Artificial Mind & Movement bring gamers the obscure antics of Naughty Bear,’ one-half stealth saboteur, the other homicidal teddy bear. Naughty Bear is very naughty indeed, and one bear that you don’t want to blacklist from your party. It’s time to get naughty.
From the title alone, you can have probably already presumed that ‘Naughty Bear’ isn’t your typical action adventure game, even though it's in that classification. 'Naughty Bear' is demented, a little twisted and totally naughty! Developer 'Artificial Mind & Movement' (A2M) has gone outside the box on this one. I am not sure how the general public will receive ‘Naughty Bear,’ but we at Extreme Gamer always keep an open mind, espically when it comes to the wonderfully weird. ‘Naughty Bear’ falls into this category, and although we wanted give all our love to this sadistic Ruxpin, we can’t. It’s a sad tale for us, and for the one they call ‘Naughty.’
Why is this tale is a sad one? Because we feel for 'Naughty.' Trapped in an uncontrollable fate, 'Naughty' is a wonderful character that is filled with fluffy delight that is grievously imprisoned in a repetitious shallow game experience. 'Naughty Bear' might look like some deviant fun, and while it is one some level, it will leave you ultimately disappointed. No amount of bear chaos and burning presents can change this. Tragic Bear? Quite possibly.
Perfection Island, No So Perfect
‘Naughty Bear’ tells the tale of a lone bear, an emo-sadistic bear who gets upset when the bear population of ‘Perfection Island’ humiliates him. The other bears do not care too much for 'Naughty,' disrespecting him and trying every method possible to get him off the island. Not that I can blame them, it is very understandable after he slaughters the whole bear population in the opening level. Naughty doesn’t deal well with rejection, and this could by why it is hard for him to make friends... I'm just saying. The catalyst for all this violence starts when 'Naughty' is told he can’t attend another bear's birthday party. This sends him into rampage of defluffication that pushing 'Naughty Bears' narrative in motion. Every level, another issue, and some new plushy that needs to be taught a lesson... Naughty style.
I Thought Being "Naughty" was Supposed to Be Fun
In each new level ‘Naughty’ continues to do naughty things with few variations in the gameplay, and sadly the levels themselves. This is the main problem of the game, which is a shame because 'Naughty Bear' as a concept has so much potential. Nothing feels fresh after the first level, and even though A2M adds a few new bears and some additional weapons per chapter, it is pretty much the same deal over-and-over. ‘Naughty’ has to enter a level, obtain a score by sabotaging or damaging items with the ultimate goal of scaring or killing the other bears. Nothing changes as you advance and the gameplay, and this quickly grows old. If A2M could have brainstormed a few extra ideas to add into mix, per level, ‘Naughty Bear’ would be more appealing and would be better suited for long sittings.
Sinisterly the highlight of 'Naughty Bear' is when you find a new weapon and watching its “defluffication” animation in action. The kill animations are pretty twisted. However the have nothing on the bear-suicides. Yes, ‘Naughty Bear’ features a bunch of fluffy and cute bears going crazy on themselves by committing hara-kiri. Bear suicides happen when ‘Naughty’ scares them into insanity. See ‘Naughty Bear’ gives you the option to kill, or scare a bear when you catch them in an uncompromising situation. Find a bear hiding in a closet, “kill or scare.” Set a trap to snare a bear in, “kill or scare.” Sabotage an item and a bear busily works away to fix it, “kill or scare.” “Comic Mischief” – you bet cha. At least the game lives up to its description of “shamefully bad behaviour.”
'Naughty Bear,' You're Wearing me Down
In doing the review for ‘Naughty’, I could only play in 20-30 minute intervals, as the game would wear me down with repetition and grimly boredom. I managed to get through ‘Naughty Bear,’ however; it wasn’t done in one day, even though you could make it complete the entire game in less than six hours. Besides the cyclical nature of the game, ‘Naughty Bear’ forces you to replay different scenarios within each level before you can progress to the next tier. A point system is the reason for this, and until you hit a certain number of points you can’t pass forward. This isn’t so bad, but when you just want to run through the story, you will have to “fill the void” until you earn enough points.
Adding onto the problem of repetitive gameplay is sloppy controls that are a wee too loose for their own good. It is fun to hack away at the other bears, but you really never know if you are going hit the other bears because a jumpy camera and poor collision. This is more frustrating when you are trying to queue up a scare or kill animation. Unresponsive controls spoil the fluidity of 'Naughty Bear,' and it only gets worse when in groups. Jumping through a window to take out a group of barricaded bears becomes total chaos, and not a good chaos either.
The production behind ‘Naughty Bear’ is probably close to what you expect. Somewhat slick, but ultimately bland, a theme seemly follows ‘Naughty’ around every corner. The menu system, art style and sarcastic narrator who leads you through the game are the highlights. ‘Naughty Bear’ doesn’t look the part of a super-polished game, but it gets the job done. The not-so-good part of the production is the bland environments, the special effects, and an overall lack of detail. ‘Naughty Bear’ seems to have the attitude just not the look, a fact that you could port over to A2M’s last release ‘WET.’
Freeze, Don't Move
‘Naughty Bear’ also has some performance issues with occasional slow downs and game freezing. The system slowing down is one thing; it is a tolerable occurrence that doesn’t effect the gameplay too much. However, freezing, and constant freezing at that, isn’t. A number of times I had to power down my console and reboot the game. I wouldn’t normally comment on such a thing if it only happened once, maybe twice during the review, but this was more, maybe one out of every three levels. I hope that A2M can patch this soon.
‘Naughty Bear’ wanted to be so much more, and possibly could have been with a little more variety and tightening up of the core mechanics. In its initial moments ‘Naughty Bear’ is pretty cool with a unique campy vibe that slowly fades away as you progress through the game. It was really hard to stay motivated as I "defluffed" all the other bears on Perfection Island. ‘Naughty Bear’ isn't a horrible game, just one that needs some more work. It is back to the toy-box for you ‘Naughty,’ you’ve been a bad, bad, boy.
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 07.14.10
- If you like the weird, this one is for you
- Fresh concept
- Naughty Bear is a great character
- Has its moments, just don’t expect too many of them
- Controls are too loose
- Not enough variety in game
- Repetitive objects, repetitive levels
- Game freezing issues
- Looses its momentum quickly
Similar Games: WET (8.0)