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Video Games

Bugsnax : Some Thoughts

Where to start on this? Bugsnax is a recent adventure game, having released just over a week ago on PS4, PS5 and PC. It was in development for about 6 years. It took so long because the development team (independent studio Young Horses, best known for Octodad) wanted/needed time to figure out what the game was. Having played the game, I can understand the need to figure it out. You can see it heavily draws inspiration from Pokemon and some other classics, but it is certainly unique in its own right.

I guess I should start by answering a simple question, what is a Bugsnax? A Bugsnax is a creature, half bug and half snack. Imagine if Pokemon were made of food and you have a Bugsnax. They come in all shapes and sizes, and all of them are delicious. Some are fruity. Some are meaty. Some are sweet. Burgers, pancakes, soda, donuts, pizza and plenty of other flavours to choose from! So, they are basically edible Pokemon. Although you cannot tell me with a straight face that Pokemon haven’t been eaten. I can guarantee that in the world of Pokemon, people have consumed them. I guarantee it. Anyway, there are 100 species of Bugsnax and they inhabit an island, known as Snaktooth.

You play as an unnamed reporter, who gets invited to Snaktooth by Lizbert Megafig, an explorer who has fallen out of favour with the world. Oh and you aren’t human. You are a creature known as a Grumpus, which I guess are the equivalent of humans in this world. You seem to be top of the food chain, especially as far as Bugsnax are concerned. Risking your life and your job, you head to the island, only to discover that Lizbert is missing and all of the Grumpuses that came to Snaktooth with her have scattered around the island. You are tasked with finding Lizbert, bringing all the Grumpuses back together and uncovering the mystery of the island. All in a days work. I’ll say no more on the story, except that is weird and intriguing.

As I already mentioned, it is an adventure game. It takes place from a first person perspective and also has some puzzle solving aspects to it. Your missions usually take place in the form of catching a certain type of Bugsnax and feeding it to the quest giver. They are addicted big time to consuming Bugsnax. Don’t worry, whatever guilt you feel for catching and feeding these innocent creatures is quickly dissipated. Mine lasted for about 2 minutes. After you get your first kill, it’s easier. By the end of it, you do it just for fun or even out of spite. That seems psychotic now that I have put it into words, but it is true.

At one part of the game, I was waiting for it to rain. I had to wait almost an hour! An actual hour, not an in game hour (which is about 60 seconds). I couldn’t leave the area, so I passed the time by torturing a small Pinkle, basically an upside down jar of pickles with eyes. I would snatch its shell away from it and throw it across the hill and watch it scatter, fearful for it’s life. That also sounds psychotic, but you listen to a Pinkle say it’s own name for an hour and you’ll go crazy too.

Anyway, back to the quests. You are often tasked with catching Bugsnax and feeding them to the quest giver. When they consume a Bugsnax, part of their body transforms. So if someone consumes a Sodie (like a soda fish) one of their body parts will transform into a soda can. It is still a fully functioning limb (I’m not sure how) it just looks different. If they eat enough, their entire body transforms. Again, they are still somehow fully functioning. Everybody eats Bugsnax, except for you. You’re allergic. Oh and one other Grumpus won’t eat them. I think his name was Grample. He liked to keep them as pets and friends. I took great satisfaction in feeding him Bugsnax in his sleep. Gosh, this game really brought out the worst in me.

Some Bugsnax are very easy to catch, as simple as walking up and snatching them in your net. Others are more complex and require you to learn their path and plant a trap. Others need to be lured out with things they love, usually a sauce of some kind. Some need to be tripped. Others knocked out. Some thawed. Some extinguished. Some hide underground or in trees. Others are giant creatures that need to be broken down first. Some only come out at night or when it’s raining. I liked catching Bugsnax, because it encouraged me to think. It wasn’t always intuitive and sometimes it was just awkward and hard to execute, but for the most part it was satisfying and rewarding.

Last night, I caught the last Bugsnax I needed to complete my encyclopaedia. All 100 species, captured, by me and consumed, by my friends. I felt genuine satisfaction upon completing it. I didn’t use any guides or walkthroughs. I just put my brain to work and got the job done. Chicago and I high fives when we caught the last one. A little bit of advice, if you notice it is raining, go and catch a Caramel Poptick in Flavour Falls. It does not rain a lot and you will have to wait a long time for it.

I can definitely recommend Bugsnax, especially if you are playing on PlayStation. It is currently free with a PS Plus subscription. Honestly, that’s the only reason I checked it out, but I’m glad I did. I had a lot of fun. It wasn’t overly difficult but it was still challenging. The game won’t hold your hand and it encourages you to think. It was childish and adult at the same time. Spooky but not scary. Definitely weird and funny. I had a great time!

I’m currently working on a guide for it, so if you are playing and need help on anything, let me know in the comments! I completed the game 100% and got all the achievements/trophies as well. So, sing out if you have any questions!

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