Bugsnax PS5 Review

April 7, 2021 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, PS5, PlayStation

Game: Bugsnax  Publisher: Young Horses, Fangamer  Developer: Young Horses 

Genre: Puzzle, Adventure  Players: 1  Age Rating: 3+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4 

Related Sites: Bugsnax, Young Horses


When Bugsnax was first announced, it was a game that was somewhat difficult to get your head around. What was it exactly? The characters were a strange design (they kind of looked like walruses, but we later learn they are actually called Grumpuses), as were the bugs that look like snacks, veggies or fruit, but with googly eyes stuck on. Very little was known, other than it was an adventure game, and you played as a journalist invited to Snaktooth Island in order to help find a missing explorer, Elizabert Megafig. Not a lot was known about the actual gameplay.

What Bugsnax actually is is a very charming game with gameplay that is actually very simple – played in first person, while exploring the open-ish world of Snaktooth Island, you’ll come across a number of residents who you have complete a certain amount of goals for. Since Elizabert has vanished, the residents of Snaxburg have become fractured, moving away to other parts of the island for various reasons. Filbo Fiddlepie, the Mayor of the town of Snaxburg, requests you to find and bring all of the Grumpuses back together to live as one big community. There are 12 for you to find (excluding Elizabert), all of whom will only return to Snaxburg if you complete their own requests. Once they have returned, you can interview all 12 Grumpuses to find out more about them, and maybe learn some tidbits about other characters.

Bugsnax

Another tool used to lure Bugsnax is a bugsnax itself, inside a hamster ball. The ball can be coated in sauce to get Bugsnax to follow it around.

There are 8 areas on the island where Grumpuses have spread out to, and as you explore these locations you’ll also find various Bugsnax creatures roaming around. There are 100 Bugsnax for you to collect, but collecting them is not as simple as picking them up when you see them. To collect the bugs, you are equipped with tools that help you trap them. Some are more simple to trap than others – strawberries, or in this case they are called Strabbies, can be caught by simply placing a cage on their walking route and waiting for them to walk under the cage before you spring the trap. Other bugs require you to use a grappling hook, to knock them unconscious or to light up with fire in order to capture some types of frozen Bugsnax, such as the Scoopy Banoopy (a banana split Bugsnax).

The variety of Bugsnax to catch are varied, and they are equally amusing in that they all have their own cute quote they’ll utter as they move about. One particularly popular Bugsnax is a Bunger, a beetle/burger hybrid that will run at you while repeatedly saying “bunger”. It’s quite catchy, and I found myself playfully mimicking some of the creatures. They all have their own ways of being captured, some requiring a bit of thinking outside the box. There is also a day and night cycle, meaning certain Bugsnax only come out at certain times of the day, and some Bugsnax will also run and hide if they see you. Some fly, and some have defenses that make getting up close and personal difficult.

Another tool you can use to lure Bugsnax is a slingshot and sauce. As you uncover the mystery of Elizabert’s disappearance, you keep notes in a journal, which also lists each Bugsnax as you find them, and what their favourite or least favourite sauces are, and even what other Bugsnax they dislike (while playing, I noticed some rival Bugsnax would square up to each other and fight in the background). Sauces include Ketchup, Chocolate, Hot Sauce, Cheese Sauce, Peanut Butter and Ranch Dressing, and are very helpful to lure Bugsnax into traps.

Another strange addition to the plot is that Grumpuses can eat Bugsnax, and when they do, one of their body parts will change into the delicacy of the Bugsnax they have eaten. Later on you can even choose what body part to change when feeding a Bugsnax to a Grumpus. It’s a point that is part of the plot, so no spoilers here, but admittedly it’s not something I can say I experimented with very much. I pretty much gave the Grumpuses any Bugsnax they wanted as part of their requests, but I never purposely kept feeding them Bugsnax to see how much their appearance could change.

Bugsnax

My favourite part of the game, it really shows the chemistry between the characters and actors alike.

The best part of the game is the camaraderie between the main group of characters; the voice acting is excellent and each actor manages to bring their character to life. Despite their relationships being fraught, when the group are together they have great chemistry; I particularly enjoyed a section where they are all sat around a campfire at night. As you walk around Snaxburg, you’ll notice Grumpuses have their own routine, small touches that bring the world to life. Each Grumpus has their own personality, from the musical diva and gym-obsessed “beefcake” to the vegetarian and farmer trying to uncover the secret of how Bugsnax reproduce by planting them. They are all very memorable characters.

Bugsnax is a delightful game that diverts your expectations; I didn’t know where exactly the game would go or how it would end. All you know is that you have to complete goals for the residents, and ultimately find Elizabert, but it’s a game that has you feeling like you are flailing around in the dark as you don’t truly know which direction the game will take you, and that’s not a bad thing. The strength of its characters will keep you hooked throughout, and is overall a game perfect for the young and old alike.

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