The PlayStation 5 had an exciting reveal last month (albeit via video stream rather than in a live venue). Some games leaped out at us in ways we didn’t expect – and one such title was Bugsnax.
Sony showed us a mouth-watering array of teaser trailers. A Spider-Man spin-off, a Horizon: Zero Dawn sequel and NBA 2K, alongside many others. In among these big-hitters sat the kind-of goofy, charming, yet bizarre Bugsnax. Immediately after watching the trailer, you get a Pokémon-meets-Viva Piñata vibe. (Ahh, Viva Piñata. What a game that was, a couple of consoles ago for XBox!)
Hotdog Weenie Hands
Bugsnax takes place on the lush, multi-biome Snaktooth Island. Many residents here are hybrid half-bug, half-tasty snack creatures – the eponymous Bugsnax, themselves. You’re welcomed by the likeable explorer Elizabert Megafig, an anthropomorphic walrus. (If that doesn’t hook you, nothing will!) She demonstrates that’s there’s a smörgåsbord of different Bugsnax that roam around Snaktooth Island. They’re tasty, too!
Another delightful detail appears to be that if you eat the Bugsnax, part of you turns into said snack! (In the trailer, one of Elizabert’s pals with a drooping snail for a mohican interrupts. He says he was “trying to carry a lantern using my [hotdog] weenie hands, but dropped it… And now the town’s on fire!”)
I’m not ashamed to say that I – a man in his mid-thirties – laughed out loud at this. (I’m still smiling at it, as I type.) If you watch to the end of the trailer, after the heroes leave, wild Bugsnax emerge from the undergrowth. And then a ravenous creature, a Frankenstein’s monster of a beast, creeps out of the shadows made up of a dozen different food types…
As a premise, it’s absurd, it’s bonkers; it’s the sort of bedtime story you’d tell your young children. And yet, Bugsnax emits that quintessential feel-good factor. I guarantee this will become the kind of game that adults will enjoy as much as a younger audience. (Animal Crossing, anyone?)
Gotta Feed ’Em All
It’s nonsensical, glorious, colourful escapism. There are 100 different species of Bugsnax to locate. To capture them, you need to use different types of bait and contraptions. The island of Snaktooth has varying terrains, communities, residents, flora (and of course fauna). There’s an ongoing mystery to solve, which involves Elizabert (SPOILER ALERT) “nowhere to be found, her camp in shambles, and her followers scattered across the island alone… and hungry!” Also, you can feed Bugsnax to your new friends on the island. This means you can customise them into a range of hilarious shapes and forms!
Bugsnax promises to be a whimsical and endearing adventure. It’s developed by Young Horses, who were the team behind Octodad. (Yes, that’s a game about an octopus who attempts to disguise himself as a suburban human father!) Bugsnax is due for a ‘Holiday 2020’ release, sitting alongside the launch of the PlayStation 5. It will also be available for the PS4.