Bugsnax

Bugsnax

Despite being thoroughly described to me beforehand, Bugsnax still managed to be regularly surprising. It’s most often compared to Pokémon Snap, which is accurate, except that Bugsnax is not a rail shooter and therefore much more open-ended. The tools it gives to manipulate its titular creatures follow suit, including springboards, tripwires, and a sauce-launching slingshot, all of which interact with each other and the environment in inventive ways. Pokémon Snap also never had a drug metaphor as its central narrative thread, nor did it have a mechanic where you morph Professor Oak’s limbs into pieces of consumed critters, as amazing as that would have been.

Unfortunately, all of this wonderful weirdness and openness comes with a cost, so the visuals are decidedly subpar, some of the tool interactions don’t work as cleanly as they could, and there are a number of spots of missed potential. The most pronounced of these is that there’s little to do with captured Bugsnax other than complete fetch quests, but I also wish there was more of a purpose to the NPC-morphing mechanic and more substance to the NPC-interviewing segments. The latter gets a bit of a pass because the writing and voice acting in those segments, as in the rest of the game, are superb. It should come as no surprise that a game this goofy-looking is frequently hilarious, but it’s extremely refreshing how mature and meaningful it can be at the same time.

7/10
7/10

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