Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back is a real game that actually exists. Yes, after over 20 years, the oft-forgotten loquacious marsupial is back. But just like Bubsy in the 1990's, Bubsy in 2017 will be tied to other better platformers.
Bubsy To the Future
If we go back to when Bill Clinton was still in office, Bubsy was essentially a large-scale multimedia project to create the next best platforming mascot. The gameplay of the original Bubsy was your standard 2D 1990's platforming affair, but Bubsy's gimmick was that he could glide and spouted more one-liners than Gex the Gecko. But no matter what, he couldn't top his contemporaries…he couldn't top Mario. In 1996, Bubsy 3D, one of the worst games of all time, was released two months after Super Mario 64, arguably the greatest game ever created (especially for the time). Granted, no one could have expected Super Mario 64 to perfect the 3D platformer as early as 1996, but that's beside the point.
Super Bubsy Odyssey
Super Mario 64 silenced the bobcat, as Bubsy would forever live in the plumber's shadow, never to repeat the mistake again. Now, in October 2017, Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back releases less than a week after Super Mario Odyssey. I'm not going to sit here and tell you why this was a bigger gaffe than “Dewey Defeats Truman”, but these two games are night and day.
Bubsy 2017 is a dull, boring, collect-athon stuck in the mid-2000's that looks like it uses the Mighty No. 9 engine. Uninspired gameplay keeps this short title stuck in the last decade. Who thought it was a good idea to bring this game out at this time? Was it a joke to bring it out on Halloween? Is it to scare the kids from ever playing video games again?
The Good, The Bad, and The Bubsy
I'm not trying to be edgy or snarky when I call this game awful. It's the popular thing to do, to bash on Bubsy. But I'm not. I'm being as objective as possible. I genuinely don't know who would spend $30.00 on a game that can be beaten in less than two hours and that uses 600 collectibles per level to pad out the length. This is coming from someone who, for the most part, loves collectibles in video games. The problem is Bubsy 2017 doesn't make collecting the balls of yarn worthwhile. The game presents no drive or incentive to collect all 600 per level. I hate to beat a dead bobcat, but when compared to Super Mario Odyssey, which is constantly rewarding you for grabbing its hundreds of moons and coins, Bubsy falls flat on its face.
Sure, it controls okay, with Bubsy being able to glide and pounce, but that's about it. The biggest problem with this game is the price. It has an unacceptable $30.00 price tag. We are living in an era where even AAA games are being released at a bargain price. Just take a look at Cuphead or Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice or Rock of Ages II – some of the best games of the year are released below $30.00. Maybe if Bubsy was a $10.00 title, I would be much more forgiving. It's also painfully obvious this a re-skinned, slightly altered version of Black Forest Games' other title, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams.
Puns: The Headline
Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back feels like the type of game your grandmother accidentally buys you for Christmas, and you pretend to be happy about it, and then you sell it back to Gamestop for a buck for lunch money. At least a chicken sandwich on the Dollar Menu at McDonald's has some use.
DISCLAIMER: Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back was provided by Accolade for review.