Repetition not only in act of killing dozens of teddy bears, but the repetitiveness of the level design. The entire game takes place on a single island which could in theory justify the lack of many levels but those that are offered are really poor. There are only four areas to the island which are used interchangeably for each of the game’s seven stages. The beginning levels will only use two or three area while the later stages will make use of them all. Beyond those four areas there are no other environments in the entire game. You would think killing every bear in a certain area would mean no more teddy bears there but in the next stage the bear population is alive and kicking.
The only differentiations these recycled areas undergo are the addition of more objects and slight cosmetic changes like fog or camouflage nets draped over buildings. Playing through the same areas over and over destroy any sense of progression and put Naughty Bear into the genre of an arena game.
Naughty Bear developer A2M did help break up the monotony of the game by including challenges that can be played after every level. The challenges offer slight variations on the game’s fundamental premise and force players to play the game a certain way. The kill everything challenges are essentially exactly how everyone already plays the game. There are also challenges that reward players for not being seen, not getting hit and my personal favorite driving every teddy bear insane.
The developer also tried to combat the game’s repetitive nature by introducing new types of enemy teddy bears; Ninja bears, robot bears, zombie bears, and alien bears. Each new enemy has new weapons and moves slightly differently but never offer enough challenge to change up the way I played the game.
The core premise of the game is a sandbox of naughtiness. As Naughty Bear you’re dropped into these areas which give you a sandbox level of control over how you want to score points. Attaining different levels of points will net you a bronze, silver, gold or platinum trophy. Creating naughtiness in quick succession will allow you to build up a score multiplayer to gain even more points.
So how do you be naughty? There are several ways in which you can terrorize and kill the bear population. Scaring them and hitting them are the most basic ways to get points. Breaking windows and sabotaging objects are other tame ways at earning points. Killing the other bears is the best as well as the most entertaining way to get to the next trophy. The dozens of possible kills are the best thing Naughty Bear has. You can set bear traps or explosive mines on the ground for unsuspecting victims to walk into. The sabotaged objects will also draw the attention of bears who will want to repair them. With their attention on repairing you can sneak up upon them to either scare or kill them. The actual kill animations are rather sadistic and laugh out loud worthy. Eviscerating a bear with a machete or blasting them away with an oozie until stuffing flies out of them is hilarious.
Playing through Naughty Bear and attaining different trophies will also unlocked different playable characters. There are a total of 31 characters, each with different weapons and special abilities. Some characters work better for each challenge and actually made me go back and replay levels in order to unlock a specific character. The Jason Voorhees teddy is by far the best unlockable teddy in the game.
Another entertaining aspect of Naughty Bear is how the game is seemingly presented in a similar way as children’s entertainment. The British accented host talks to Naughty Bear in the same way a children’s TV show host would talk their nonhuman counterparts. Even the game’s menus are presented with bright colours that at a quick glance some may mistake it for a child’s game.
There is an online component to Naughty Bear that has a few different game modes and supports up to four players. I felt that the online play suffers from a strong advantage to the host player and really doesn’t offer more than the two achievements that go with it. The developer’s time could have been better spent perfecting the single player rather than tacking on a multiplayer component.
My biggest complaint with Naughty Bear is that the game crashes – a lot. Playing through a level for twenty minutes and actually being excited about attaining a platinum trophy is easily ripped away when the game crashes. It hurts even more when it does this multiple times at the exact same point.
In the end the core mechanics of Naughty Bear are too repetitive and are not strong enough for me to turn a blind eye to the recycled environments. While I did enjoy the cartoon violence and the game’s humorous presentation, for my $60.00 there are plenty of other game I would rather spend the money on. If Naughty Bear was positioned as a budget game or ideally as an episodic downloadable game I think I would feel much better about recommending it.
This review is based on a retail copy of the 360 version of Naughty Bear.