When Bugsnax first was announced, many were confused about what the game was really about. What was shown in the reveal trailer was a moving googly-eyed strawberry that quickly got swallowed by what looks like a seal in an explorer's outfit. Then her arm instantly turned into strawberries, and surprisingly, she seemed totally fine with it. I would have freaked out myself, that's for sure. Sounds like a strange game, right? Well, we expect no less from minds behind Octodad: Dadliest Catch.
So, what is this game all about? Let me try to explain that to you, and also let you know what I think about this wacky adventure after playing through it myself.
Bugsnax might seem like a cute, colourful, and innocent little adventure, but it really has a slightly dark undertone to it as well. It is by no means a horror title, but without going too much into detail, it still made me feel a bit queasy as I uncovered more and more of the mysteries of this island.
You play as a journalist who is visiting Snaktooth Island to meet the seal from the trailer, Elizabert Megafig (her friends call her Lizbert), an explorer eager to find out more about the strange half-bug half-snack creatures. But when you arrive on this island, she is nowhere to be found. Her camp is in shambles, and all of her followers are scattered across the island alone, and also quite hungry. When looking for Lizbert, you'll eventually stumble into Filbo, who seems to be a bit confused about what is going on. After a quick introduction, he takes you to the town of Snaxburg, and you discover many Bugsnax on your way there. The island seems to be full of them.
Snaxburg has definitely seen better days though. It is almost completely empty, but it is quite obvious that many people have lived there before. There are several houses there with nameplates on them, including Lizbert's, but the only one who seems to live there at the time is Filbo, the Mayor of the town. What in the world happened here? That is up to you to figure out.
Filbo sends you out on a journey to convince everyone to come back to town, but that is easier said than done. They all seem to have their own good reasons not to stay there, so a little bit of work is required to convince them to come back. This is where the game Bugsnax really begins. You see, they all have one thing in common: They want Bugsnax. Some want to eat them to change their appearances, others want to raise them. There is even one guy who tries to grow them in soil, even though they are not really plants. To convince these people, you will have to do each of them a favour or two, sometimes more even. And for the most part, these are about catching Bugsnax for them, for various reasons. One guy wanted me to catch him a Kwookie, so that he could eat it and turn his teeth into cookies because they would taste better. Another guy wanted me to get him two Bobsicles (yes, based on popsicles) so that he could make his feet colder to withstand the burning desert sand. Pretty clever, I gotta say.
When they do eventually come back to town, you get to interview them to get information about what really happened to Lizbert, slowly uncovering the mystery. This whole process of finding all the NPCs and convincing them to come back does feel a bit repetitive after a while though. And it feels like I just go here and there collecting this and that Bugsnax for them. Just a whole bunch of fetch quests, really, with some exceptions.
To catch Bugsnax, you get access to a variety of tools that will help you get the job done. The most basic of them all, and the first one you get, is the button-operated Snak Trap. It allows you to capture Bugsnax that walk into its radius. Though, if the captured Bugsnax stay inside for too long, they can break out of it. It can't capture Bugsnax that are too large or too quick either, but it's a good tool that gets the job done in the earlier parts of the game. Among other tools you get is a launchpad, that really allows you to get pretty creative with the catching process. It can launch the Snak Trap into the sky to capture flying Bugsnax, or you can use it to reach far-away platforms yourself.
When you find the Bugsnax you want to catch, you have to scan it with the SnaxScope which gives you information about their behaviours, and what they love or hate (which can be other Bugsnax or sauces like chocolate, ketchup, hot sauce, and more). Some Bugsnax, for example, get scared easily, and will then hide in a bush and not come out until another Bugsnax chases it out, or you can lure it out with their favourite sauce using the Sauce Slinger. You can also make various Bugsnax fight each other by leading them into each other's path with a trail of sauce. This comes in handy when you want to catch stronger Bugsnax that are too large for the Snak Trap. When they charge into each other, one or both of them will get stunned and unable to move for a set amount of time, allowing you to easily capture them in the Bug Net.
I had a lot of fun figuring out how to catch various Bugsnax. There are a total of 100 different ones for you to collect and register in the Bugapedia. Hunting down and catching each and every one of them is optional though, but for the completionists out there, like me, this is half the fun. You really have to explore every nook and cranny of Snaktooth Island to find them all, and with every different biome of the island being as varied as they are, this never gets boring.
I have to say, the voice acting here is excellent. I love how every character has their own unique and very charming personalities, and their voice actors have done a solid job making them all feel genuine and fun. I never got bored listening to everything they had to say, even though it is quite a lot of dialogue throughout the game.
I did, however, run into a few issues during my adventure. The game does suffer from some technical bugs here and there. For example, there were some quests that just wouldn't complete even though I had fulfilled every task in them. I actually had to close the game and boot it up again to make it work more than just a few times. That can get a bit frustrating, for sure, but it is nothing that can't be fixed with a patch down the line.
All in all, I did enjoy playing through Bugsnax. It is wacky, charming, and surprisingly story-heavy. The story is enjoyable and surprises with some very interesting twists. I did enjoy catching every single Bugsnax on the island while uncovering some of its many mysteries too. There are even some giant Legendary Bugsnax to catch as well, which offers some interesting boss battles to change things up a bit. While it does feel a bit repetitive in the long run, it is still a game worth checking out if you like a good mystery to solve, or if you like to get busy catching and collecting creatures, a lot like Pokémon.
Loading next content