Review by Eric Kelly

Game Review: Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back (PS4)

Game Review: Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back (PS4)

Does anyone remember Bubsy the Bobcat for the SNES and Megadrive/Genesis? I sure do, and man, was it not a very fun game that inexplicably got a few sequels, and a failed pilot for a cartoon show. It was published by Accolade, and it even has quite the backstory towards any of the game's development and planned multi-media franchising. But at least the first game was a mess from what I remember. Almost at every turn, the game would practically invent ways of killing you. Run too fast and you crash in a wall? You die. Or fall too great from a height even though it doesn't seem likely, you'll die. It was frankly, just mean. And Bubsy also has the temerity to say the iconic phrase: “What could possibly go wrong?” Everything Bubsy, that's what. But fast-forward to 2017 and now there's a sequel that no one actually asked for. And the result is better than you'd expect, but not as good as it should have been.

The game has a few brief illustrated cutscenes that reveal that Bubsy's Golden Ball of Yarn has been stolen by the dreaded Woolies, who are back for 'reasons'. Basically, it's the plot of Donkey Kong Country. The gameplay from the original Bubsy is back in this installment, with the game playing in a 2D space, albeit now with polygons. You can still use Bubsy's old moveset, like jumping and gliding, but now there's also the ability to pounce and attack enemies that way. It has an arc, so be careful when using it. You still can only take a single hit before dying, but collecting one shirt will give you a barrier, with additional shirts providing extra lives. With all these extra shirts, you'll likely be able to rack up the life count, which only begs the question why even bother having them in the first place. 

Unlike the previous game, it's actually not all that challenging. The Glide move is actually easy to use, and you can, and should just avoid most enemies. And the game also is generally not trying to kill you at every turn. But this is where the game just fails to take any advantage it had to be interesting. The game is short, and can be completed in less than an hour, unless you want to challenge yourself to get all the keys to open the Vaults of Yarn in any level, or beat a level without dying. And the level design is just boring. But there are some issues other than it's length, design, and lack of difficulty. The framerate is a stable 60 frames, but the hit detection can be off at times. And Bubsy's little quips will get annoying, and aren't even that amusing. But the biggest mystery is why bosses don't have their health reset after dying and challenging them again. I'm pretty sure that's not intentional, leaving me to wonder if the game's code is somewhat incomplete. At the end of the day, this is a game that not many asked for, and the only other thing it did wrong is not daring to be more than it ended up being.  

The Bottom Line: A somewhat competently made platformer starring a character we all thought was dead, but ultimately the game is just mediocre. 

Acquisition Method: This game's review code was provided by the publisher.   

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The game isn't trying to kill you at every turn.
  • The game doesn't seem to have any framerate problems.
The Bad:
  • The game seems to be missing code that doesn't refill a bosses health after you die and fight them again.
  • The fact that this could have been more.

Eric is one of the co-hosts of the RPGrinders podcast, as well as a freelance video game writer. You can follow him on Twitter @EricRPG .

Review by - 11/10/2017 11:59 AM753 views

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