Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back review for PS4, PC

Platform: PS4
Also On: PC
Publisher: Accolade
Developer: Black Forest Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Ahh, Bubsy … Gamers everywhere either hate him or really hate him. In the early ’90s he was considered a rip off of Sonic The Hedgehog and countless other rodents that littered the mascot scene at the time. Bubsy was the bottom of the barrel (even below Rocky Rodent) and his games were critically panned. For some reason Accolade and Black Forest Games decided to bring him back with a new adventure, and … well, it’s definitely a game that is playable.

In Bubsy’s world, there are these little aliens called Woolies, and apparently they love yarn. They roam the planet stealing all the yarn they can find for unknown reasons, but when they steal Bubsy’s prized Golden Yarn ball, it’s up to him to stop the invasion and save the world’s yarn supply. It’s an extremely silly concept that really doesn’t work on any level. Heroes in games like this usually rescue animals, princesses, and even set out to overthrow an evil army, but Bubsy is just into yarn, because… he’s a cat, I guess. This is just one of many things I could never figure out about little Bubs. If you’ve played a Bubsy game in the past, then i’ll bet you are expecting a boring side scrolling adventure with horrible controls and difficult platforming, and you would only be partially right. This is a run of the mill side scrolling platformer with really nothing new introduced, but the difficulty and controls of past Bubsy games are nowhere to be found.

Bubsy was one of the only platformers I can remember that actually had you die from jumping off of a high platform onto a lower one, something that no game of this type should ever include. The developers gave Bubsy the ability to glide to safely make blind jumps, but it barely worked and caused a lot of unneeded frustration. Thankfully for this new outing, the fall damage has been removed and the gliding is only needed to reach objects and far away platforms. Other issues plaguing the past games was Bubs inability to take damage, as one hit would end his life and his unpredictable speed that would see him outrun the screen scrolling and crash into an unseen enemy. While the one hit deaths are still present, his speed has been normalized and is far easier to control. You also have an added “Pounce” ability that makes it a little easier to defeat enemies, but most of the time you can just jump on their heads.

The graphics are a mix of 2D scrolling and 3D models. While the levels look fairly decent, it’s nothing that will blow you away. The landscapes are bright and colorful, with some nice animations throughout. Character models look and animate well, but again, it’s nothing to get excited over. While nothing looks terrible, it’s all just very underwhelming. The sound effects and music mostly fit with the overall style of the game, but since Bubsy is preloaded with lots of ‘tude, he constantly spews out one liners that get annoying quickly. Thankfully you can decrease the amount of speech in the options menu as well as change the volume of the music and sound effects if they get annoying for you.

There really isn’t much to say about this new Bubsy that can persuade the haters out there. It’s a simple, underwhelming platformer with a goofy plot and mediocre challenge. Many of the problems that plagued the past Bubsy games have been fixed or completely removed, at least making this new game playable, but that’s the only new thing really presented here. It’s fun in small doses, but gets boring with longer play sessions. I’m still puzzled as to why anyone thought Bubsy needed to make a comeback as no one  really missed him. It’s not as bad as I originally thought it would be, but it’s nothing new at the same time. Give it a try if your curious, you might like it. Just be thankful they didn’t try to remake Bubsy 3D.

Ed’s Note: UFO Interactive provided us with a Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back PS4 review code for review purposes.

Grade: C+