The Switch is, to me, a near perfect mixture of portability, power and home entertainment. I really like it. I like it even more where I now live, in Paraguay, beacause of the constant power outages. Having the Switch means I can play, even play with my fiancee, when there´s no electricity. And it happens quite often. So often, in fact, that we´ve just spent the past hour or so playing Astro Bears Party. You can find our thoughts on the party game below (minus the curse words we said to each other).
Astro Bears Party comes by way of Qubic games, an up and coming European developer and publisher who recently graced our Switch consoles with Robonauts. They seem to like space settings for their games, as Astro Bears Party sees you on a small planet trying to avoid death by collision.
The gameplay is a simple yet clever implementation of the ¨Snake¨ principle. If you had a Nokia phone in the 90s and 00s, then you´ll know exactly what I´m talking about. For those of you who grew up with Dora the Exporer instead of Robotech, here´s the lowdown: each player takes control of a bear in a small planet. The bears run automatically, and create a solid trail behind them as they run. Through maneauvers and jumping, you have to avoid colliding with one of these trails. The player that first collides, loses.
Matches take about 10 to 20 seconds to complete, and are quite fun to play. Also, single joy con play is supported, which means you can compete with a friend using a single stock Switch console. You can even play in table top mode, like we did. Although we don´t recommend moving to a developing country to do it.
Content is a bit on the light side, even for a simple party game. Much like Astro Duel Deluxe (another couch comp game set in space), this might be the biggest turn off for a lot of people. Only a handful of bears to choose from, a couple of which play very similarly, and the planet (yes, singular) offers no topography, bonus items or anything of the sort (which Astro Duel Deluxe did, by the way).
Presentation is otherwise pretty nice, with a steady framerate, great, colorful art and a thumping, joyful (if limited) sound track.
You can play in groups of up to 4 people (though anything more than 2 requires extra joy cons), and you can also play in single player mode. There´s no AI player in either, though, sadly, which I think would have made a Bomberman-esque improvement.
Overall, this is a good game that could have been great had more development gone into it. Some topography, bonus items and an AI would have extended the mileage quite a bit. The good news is that Astro Bears Party is quite affordable, and has become even more so as it´s become one of the first-ever Switch games to go on sale (it´s currently 20% off).
If you like using your Switch during parties for quick bursts, then Astro Bears Party might be a good timesink in which you can… further develop your friendship. It may be light on content but it is not heavy on the wallet. Overall, a nice little party game.