Our new reviewer Conor got to spend some time on Snacktooth Island to bring us his review of Bugsnax, the latest game from the creators of Octodad, Young Horses.
We all remember the ps5 reveal live stream right? We saw that brand new console? The big console itself, the remake of daemon souls and bugsnax…..ya let’s just say that reveal had a lot of people asking questions as to what this game from the creators of Octodad was. When an actual gameplay trailer was then shown even more questions were raised and more mysteries were uncovered. It was clear from the gameplay that we were going to be catching living food for “reasons” and feeding them to a race of muppet-like people that transform their body parts into food. But What exactly is this game? is it a Pokémon like catch them all type game? Yes, does it have an unsettling undertone like the trailer? Yes, and is it weird to feed these sentient creatures to life-sized muppets? Yes. Bugsnax is all of these things and so much more you need only crack it to its gooey centre to understand the true nature of it all. It is an enjoyable story-driven snack hunting game that unfortunately has some drawbacks that keep this from being a completely flawless experience.
Bugsnax casts you as “the reporter” you have come to the island of snack tooth to find the explorer known as Elizabeth megafig, but on your arrival your interview is side-tracked as your now on an adventure that is anything but ordinary, what started out as a simple story for this journalist has turned into a story with a surprising amount of depth and heart and plenty of bite that it has become one of the most surprising games of this year that I have played. Every character is so well defined from Bilbo’s adorable goofball to the nature of Bifaces mean girls attitude.
Some characters have different outlooks on the Bugsnax, some see them as creatures that need to be protected while others see them as what they are food, it leads to a lot of conflict that make the characters feel organic. The cast does a terrific job of selling a very emotional story that through all the jokes has a surprising amount of heart that it honestly came out of left field. Every character also has a reason for coming to Snacktooth reasons I won’t spoil here. You may think you know Bugnax but believe me, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Your mission as the reporter is to bring back all of the inhabitants of Snaxburg and to interview them to discover the secret of snack tooth island. To get the other grampuses back to snack burg it will take a lot of talking and a lot of snacks. As a reporter you have to talk to a lot of characters unfortunately there are no branching paths which is rather disappointing for a character who is a literal journalist. When it comes to the interview mechanic it’s a really organic way of learning your next move and finding answers to questions, but it still suffers from the lack of finding ways to use conversations have more than one possibility.
Bugsnax plays like Pokemon snap but has a lot of elements that remind me monster hunter as you research these creatures and find unique ways to catch them. Whether that be using other Bugsnax to catch other Bugsnax like using a Bunger to take a Cheepoof out of the sky or using praying Picantis to knock out a Spuddy, these creatures feel like real animals with territory’s, fears, hates and loves. There are over 100 different species of Bugsnax, some only come out at specific times of the day, it can be a really interesting experience to come back to an old part of the map to find a snack you haven’t caught yet and trying to decide how to catch it. Each Bugsnax looks different as it can be an interesting experiment to see how you can turn an Oreo into a bug. It can be annoying when particular Bugsnax become an impassable wall when it comes to catching particular snacks. When it comes to catching one you first need to use your camera to scan them and from there you need to use your brain when it comes to finding the solution.
This can sometimes feel like an annoyance as characters give you very little hints when it comes to their task, for example, I had to catch a Cheepoof so I thought using a stone on a spring would work but it didn’t which became annoying, it wasn’t until trying to get a trophy that I realised that you have to a use snack to catch others during this mission as I did not have all the gadgets unlocked. But it can feel rewarding when you find your own way to complete a task. When doing tasks for the inhabitants of Bugburg it always boils down to same task, more snacks. The repetition doesn’t really sit in though until you get to the point in the story when almost everyone is back in town, that’s when all the side quests begin to pop up.
Their quests have the same objective of finding a Bugsnack that they can consume or in Grambles case ones to take care of, he runs a farm where you can deposit some of your foody friends so you can pet them and watch them walk around. The Grampuses reasoning can be vastly different, for example, Wambus wants to find a way to grow Bugsnax so they don’t have to catch them, while Shelda wants you to abandon your physical attachment to this realm and join on a higher plane of existence…..I think I honestly couldn’t follow what she was saying if I’m going to be honest. The objectives do become tiresome though but in the main story that isn’t an issue because the story is paced so well that the notion that you’re doing the same tasks over and over doesn’t set in, but without the main story pushing you forward it seems like it would become a real slog. The map of snack tooth is quite varied from the snow-capped tundra of the Frosted peak to the blistering heat of the sizzling sands. Each of these maps are quite small so it’s easy to keep track of where you are. Though for some reason there is no fast travel meaning making treks across the biomes has you waiting through some loading screens, thankfully loading isn’t an issue even on ps4.
One of the central premises of the game is feeding Bugsnax to people of the island which doesn’t stop being unsettling until the end. Eating a particular snack can completely change the physical appearance of a character like their arms turning into straws or their head into a hot dog. Why are you doing this? I honestly don’t know but I have made it my mission to turn everyone in snacks burg into a weird Frankenstein monster for my own pleasure.
Snack tooth island isn’t the most jaw-dropping place to visit when it comes to the graphics department but its adorable exterior is what draws you into this weird world of living food. Character models are very simple but that’s their charm, they don’t have to be super realistic, there is enough there to make them all visually distinct from each other. When it comes to bugs and glitches the game doesn’t run as smooth all the time, for example when running through the town of snacks burg the frame rate chugged to a halt. Other than that though I had a pretty flawless experience if I do say, and I would love to play it again. Bugsnax is worth playing for the story and characters alone but some draw backs in repetitive side content and some issues in the technical department, unfortunately, are there.
Bugsnax was reviewed on PS4 with a code supplied from Young Horses via Popagenda PR.
To check out more of Conor’s work head here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD5a1D_NBIRpTX9tdTwLTPA