Back in a time much simpler, a squirrel named Conker taught us many things about how to be a bad boy, but looked adorable doing it. Now, it’s the stuffed animals turn. Coming from A2N studios, Naughty Bear has shaped up to be both this generation’s Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and possibly one of the most sadistic things created: and that’s okay. Set up with one of the more simplistic premises (Naughty Bear wasn’t invited to a birthday party and it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back) the gameplay and dynamic is anything but. Based on the Island of Paradise, a land full of stuffed teddy bears is where you make your stand in this adventure, racking up points in the most sadistic and sinister ways possible.
The game works on the idea that while death is fun, it’s how you do it that’s important. The whole premise of Naughty Bear is to simply get back at the bears that have scorned you, and to do that, you must sneak and stealth your way into death’s domain. In doing so, you rack up points, which raises your level on the leaderboards online. Although you could simply come in with a shotgun blazing and watch the fuzz and felt fly, hiding in a closet and waiting for a hapless victim to walk by and snapping their neck: that racks up your points and your multiplier.
That’s where the brilliance and the insanity begins. While on the surface it seems all about the ultimate high score, it’s possible to lose yourself in the fact that this game is visceral in its violence. Limbs go flying, screams echo, and when the guns come out – projectiles are a clean through-and-through. It then becomes a worry if the violence – albeit stylized and impressive – could become desensitized and the appeal lost. Thankfully, The boys at A2N have thought that through a little bit.
Along with score-racking, you will have the option of collecting things like new weapons and uniforms that will give Naughty some special abilities. For example; if you get ahold of the Ninja outfit, you will get a serious boost in speed and stealth, thereby helping your score in those areas. Not only that, during your sneaking around you get a readout of the AI’s reactions to what you are doing. If they are getting scared, angry, or violent back. Plus, you also get a PIP video, showing you exactly what your specific victim is doing, so you can plan accordingly.
Though if you get bored with mayhem and destruction on your own, there is always multiplayer, set up with their own set of game variants, power-ups (in the form of pills or “capsules”), and weapons. Playing in a game like “Golden Oozy” where your score only counts if you kill the player with the golden gun. Or how about “Cake Walk,” a version of Oddball from the “Halo franchise, where to win you simply have to hold onto a cupcake, while it weighs you down and you can’t attack. To give you an edge in the game, things like spore traps to invert your enemies controls or speed capsules to boost your running ability, gives you something to aim for.
Overall, Naughty Bear is looking to be something of an entertaining and gory – if not fluffy – adventure. Yet with that being said, it’s also turning out to be one of the most adorable things to come out as well. Believe me when I say that when you hear a teddy bear yell in agony, all you can do is go “aw.”