• John Bush

Game Review #365: Astro Bears (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Steven Green

Developer: SONKA

Publisher: SONKA

Category: Arcade / Multiplayer

Release Date: 07.19.2019

Price (at time of review): $6.99 (free for one month for Astro Bears Party owners)


Buy Astro Bears from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

SNEK

If this game looks and sounds familiar to you just know that you aren’t crazy. This is a re-release of Astro Bears Party which was released on Nintendo Switch almost 2 years ago, and this version comes with improvements, new bears to play as, and less words in the title! Astro Bears is a family party game that is multiplayer-focused and a ton of fun for a group to play locally. A take on the classic, Snake, with clear inspiration from games like the browser-based phenom, Slither.io, this title will take competitive path blocking to a whole new, furry level.



Sneaky SNEK

The basic gameplay mechanic for this title is to maneuver your jet-packed, space-bound bear around a planet of varying size while avoiding the ribbons of the other competitors. As you run you release a ribbon behind you and the goal is to catch your opponents in your ribbon while avoiding it yourself. You can run, sprint, turn, and jump with your jetpack. Besides that, you just sit back and laugh with your friends while playing this enjoyable arcade experience.



Multiplayer Modes

The game doesn’t feature a story or campaign mode and doesn’t offer much for people looking for experiences on their own. You have Party Mode, which consists of 2-4 players choosing the planet size to compete on, the type of ribbon used, a theme, and the number of points needed to win the round. This is the base mode for this title and is the one you will probably put the most time into when hanging with friends as it is the only mode to allow more than 2 players.


The next mode offered is Competitive Mode. In this mode you and another player will compete with three different bears of your choosing. Planet size and ribbon type are randomized, and first one to 10 points with your bear wins the round. You continue through on that loop until you have won one match with each bear. The first person to win a match with each bear is declared the overall winner.


The final mode is the only one that can be played solo; however, I have no idea why you would. Besides that, it is for 2 players. In this mode you run around the planets you have become so familiar with and collect Jetfish that roam around randomly. Collecting them quickly gives a bonus and getting certain types of Jetfish yield more points. Other than that, it’s just about being the last man standing. Each Jetfish increases your ribbon length making it progressively more difficult to maneuver.


These modes offer some good fun for the couch co-op aficionado and are good fun for a while to play at a party with friends, or as something to do with your kids. Otherwise, the game doesn’t offer very much for the single-player gamer, and even so it doesn’t have enough depth to really be the next great party game. It’s fun to run through a few matches at gatherings, but that is about as far as this one goes.


I will say in its defense that the game isn’t trying to be anything but what it is. It isn’t a high asking price, and it is a really unique and fun take on a classic model. This is by far one of the best types of Snake games I have ever touched.



Nicko-bear-deon

The looks and art style for this title are superb. The graphics and design are very well done, and the simplicity of it all really takes this title a long way in the charm department. These characters look straight out of a Nickelodeon cartoon and could easily get its own show with its wacky cast of bears; each with its own personality traits as detailed on the selection screen. Since the game has such a simple premise it really allowed me to wonder; what does Bishnu have going on it that head of his?


The game takes on a no-nonsense, no frills approach to level design. Because of what the game consists of it doesn’t really need to be more than just barren, perfectly smooth circles, as that allows for the competitive nature of the game to flourish with no randomness to each map. However, some maps that had more interesting designs would have gone a long way to allow for replay value in this title.



In closing…

Astro Bears comes back from its success at initial launch with a reboot that should come with a ton of advancement. However, the addition of four new bears, one planet size, and new settings doesn’t really let the game take the jump to the next level. Competitive Mode is a nice touch. This is a pure arcade, multiplayer title, and is perfect for anyone looking for a couch co-op experience while partying with friends, but for anyone looking for literally any other type of experience you will more than likely have to look elsewhere, unless you really like catching Jetfish on your own and avoiding your own tail. This game comes onto the Switch not trying to be anything but what it is, but what it is isn’t something many will be looking for, sadly.


Score: 6/10


Buy Astro Bears from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.


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*Review Code Provided by MMPR

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