BUBSY – PAWS ON FIRE! [Review]: This One, Surprisingly, Has Legs.

Robert “The DCD” Workman

No one really asked for Bubsy to make a comeback, did they? Alas, in 2017, that’s exactly what happened with Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back. And, as expected, he didn’t necessarily make an impact. That game went over like a wet fart, with poor platforming and design that didn’t exactly go over as well as, say, Sonic Maniadid. Alas, Accolade decided to try again, this time going in an entirely different direction with an…endless runner?

Choice Provisions, the creators of the Runnerseries, stepped up in the place of Black Forest, taking over with Bubsy: Paws On Fire!, and many fans began groaning already. But…wait a minute. We dug into the game and…it’s not bad? Wait, it’s actually good? Believe it or not, this sequel – well, more of a second attempt than a sequel, really – actually pulls off what Wooliescould not, and feels like the true comeback that the bobcat truly deserves. If you really want to revisit what the lost game hero is capable of, this is the game to do it with.

True, the game is an endless runner in the spirit of Choice’s Runner games, and doesn’t quite live up to the potential of the company’s previously released Runner3 (probably because it’s lacking that Charles Martinet touch), but it’s not bad in the least. You’ll start out with Bubsy running across stages, using pounce and glide techniques to collect 150 yarn balls across levels while bouncing on enemies and avoiding dangers. Then you’ll run through these stages again with less significant, but still fun, characters like the scientifically nerdy Virgin and the zap-happy Woolie. Complete them all and you’ll be able to tackle a bonus stage with a friendly Armadillo character, and then try your hand at the next round.

I thought Sundays were for relaxing.

While that may feel like you have to go through the same stage again three times, Choice Provisions did design each one differently so that there’s a different challenge each time through, so it can be fun. And each one does have a unique touch with its own special music, so it doesn’t feel like it drags out. That’s a good thing. The controls for the game feel pretty good, though there are times you can slip up on jumps. Fortunately, Bubsy doesn’t punish you too deeply for starting all over again, so don’t feel too bad if you have to restart. Perfection isn’t a necessary thing here.

The game features a lot of levels to work with, along with a presentation that’s pretty sharp. The level design is neat and offers a lot of challenge later on, and the design is way better than whatever The Woolies Strike Back had to deal with. Some of the animations are a bit tiring, but not too bad, really. And the music, provided by Stemage, is most excellent compared to the original soundtrack. That said, a bit of the humor can be on the throwaway side, but at least it’s not as grating as, say, Bubsy 3D. Just be prepared for a few groaners. I mean, it is Bubsyafter all.

Dats nawt nwice.

In the end, if you haveto play a Bubsygame these days, Paws On Fire!is probably the best you’re going to get. The Woolies Strike Back was a terrible mistake in terms of design and execution.

This game, while being stuck in the endless runner mode, at least gets a lot of things right, and is a great deal of fun to play, surprisingly. And the bonus characters and unlockable stuff offers a wealth of stuff to unlock. Plus the soundtrack is surprisingly solid. You may have to put up with a few bad jokes, but at least the game itself isn’t a joke. That’s a bit of a surprise, if you ask me. 3.5/5 “What Could Possibly Go Wrongs”.

-Robert Workman

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