Bugsnax is a UFO which arrives in a rather fleshy period, that of the launches of new generations consoles. Also available on PS5 (in addition to the PS4 and PC) via the PS Plus in November, it could therefore be your first title on the Sony machine because you don’t have anything else on hand like a Spider-Man Miles Morales or one Demon’s Souls. Developed by Young Horses, the creators of the excellent Octodad, let’s see if Bugsnax will charm us with its quirkiness.
Test condition: We played Bugsnax for about ten hours on PS4 Pro. We also briefly tested performance on PlayStation 5.
Hunger justifies the means
Bugsnax, a strange name that is actually a contraction of bug (insect in French) and snack that all eaters know well. A perfect description of these strange creatures that we will meet throughout the game. However, they are only present on an island just as mysterious, populated by colonists who love these dishes. As a journalist whose career is on a razor’s edge, you go there to investigate and unravel the secrets of these bugsnax.
After an eventful arrival, you learn that Lizbert Megafig is missing. Charismatic and fearless expedition leader who is at the origin of your departure, his absence also shattered the cohesion of the inhabitants of the town of Snaxburg. In Bugsnax, your missions will be to find Lizbert while convincing the Grumpus to come back to town without forgetting the reason why you started this journey: the bugsnax.
That’s good because they will be at the center of all your actions. Because to bring everyone together again, each will ask to capture it on behalf of his gluttony and his curiosity. This adventure which mixes investigation, puzzles, and a collection of Pokémon-style monsters can be enjoyed as much if you are a child or an adult. Even if one should not expect something very surprising in the mechanics of the game, the title of Young Horse is quite extravagant that one is caught in a few hours. A curiosity which is full of nice ideas but which still lacks finishing.
Catch and eat them all
Bugsnax poses a fairly simple but captivating diagram. We travel through several biomes of the islands in order to find the inhabitants who ask us to capture particular bugsnax for them in order to convince them to return to Snaxburg. Once there, we can interview them as a good journalist in order to learn more about Lizbert’s disappearance by gathering valuable information and even clues.
The main activity is of course the capture of bugnax which often requires very specific methods. If the first are fairly easy to get thanks to the simple snax catcher, the others will require skillful combinations with other equipment or elements of the decor. Nothing very difficult since the snaxoscope (a camera) gives you many clues about bugnax in addition to listing them. There is no need to say, the collection of creatures is often involved whatever the game especially as the mixtures of insects and foods make that we want to know which will be the next creature that will make us giggle. while exploring.
Bugsnax has a fairly well-rounded humorous dimension and, again, accessible to all ages, but unfortunately not to all nationalities. Indeed, despite the efforts of the French translation, the puns on the names of bugsnax are very difficult to transcribe. For example, the crapples (the mixture of a crab and apples which translates as “apples” in English) becomes in French “carapomme”.
In addition, the app borrows references to web culture such as the “Virgin vs Chad” (a famous Anglo-Saxon meme) embodied here by Chandlo and Snorpy. Without these references, and the puns of the English version of the title, we will undeniably miss part of the atmosphere.
A mixture of flavors
Bugnax skillfully mixes what we just mentioned and offers us a pleasant journey with the investigation, the capture of bugsnax, and the development of the town of Snaxburg. Because the return of the inhabitants unlocks new features in the city and offers us side quests to learn more about each of them. The characters are also quite well written casually for this kind of title, all supported by a particularly successful English dubbing.
When it comes to gameplay, the good things run out of steam pretty quickly. We quickly go around in circles with the different objects once we understand the principle. The ways of capturing bugsnax quickly become redundant as well as their designs (with reskin), however the game is short enough (between 8 and 12 hours) so that it is not really penalizing in its entirety. On PS4, the rather long loading times between each zone also make exploring quite annoying. A defect that is corrected in the PS5 version.
As for the music, the artistic direction of Bugsnax Not everyone will like it, however we can admit that this is part of its charm due to its quirky essence.