OUR RATING 7/10
In this game, you will play an investigative journalist, invited by the intrepid explorer Elizabert Megafigo, to explore a remote island called Grandsnak, in order to write an article about the strange creatures that live there. These beings are known as Bugsnax and, as their name suggests, they are half an insect, half a snack.
The problem is that when you arrive at the site, you discover that Liz has strangely disappeared and the residents of the quiet town of Snackburg have spread across the island after a terrible fight. Your goal from there is to find clues about your colleague’s disappearance, bring the inhabitants back to Snackburg and hear their stories.
To do this, you must travel between the eight areas of the map: Areias Chiante, Bubbly Bay, Fervent Springs, Ravine Esturricada, Mata dos Pinhais, Pico Glaceado, Arvoredo Campesino and Cachoeira, and convince the characters to return, offering them Bugsnax to eat – but beware, they have side effects.
You will meet Filbo – the replacement mayor of Snackburg, and after Liz has disappeared, try to bring everyone together again; Wambus is a farmer who takes care of the plantation; Wiggle is a local pop singer; and Beffica is the city gossip. In addition to these, there are other characters that you will meet, each with a different personality.
Throughout the journey, you will learn the history of all these Grumpus and understand the reason that led them to Grandsnak; most want to find some meaning in life, others look for inspiration.
To catch Bugsnax, you have a series of gadgets. The usual one is a trap that is activated from a distance, but there is also a slingshot that throws chocolate to attract your target. You will also have other various gadgets that we will not detail so as not to spoil surprises. Catching certain species involves small puzzles, some of them quite rewarding to overcome. It is not a difficult game, but some bug may be quite hidden, which is why you will have to be very observant of your surroundings.
You will need to scan them with a SnaxScope to register them in your Insetopedia and receive tips on how to capture them correctly. Let’s say the title is very reminiscent of the Pokémon and Pokémon Snap franchise games, in which we have to get and register them all. The most interesting thing is that each of these creatures was designed in an original way and Young Horses spared no creative efforts to develop as many new animals as possible.
After you scan the Bugsnax, you will know how to catch them, you will be able to map the routes and you will have at your disposal, as you explore the island’s locations, various traps and items. It may seem strange, but you will have a slingshot that launches various types of sauces and toppings that are born in bushes scattered around Grandsnak, such as chocolate, melted cheese, ketchup, peanut butter and others. With these delicious combinations, the Bugsnax will be attracted to the traps and captured.
There are also plenty of puzzles to solve, in case you want to complete your Insetopedia and satisfy the insatiable appetite of Snackburg residents. For this, in addition to the basic trap, throughout the campaign you will also receive other tools and devices to capture more powerful Bugsnax, such as Louve-a-Nacho, which breaks the simplest trap. Certain creatures appear at certain times, so everything can depend on whether it’s day or night in the game.
PROs, CONs and OVERALL GAMING EXPERIENCE
It is not easy to clarify what Bugsnax is, and that is the best indicator of how original its concept is. Basically, your work consists of rebuilding a camp where its inhabitants ended up growing ketchup due to the shortage of insects. Yes, as you read it. They ended up badly with each other, and your task is to listen to their stories and fulfill the tasks that they entrust you to advance in this peculiar game system.
The excellent English dubbing with a great cast, creates a unique and satisfying immersion experience, as the dialogues compile delicate themes such as mental health, togetherness, friendship and diversity, making these characters less artificial and more human.
The game is a lot of fun. You are taken to a world with bizarre creatures that complement a very unusual formula. In addition to the main campaign you will have many activities to do, such as putting together an album and collecting all species of Bugsnax. There are 100 of them, including a strange fusion of pizza with moth, a Louve-a-Nacho (as the name says: mantis with nachos) and many others.
Capturing Bugsnax with these tools is quite satisfying and fun; however, after a while these actions can become repetitive and the gameplay can become a little dull. The point is that you practically do the same route over and over again, that is, go to Snackburg, talk to a Grumpus, take the mission and go back to the specified area. This round trip, coupled with fun but not challenging hunting practice, can end up leading some players to withdraw.
On PlayStation 4, the frequent loading screens can get annoying. There are no quick trips to Snackburg or the other areas on the map, so you need to do the entire route on foot, passing through the zones they charge separately. The problem is that traveling repeatedly between one and the other can be tedious.
Fascinatingly, what makes Bugsnax a fun and recommended game is its art style and brilliant soundtrack. “It’s Bugsnax” is the name of the game’s theme song, which was composed by British band Kero Kero Bonito. The lyrics practically summarize the game and the fun melody exemplifies the level of joy present in the work.
The title is also visually charming, with varying shades and a color palette very inspired by the animation films of the big movie studios. Creating a beautiful environment with a lot of life and diversity, Young Horses managed to take a crazy idea and turn it into something surprising, breaking the labels of an industry increasingly obsessed with graphics.
Bugsnax is the type of game generally labeled as generic, but the brilliant formula used by Young Horses has made it one of the most satisfying releases of the year. It has a wonderful story and lovely characters that will make you feel happy and sentimental all the time, especially when incorporating important themes like mental health, togetherness and friendship.
It is too entertaining and intriguing to give up in the middle of the campaign, even if it is necessary to ignore its repetitive gameplay and its frequent and irritating loading screens. Ultimately, capturing and delighting in creatures that are half insect, half snack nourishes life with joy and good feelings, however bizarre it may seem.