Naughty Bear screenshot
Naughty Bear screenshot

I felt physically sick after walking away from my first session with Naughty Bear. That wasn't, as you might expect, down to the harsh nature of the in-game bear-on-bear violence, which depicts a psychotic stuffed toy breaking necks and stabbing friendly teddies through their chests. No, it was due to the utterly nauseating camera and frame rate. Naughty can make other bears in his virtual world kill themselves, and he managed to make me want to do the same.

Naughty is shunned by the other inhabitants of Perfection Island, which makes him rather sad, but it's hardly surprising he has no friends given his murderous tendencies. Who'd want to hang out with someone who makes Jack Nicholson in The Shining look like a Care Bear? Still, all you really need to know is that Naughty is more than a bit wrong in the head and will do all he can to make sure none of his ursine peers have any fun; coincidentally, neither did I.

Split into seven levels, each with five minor gameplay variations, the goal is to score as many points as possible by scaring the other bears, sabotaging equipment, destroying decorations, getting rid of presents and generally being an all-round git. Do this well enough, completing the objective set for each stage, and you'll unlock new levels and outfits – the latter altering Naughty's strength, speed and so forth. The problem, and a pretty monumental one at that, is that the game simply doesn't offer a functional control scheme or camera system that can sit still for more than a few seconds.

Some control issues would be forgiveable, but the game is just an onslaught of terrible design decisions and vomit-inducing camera work. There's no lock-on function, meaning your melee attacks can, and often will, result in you flailing around like a drunk playing pin the tail on the donkey. You might think the projectile weapons would alleviate the problem, but the aiming here is terrible. The single-button kills are easier to perform, but there's no skill to them at all.

While developer A2M clearly wanted to make Naughty Bear funny, with the violence being comical, it often doesn't come across like that at all. At times it's downright uncomfortable to watch, as Naughty stamps on someone's neck or rams a blade through their chest. This sadism is delivered too clinically, and really needed to be more over the top to emphasise the comedy angle. A children's TV show-style voice over is intended to lighten the mood, but the painful one-liners soon start to grate and you'll long for Naughty to turn his attention to the man who supplied them.

Naughty Bear screenshot

Enemy AI is atrocious, with none of your foes really showing much sense or desire to survive, save for trying to escape or barricade themselves inside a building. It's all too easy to lure them into bear traps, or repeatedly scare them from a hiding place in foliage. The idea is that Naughty can use long grass as a way of creeping around a level, but since he's totally invisible to most enemy bears while he's doing this, the whole mechanic is ripe for exploitation. You can lure a foe to the edge of the grass, magically "disappear" before their eyes, and then scare them over and over again for easy points. Scare a bear enough and he'll commit suicide in one of a variety of sickening ways, so this cheap tactic can also be used to thin out the opposition.

By far the worst offender in all this is the camera, swaying around all over the place, juddering past (or through) buildings, and suddenly jolting into position. It's one of the worst camera systems I've ever had the displeasure to use and its erratic movement made me feel ill after a few minutes - something no other game has managed. It's truly terrible and, combined with a frame rate that frequently shudders and stalls, makes an already poor game even more intolerable.

Truly awful games, especially full-price retail releases, are thin on the ground these days. Sure, games can sometimes be far too generic or suffer from some iffy design decisions, but they're rarely as poor as Naughty Bear. How the game got released in this state is a mystery. No matter how interesting the central idea may sound, do not support such a shoddily put together title.

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User Comments

solannyandrea's Avatar

solannyandrea

my boyfriend actually got this game and yes the camera is all over the place but i like it. it funny it reminds me of build a bear. i think its a good game to play if there is nothing better to do. i dnt think this is the best game ever or even close but i liked it.
Posted 08:13 on 22 December 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx

I can imagine the VG staff after work with this game....

YouTube Video
Posted 17:17 on 09 July 2010
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

I strongly advise that you don't...
Posted 17:00 on 09 July 2010
Thel-Win-Man's Avatar

Thel-Win-Man

hmmmmmmmmm, really was thinking of getting this, looked quite good
Posted 16:29 on 09 July 2010
Roland_D11's Avatar

Roland_D11@ SupaFlyyy

Good for you that you enjoy the game. Does the review keep you from enjoying it? I don't think so. I think the review is spot on, as are most of the other reviews the game got around the net. I had the 'pleasure' to try it at a friends house yesterday and I didn't like it one bit. It's repetetive, even if you try to mix things up. It's points based, yes, but if the game itself isn't fun, then why bother? And the tech is atrocious, the bad framerate kills the game for me almost instantly. And the framerate problems can't be justified by cutting edge graphics.

From the first trailer I hoped it would be good, but from a tech standpoint alone it is not, sadly.
Posted 09:05 on 09 July 2010
K3RT's Avatar

K3RT

"Who decides to buy games from critics reviews anyway?"

I almost always look at review scores before I purchase a newly released game that I don't know much about and to be honest I find the reviews and the review scores on this site pretty much spot on.
As they say a review is only a personal opinion so you may like a game that has been slated however I personally find that the guys on this site seem to have a similar taste to games as me so for me I now know to avoid wasting my money on this game.... Well unless it drops to a fiver then I might give it a blast.
Posted 07:11 on 09 July 2010
SupaFlyyy's Avatar

SupaFlyyy

Wow. You have seemed to of missed the point of the game entirely. As for the Camera Angles? From a supposed videogame critic? I would've expected you to of mastered using both thumbs to move and adjust the camera at the same time. I'm amazed you havn't tried to complain about the lack of a storyline aswell. It's a points based game and point production deteriorates if you are using the same tricks over and over. The violence is hilarious and alot of it is taken directly from movie scenes which most people apprieciate. You havn't even mentioned the multiplayer mode. Poor Review. Best £30 i have spent this year without question. Tom best hope Naughty Bear doesn't read this review. I'd hate to be in his shoes if he does! Who decides to buy games from critics reviews anyway? Rent it first. It is awesome!
Posted 01:07 on 09 July 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

God, this is one of the worst reviews yet, Thank God I didn't buy this game in the end.
Posted 13:03 on 08 July 2010
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

So much potential - wasted. I didn't think this title would turn out great. Ah well. Thanks for the review, Tom!
Posted 12:39 on 08 July 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

I was hoping this would be fun! Oh well that's £30 saved!
Posted 12:32 on 08 July 2010
dazzadavie's Avatar

dazzadavie

Wow that was one hell of a grilling there Tom. Very funny though. :)
Posted 12:30 on 08 July 2010
cousinwalter's Avatar

cousinwalter

I got this on my lovefilm account at the weekend, played it for 15 minutes and its FU*KING awful
Posted 12:27 on 08 July 2010
RecoN's Avatar

RecoN

I watched gameplay on youtube, it looks crap but hilarious at same time XD Good for a laugh maybe but on the cheap :P
Posted 12:18 on 08 July 2010
draytone's Avatar

draytone

Isn't it games like Naughty Bear that give close-minded politicians and campaigners more ammunition against the games industry?
Posted 12:14 on 08 July 2010
Roland_D11's Avatar

Roland_D11

"Unbearable" - so simple, but great, Tom.

I wonder what goes on in the mind of a developer/publisher to release something like this as a full retail game. With better framerate and for 800 MSP it could have been worth to think about.
Posted 12:11 on 08 July 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Naughty Bear
3
Out of 10
Naughty Bear
  • The premise is decent
  • Almost unplayable at times
  • Terrible camera
  • Awful visuals
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 04/06/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , iPhone
Developer: Artificial Mind and Movement
Publisher: 505 Games
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 2,488 1733
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