What’s next, a Punky Skunk tactical RPG?
Bubsy the Bobcat’s strange revival continues with Bubsy: Paws on Fire, now out on the Nintendo Switch. From BIT.TRIP Runner developers Choice Provisions, Bubsy’s latest title is a mindless, simple adventure that doesn’t take much to experience. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this endless runner, but at the same time there’s nothing worth your time, unless you like hearing Bubsy’s lame one liners.
The opening cutscene explains that Bubsy’s nemesis Oinker is back at it again, this time kidnapping animals to create his own zoo. Despite his friends telling him that they’ve got this, Bubsy joins in anyway after berating his niece and nephew, who were nice enough to get him new sneakers from the flea market. There’s only two cutscenes in this entire game and both times I was left wondering why anyone would possibly want to interact with Bubsy, let alone be his friend.
Gameplay has you switching between Bubsy and his friends Woolie (an alien) and Virgil (a tech geek). Each has their own unique abilities and level designs: Bubsy can glide and pounce, Virgil has a double jump and can slide, while Woolie’s levels are side-scrolling shooters. This freshens things up a bit, as each individual level can get repetitive pretty fast. Bubsy’s armadillo friend Arnold is also playable, albeit for a bonus round level similar to that of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
The game is pretty short, with three worlds and three boss fights to play through. The different gameplay styles add to the replayability, especially if you just blitz through the game and only grab enough medals to advance to the next level. You can also customize the characters by using the items collected throughout the stages to buy new outfits, in case you want to give Bubsy a t-shirt that says “OOF” on it.
Presentation-wise, Paws on Fire is pretty unspectacular. The graphics are decent and so is the music. There’s sort of a dated feel to both, though, since Bubsy himself feels straight out of 1992. On a technical level, the game runs fine, but there are frequent loading times, and some feel pretty long.
Bubsy: Paws on Fire is an adequate game, a harmless romp that’s fine to play for a few hours. There’s no real challenge involved in getting through, save for the frequent loading times. However, there’s far more memorable and interesting endless runners out there, a lot of them by the same developer no less. If you miss the ‘tude mascot characters of the early 90s and want something that's at least decent, this may be fun for a while. Otherwise, nothing of note would be lost if you didn’t play the latest in Bubsy’s exploits.