It can be great just to jump into a game, either from a low learning curve or from a genre/title that has not gone through many changes over the years, so you know exactly what to do from the get-go. One genre of game that fits into the hasn’t changed much model is the point and click adventure genre. Point and click games do struggle with this lack of changes as they can become a bit of a slog to get through if the story isn’t interesting, and obviously the gameplay is never going to be a reason to play them. One with a rather interesting premise has just hit the current generation of consoles for the first time after being a PC exclusive since its release in 2016, which is the film noir-inspired Bear with Me: The Complete Collection.
In the complete collection of Bear with Me, you will receive the original three episodes, as well as the prequel, Lost Robots, which only came out at the end of last month. It doesn’t really matter in which order you want to play the games. Usually, I would always go for the prequel first (this is how I start my Star Wars marathons), but I decided to change things up a bit, stick a finger up to the man and do something unconventional, and so I started with the original three episodes.
During the first episodes, you will play as a 10-year-old girl named Amber, and her detective friend, Ted E. Bear, who is, as you’ve probably guessed, a teddy bear. I imagine most of you have reacted in the same way I did when I found out Ted’s name: with some eye-rolling and a big, long, loud sigh. Thankfully, Ted’s name is the only bad thing about the character as he (as you could probably guess with the game being sort of named after him) the best part of Bear with Me. The overall story is basic: Amber and Ted are searching for Amber’s lost brother, Flint. In the Lost Robots prequel, you play as Flint and the returning Ted as you take to the streets of Paper City. The story, while basic, is quite gripping. It starts off a bit slow, but once you get past Episode 1, it becomes a lot more interesting, and you’ll find yourself saying, “Oh, just ten more minutes,” in the same way we all say, “Just one more episode” while binging the latest hit series on Netflix (Mindhunter for me this week!).
Ted is by far the highlight of both adventures. His wisecracks, references and jokes (mostly) are a joy, and the character is by far the best voice performance in Bear with Me. A lot of the other characters have decent voice performances, but there are some that will just get on your nerves, and this becomes particularly unbearable when you must revisit them on a few occasions. Speaking of unbearable, the load times. If they were not as frequent as they are, it wouldn’t be much of an issue, but because there is a lot of backtracking to be done, they become a bit of an annoying problem. The reason for all the backtracking is the puzzles you’ll solve throughout Bear with Me. While not particularly taxing, they can stump you for a while as you search for items you need in locations you could have sworn had nothing left to find.
One thing that is not a struggle is looking at Bear with Me. It is a gorgeous game that perfectly utilizes the noir-style monochrome colour scheme, and each character you’ll encounter has been beautifully created. The simple yet effective art style of Bear with Me will have you hitting that screenshot button dozens of times, especially when some great dialogue appears on the screen. You’ll also be treated to comic strips narrated by Ted throughout, which cover key parts of the story.
The story itself will not take you long to complete, with the original collection taking around 5 hours to finish and the prequel just over an hour and a half. Those times are only the basic times though, and if you don’t skip any of the dialogue (even though it can be tempting), explore everywhere and try and get all the achievements, you’ll be able to squeeze a bit more time out of Ted’s adventures.
Developer: Exorcism Games
Publisher: Modus Games
Platform: Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4
Release Date: 31st July 2019