Bubsy The Woolies Strike Back Review – Back From the Grave
Plaforms: PC (reviewed), PS4
Developer: Black Forest Games
Release: 31th October 2017
After more than 20 years one of the most iconic mascot for bad games (finally) returns, I´m talking of course about Bubsy. After delivering three horrible 2D jump´n run and an even worse 3D one, Accolade teamed up with the quite skilled developers of Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, Black Forest Games, to revive this dead Bobcat with Bubsy The Woolies Strike Back. Oh man, I actually had hopes for this one, I really liked Giana Sisters but it´s Bubsy after all, so of course it´s pretty damn bad.
As always, the golden yarn ball was stolen from Bubsy by the evil Woolies and his boring quest to free his sacred treasure begins once again. During its super short 1-2 hours long campaign, Bubsy The Woolies Strike Back follows the path of its predecessors, offering a generic story along an overpriced experience. However, there´s a slider to adjust the amount of badly written jokes Bubsy pumps out during a level. Lovely.
Besides the non-existent plot and playtime, there´s not much to the gameplay as well. Of course he can jump, walk and even perform his famous horribly broken glide move! Yet, they added a new attack move as well, a bad, unnecessary one. Where Mario can jump on enemies Bubsy jumps at them in an uncontrollable curve while missing them nearly every time. Why it´s so, excuse me, shitty can´t be described but just imagine a high, long jump which can´t be predicted nor controlled, in a jump´n run. I missed an enemy nearly every second time because of this horrible idea. In addition to the already pretty bad feeling gameplay with features like long turning animations, bad hitboxes or way too low jump height, along the totally useless glide, Bubsy The Woolies Strike Back looses its right to exist in the first minutes. Especially if you played masterpieces like Mario Odyssey or Sonic Mania.
Unsurprisingly, the whole game design is just as “great”. There are two collectibles in every level, 600 yarnies and 5 keys, the fact how repetitive it sounds to collect 600 yarnies already should be a red flag. Honestly, the levels are so clustered with them, they become even more worthless than the rings in Sonic or Mario´s coins and collecting the keys just opens a vault to EVEN MORE yarnies. Who thought it´s fun to let the player collect worthless things and destroy the artstyle at the same time?
Not only the gameplay suffers from it but the overview and presentation at the same time, even though both were´nt particularly good in the first place. Bubsy The Woolies Strike Back looks like a generic comic style platformer with mushy textures, washed out or too bright colours and undetailed models. Nothing is special, unique or interesting, delivering the basic idea of a generic style. Combined with the hundreds of yarnies scattered on the screen the whole time, the consistent artstyle is interrupted by different coloured little shapes. The soundtrack is actually pretty alright, there are only 2-3 songs though so repetition is consistent throughout the whole game.
Last but definetly not least, Bubsy The Woolies Strike Back´s biggest flaw, the level design. In contrast to good skill-based platformers, nearly everything is depending on pure luck to function here. Besides the uninspired design consisting only of platforms, some rolling rocks, wall jumping or destroyable obstacles, even those simple elements don´t work. For example, platforms are seemingly placed so high that Bubsy needs to execute a perfect jump in order to get on it. Moments where objects need to be destroyed with the horrible attack move, just to end in a water passage suddenly and kill the poor Bobcat. The best example for the abyssmal design might be the end of the first level which requires you to jump over a huge gap while destroying a rock right in the middle of it. In short, it took me 4 complete level retries before finally mastering it because the whole thing is so dependant on luck, it just randomly worked at some point. Bosses are just as uninspired and boring as the rest.
Is Bubsy The Woolies Strike Back the best Bubsy game so far? Yes, certainly. Is it an actual good game? No, certainly not. From the clunky, unresponsive and simply bad controls to the generic artstyle, overuse of yarnies to the absolutely horrible level design. Nothing is good or even average, just bad. Bubsy´s return isn´t so bad that it´s funny, just a short, forgettable game absolutely crushed by recent masterpieces like Mario Odyssey.
[A Review Code was provided by Accolade]