actually find someone online to compete against. One very strange thing with the multiplayer is that they’ve thrown in loads of new pickups which don’t appear anywhere else in the game. You have no idea what you use each of them for and the in game “manual” doesn’t give any clues either. The worst of the online modes is the golden Uzi. Essential you are all placed in one zone with one golden Uzi. The problem is that once someone had picked it up is almost impossible to kill them or get it off them.

All of these problems wouldn’t be too bad if the game itself didn’t have so many technical issues. If you fail a mission you have to go through the whole loading process for the level again if you want to keep your naughty points. The load times are far from great, they’re not on a Modnation Racers level but they get pretty close. The difference here though is that Naughty Bear is neither a great game nor great to look at.

Yes I could tell the game was in HD but it felt more like a PS2 game that had been upscaled. The pop-in at the start of a zone can be horrible at times. I can usually run a fair bit before any of the foliage appears. Once the zone is loaded there are no pop-in problems but get yourself near a wall or in a room and the camera can be all over the place. You can control it with the left stick but even that can become impossible. This is at its worst just after a kill as the camera angle moves to show the kill. It seems to be a bit pot luck where the camera resets to.

Positives

  • Great idea
  • Kills are entertaining for a time
  • Some of the level variations can be a good challenge

Negatives

  • Tedious and lacks variety
  • Erratic camera angles
  • Poor graphics
  • Slow load times
  • Poor multiplayer modes

Naughty Bear was a great idea that was never full developed. After about an hour of play you’ve probably seen just about all there is to see. If the variety was there or the price was that of download title then you could probably overlook some of the technical faults. In the end its biggest crime is that it just isn’t fun to play.

Score: 3/10

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33 Comments
  1. Jordaaaan
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    OH DAMN

    I think that’s the lowest score I’ve seen for a game that’s not a handheld release on this site. I was thinking of picking this up but I thought it looked a bit too much like a PS2 advice as well.

    Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 11:05.
  2. citizeninsane45
    Would happily punch a priest free of charge.
    Since: Oct 2008

    Tuffcub still king of the bears then?

    Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 11:06.
    • Tuffcub
      On the naughty step.
      Since: Dec 2008

      Damn right. RAWR!

      Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 12:33.
  3. Manorhowze
    Driving God
    Since: Dec 2008

    I got this through from Lovefilm yesterday and I thought it was quite a fun game but I have only played 2 variations of the first chapter so far. I was hoping for more variation as the game went on but it doesnt look like thats gonna happen.

    Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 11:07.
  4. 3shirts
    Member
    Since: Aug 2008

    I feared as much. Like you I played Fairytale Fights for the same reasons I wanted to play this and it sounds like I can expect a similar outcome.
    It’s such a shame when a great idea is not translated into a great game, seems like such a waste. One to avoid here though.

    Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 11:12.
    • billsmugs
      Member
      Since: Mar 2009

      I think the main problem is that once a company has failed to deliver on an idea, no one else will go near it, even if the idea itself could be amazing :(

      Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 18:49.
  5. ericzap
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    Ouch. Just checked Metacritic, it was universally panned. Solid review, I’d love to try the game, though I had no intent to buy in the first place.

    Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 11:13.
  6. Charmed_Fanatic
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    I was really hoping this game was going to be good :(

    Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 11:48.
  7. BrendanCalls
    Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc - YOHIMBÉ!!!
    Since: Forever

    I 100% concur with jimmy-google on this, its exactly my feeling on the game, never has a review been so close to my own views and opinions.
    I played it for about 1hr before getting bored and my bro and best mate both played for 1/2 hour before they got bored. the idea of this game was amazing and when telling my bro and mate they were so excited to come round and play it, I thought they might actually disown me once they had actually played it though.
    And ohhhhh my god the multiplayer was abysmal.

    Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 12:01.
    • jimmy-google
      Member
      Since: Feb 2009

      Only 1hr… I racked up 15 hours. It nearly drove me insane. I’m gutted it’s as bad as it is as it could have been a really nice break from the endless FPS that come out every week.

      Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 12:35.
      • BrendanCalls
        Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc - YOHIMBÉ!!!
        Since: Forever

        Maybe a bit more than 1hr possibly two, but everything you mentioned is plainly visible after an hour anyway. Its not the worst game I ever played but it ver very far from the best

        Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 13:02.
  8. spooferbarnabas
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    I haven’t played it but the general conscencus is that it’s pretty shocking. It’s a shame really because it seemed a good idea and i’m sure that some people worked quite hard on it. It’s sad to see it panned but I suppose it deserves it.

    Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 12:16.
  9. gernboes
    Member
    Since: Oct 2008

    too bad…
    would try it nontheless if it was a PSN game for about 10€ or so.

    Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 12:23.
    • 3shirts
      Member
      Since: Aug 2008

      This is exactly what this game and Fairytale Fights should have been. Cut the number of levels down by at least half, make them more varied, and charge half the price. Then you have a much more justifiable purchase.
      .
      It just seems the ‘Happy Tree Friends’ style dark comedy doesn’t translate to good games.

      Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 13:27.
  10. hairfreax
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    Darn i had high hopes for this game too and its winging its way through the post via rental just now. Maybe its a weekend blast

    Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 12:48.
    • gurglesletch
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      Or a weekend bore considering the review.

      Comment posted on 09/07/2010 at 18:52.

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