Friday, 27 September 2019

Bear With Me - The Complete Collection ★★★☆☆

I love a good pun, so I had to find out more about ‘Bear With Me: The Complete Collection’ – out now on PC, the game contains three episodes that have been released one-by-one since 2016, each following Ted, the pretty hardcore teddy bear detective (Miles Rand) with a sharp tongue and somewhat cynical outlook on life. In episode one he finds himself coming back out of retirement to help Amber (Mia Sable), an innocent and naïve young girl, find her missing brother Flint. The two following episodes continue the storyline but branch out from Amber’s house to the larger area of Paper City, giving loads of interesting and varied locations to explore. What differs ‘The Complete Collection’ from just buying the episodes separately is that the new prequel ‘The Lost Robots’ is included.

The story is a classic point-and-click, and you have the ability to play as both Ted and Amber (although you have no choice who to play – the game decides this for you). To find Flint you have to undertake a lot of investigating, which is mainly completed through clicking on objects and interviewing other characters, and there are many puzzles littered in between. Most of these puzzles are enjoyable but some are super frustrating, particularly later on in the game – being a linear game, if you get stuck you’ve just got to work it out (something I’ve now learnt that I’m not very good at).

I like point and click games as they’re a bit different to the many RPGs and open-world games that I’m usually attracted to, however, there’s one thing that always puts me off which is the gameplay speed. Unfortunately like many other games, ‘Bear With Me’ suffers with this issue – the pace of the two characters is remarkably slow, and one thing you’ll notice very quickly is how, when clicking on an object across the room, your character has to walk all the way over to it before they can interact with it. I found myself getting quite aggro at points – I’m a quick reader and explorer, so waiting for the game to catch up felt like a waste of my time.

The game makes up for this by having such an interesting and intriguing storyline though – whilst it’s a bit erratic in parts, generally, the story is well-done and there’s a fair bit of development, especially after the first episode. Episode one is somewhat clunky and tiring, however, this dramatically improves in episode two and three so it’s worth getting through it (it’s only around two hours long) just to get to the rest of the story. The prequel is also really interesting as you get to play as Flint and Ted, which adds loads more to the storyline of the three main episodes.

The best bit of the game is, of course, the humour – Ted and Amber are constantly exchanging hilarious lines with one another, and I appreciate Ted’s pessimistic and dry stance on things. There are loads of great characters and some are frankly hilarious, however, you’ll also find a few that feel like they don’t serve much of a purpose. The game is particularly good for those that love pop culture references as there’s plenty to be had, and it adds even more humour to an already funny game. On top of that, the game breaks the fourth wall quite a lot, and it’s done very well.

The other thing I really liked was the design, in particular, the attention to detail in each scene. The black and white aesthetic is stand-out and captivating, and those little details hidden throughout make you want to explore each scene and click on everything you can to gain as many visual and auditory delights as possible (even with the slow character speed). The style worked really well for the type of game, and it was this that managed to get me through such a slow start.

It's not perfect, but ‘Bear With Me’ is a fun little game that many people will enjoy – the humour is on point and the storyline gets progressively better as it goes on. I’d suggest playing it in small doses so you don’t get irked by the movement speed and sometimes confusing plot devices, but it’s certainly a good one to chill out with and have a bit of fun. 

Hannah Read

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