reviews\ Jul 8, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Naughty Bear review


Like tattoos of the Tazmanian Devil, Naughty Bear carries the lineage of trying to make something cute and cuddly into something tough and rife with badassery. You play as Naughty Bear, an evil little cuss who is ostracized by his fellow bears. Things come to a head when he isn’t invited to another bear’s birthday, leading him to go on a killing spree, threatening, beating, and murdering any bear that gets in his way.

The concept is somewhat intriguing, adding a darker twist on an otherwise benign setting, mixing carnage with cuteness. However, the story never truly capitalizes on its potential. You never really care about the characters or the plot, instead simply going around and wantonly slaying everything that comes within your eye line. Literally, all you do is go around killing other bears; there is next to no mission structure, and little reason to stay invested in the experience unless you have a fetish for brutalizing little stuffed animals. Granted, you’ll have to pull off certain victory conditions like time limits, but just about everything boils down to killing as many enemies as possible.

The game’s combat system doesn’t fare much better, being a very simplistic affair with only one attack button and one dodge button. You pull off combos and quick attacks by tapping the attack button, or hold it down to do heavy attacks. Additionally, you can pull off ultra kills, which are weapon-specific executions done when you’ve almost completely defeated your opponent. There’s only one of these kills per weapon, thus ultra kills (along with the rest of the combat) gets old very quickly.

Aside from straight-up killing your enemies, you’ll get the opportunity to scare the crap out of them. Killing their buddies is a good way to scare them if they come across the death scene, but you can jump out and yell “boo!” should you want to be more proactive in terrorizing them. You can also ensnare them in traps, and pull off a “super-scare”. Doing this can cause them to go crazy and even kill themselves.

Stealth plays a minor role in some sequences in Naughty Bear, but this isn’t fleshed out very well at all. You’ll have to sneak up on enemies at moments, but the AI is quite erratic in this regard, as it’s extremely difficult to gauge whether or not your victims will know that you’re coming. You might be hidden completely in one situation only to have your enemies find you randomly, which can be pretty frustrating.

Graphically, the game is a mess, with weak environments and character models. The camera is completely bonkers, whipping around at some moments, getting caught up in the environment at others. The technical issues carry beyond this, with clipping issues and a variety of other bugs, including some full-on lockups and a choppy framerate.

Naughty Bear strives to be tasteless and base, but in order for a game to truly pull that off it has to be funny, which Naughty Bear definitely isn’t. The story is empty and the narration gets irritating very quickly. The gameplay is repetitive, the mission structure is absent, the graphics are lousy, and the whole experience is mired by a variety of technical shortcomings and bugs. Simply put, there’s no reason to play this game, unless you really hate teddy bears.

Below Average

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