So many, many moons ago I fell in love with a game called Pokemon Snap. My wife (girlfriend at the time) and I would spend hours playing, laughing, and trying to figure out the best way to get all the Pokemon out and “capture” them. It’s been a very long time waiting for something similar to come out, and then came Bugsnax.
Bugsnax is a first-person adventure game, in which players traverse Snaktooth Island trying to find and capture different species of Bugsnax using various contraptions. Over 100 Bugsnak species are available for capture. Once captured, the Bugsnax can be fed to the local Grumpuses, which transforms their bodies based on the properties of whatever Bugsnak they eat. Players control a newspaper reporter, who one day receives a film strip in the mail from Elizabert Megafig, a disgraced explorer. Elizabert details the mysterious Snaktooth Island, inhabited by creatures called Bugsnax who are “half bug and half snack”, and encourages the reporter to come to the island and document them for the world to see. Intrigued, the reporter makes their way onto the island, only to discover from Elizabert’s assistant Filbo Fiddlepie that she has gone missing, and all the other Grumpuses that joined her on her expedition have scattered. Filbo requests that the journalist help him bring the others back to their makeshift home of Snaxburg so that they might band together and find out what happened to Elizabert.
So basically your job is to traverse the island and capture Bugsnax for the different Grumpuses (think like muppets) to reunite the town and find out what happened to Elizabert. The game as mentioned above plays very similar to Pokemon Snap. The different Bugsnax have (mostly) set patterns and places they appear (sometimes depending on day/night rain/shine cycles) and you have to figure out how to catch them. Now some are as easy as just walking up and picking them up. Some require traps, baits, and other gadgets you unlock along the way to capture them. Overall they aren’t too difficult to figure out thanks to info you get when you “scan” them with your SnaxScope, which will show you the pattern they walk in, what they do, and don’t like, and what type of bait works best to attract them. The game features 100 different types of Bugsnax, which are freaking adorable by the way, and even make sure of the speaker in the PlayStation controller which is a nice and very underutilized feature. While reviewing the game I didn’t have the opportunity to catch them all, but you do eventually see some reskins or variations on Bugsnax so there isn’t a ton of different ways to catch them as it may seem at first.
One of the cooler things about the game that wasn’t evident to me from the early footage and trailers we saw was the story elements. The Grumpuses you interact with throughout the game are all full-voice acted (and well), have a story to tell, unique personalities, and even feature LGBTQ and non-binary characters. They really are surprisingly well written and are really the stars of the game at heart through the stories they tell and what you help them with along the way. They feature loves lost, abusive relationships, insecurities, depression, and the like which really give this title much more depth than what may look like a very basic game. Also, it’s fun feeding them Bugsnax and transforming them into horrific food Frankensteins, but that’s just me. The entire story takes about 8 hours or so, so the game doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.
All in all the game is a cute, fun hunt and catch em all game for the whole family that features a surprisingly well thought out and executed cast and story to boot. At 24.99 or Free on PS+ for PS5 owners, this is a no-brainer for a fun few hours!