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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  Gaming  |  But is it Fun?  |  Topic: Bugsnax - Young Horses - PS5 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Author Topic: Bugsnax - Young Horses - PS5  (Read 993 times)
Posts: 8556

on: November 25, 2020, 02:58:45 AM

I watched a lot of horror at what many would consider a much too young age and 99% of it didnít leave any long-term mental scars. I do have to admit to at least a small amount of kindertrauma though. Thanks to seeing Cujo at the drive-in when I was 4 years old I was not a fan of dogs for a long time growing up. Another memory seared into my brain from an early age was the Tales from the Darkside episode ďLove HungryĒ. In it, a woman struggling at weight loss receives glasses and a hearing aid that cause her to perceive all food as being alive. At a restaurant food screams in pain as diners cut into it. The fruit in her apartment begs not to be eaten. Iím not going to suggest that this episode had anything to do with my general dislike of anthropomorphic food, or eventually becoming a vegetarian, but clearly this shit stuck with me.

So it was, I honestly had trouble proceeding through the first couple hours of Bugsnax. The premise of the game is fairly horrific at first blush. This is an island filled with food that is alive. A lot of the Bugsnax have cute googly eyes. They say their names in what Iím sure is partially intended as a similarity to Pokťmon, but in the context of this game feels like the notion of saying your name when being abducted to remind your captor of your humanity. When they get eaten by a Grumpus (the humanoid race the main character and surrounding cast are a part of), they are swallowed alive and whole. Only one Grumpus doesnít partake of the Bugsnax, and he keeps them as pets he refers to as kin. He has even placed a Strabby (strawberry with googly eyes) inside something like a hamster ball and trains it to run obstacle courses. This created another level of distaste for me when the plot requires feeding Bugsnax to people to progress.

While I could appreciate what the writers were doing, I honestly wasnít sure I was going to be able to make it through this game at first. Reading some spoilers and seeing where they were going with it helped and I was eventually able to push all the way through it to the point of getting a platinum trophy. Iím going to talk about the gameplay briefly here. Itís fine. Itís almost entirely puzzle solving, requiring the player to figure out how to catch each Bugsnax. Thereís a lot of repetition involved and thereís very little thatís going to tax anyoneís brain here. There may be a handful of times where it will take you longer than 1-5 minutes to figure out how to capture any given Bugsnax and thereís nothing that felt particularly clever. Itís not the reason to play this game.

Iíve likened the story to Cronenberg attempting to write a sincere childrenís story without realizing that heís actually created something more horrific than his previous work. The cuteness of this game not only makes the devouring of Bugsnax all the more horrific to me, but the body horror of the Grumpus body parts being replaced by the shapes of the Bugsnax theyíve eaten is just fucking disturbing at first. It shown in the trailers so people are generally going into this game knowing what theyíre getting into, but being an active participant in it all made it so much worse to me. The plot starts off as a mystery but as things develop, not surprisingly the pieces you start putting together suggest not that not everything is as it seems.

Now I realize that all the body horror and food horror stuff is almost tailor-made to push my buttons and probably nobody elseís here, so here is the main selling point for anybody not me: I think the writers actually did a really good job with these characters. The first couple of characters you run into feel pretty stock early on. As you start to bring other Grumpuses back into town though and get to learn more about them though they feel more ďrealĒ than just about anyone from The Last of Us 2 or similar games. They have relatable insecurities, which a few of them try to deal with by trying to alter their bodies with Bugsnax. They have fleshed out relationships, two out of three of which are same-sex relationships. The dynamic between the jock and the scientist in particular is one of the sweetest relationships Iíve seen in a game and one line of dialogue between the two near the very end actually made me laugh out loud.

I have to wonder if the sole purpose of the art direction was to subvert expectations. Clearly this game is designed to look like a kidís game, and it certainly plays like something all-ages as well. I wouldnít say the writing is inappropriate for kids but neither is it something I think would generally appeal to very young kids especially. I have no idea who the target audience for this game actually is. I havenít read any interviews from the developers, and donít know anything about them. Part of me is curious what exactly was the thought process here in making this game, and part of me would like keep it a baffling mystery. Regardless, Iíll probably pick up whatever these folks release next and maybe go back and play Octodad: Deadliest Catch as well. Buxsnax is flawed as hell, but nobody else is doing anything like this.
Terracotta Army
Posts: 31387

I love my TV an' hug my TV an' call it 'George'.

Reply #1 on: November 25, 2020, 01:58:02 PM

Did you have to eat any eggs, though?

Posts: 18204

sentient yeast infection

Reply #2 on: November 25, 2020, 06:09:39 PM

Did you have to eat any eggs, though?

Too soon.

"I have not actually recommended many games, and I'll go on the record here saying my track record is probably best in the industry." - schild
Posts: 8556

Reply #3 on: November 25, 2020, 07:27:33 PM

Now I really want to see Baby Yoda in a Cool Hand Luke remake.
Terracotta Army
Posts: 7418

Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

Reply #4 on: November 27, 2020, 10:15:03 AM

My 7yo kid, at the opening when you have to feed a strawberry to a guy, "what are you doing?? NO STOP, don't feed the strabby to him!"

So now I'm not playing bugsnax.  This game is more effective than 20 years of greenpeace and peta.
Posts: 8556

Reply #5 on: November 27, 2020, 06:32:29 PM

I like the thought of Hat getting caught playing Bugsnax at 2am by his daughter while heís feeding a Bunger to Gramble while he sleepwalks (yes this sentence makes sense of you play Bugsnax).
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