I will be completely honest, when I heard about Bugsnax I didn’t think I would be into it. Now, 10 hours later having finished the entire game to completion, I can confidently say that this little game made by Young Horses is one of my favourites to come out lately. It knows how long it needs to be, looks wonderful in its style, has an incredible amount of story and character, and made me wonder just how tasty a Bunger would be.
Gameplay is quite simple, but well done. You have 6 pieces of equipment (net not included) that you use to capture the titular Bugsnax. There are many to collect, with all of them being unique in how to catch them. It also knows when it should end, as I never felt like I was getting burned out from trying to play it to completion in the time it took me to finish it. Not too challenging to finish the plot, but more than enough of a puzzle to make engaging!
Speaking of, the story. You’re probably thinking it is a pretty simple one, and it starts off that way. You, an unnamed journalist, go off to interview Lizbert Megafig on Snaktooth Island, where she has discovered the wonder of Bugsnax. You instead show up to an island in turmoil. Lizbert is missing, everyone except the ineffective mayor Filbo has left town, and it is up to you to reunite them all and find Liz. I won’t go too much into the story here to stop any spoilers, but the tale has many twists and turns that leave you just curious enough to keep doing what you can to help the citizens of Snaxburg.
The game has a wonderful array of characters that feel diverse and fun to be around. They all look unique, have funny names, and are teamed up with a wonderful cast of voice actors. From Frank Tatascoire, Casey Mongillo, Debra Wilson, and many many more talented actors voicing both the Grumpuses (the humanoids in the game) to the Bugsnax. You can tell a lot of this game went into getting their cast, as every voice feels like it truly belongs to the character on your screen or TV.
Surprisingly, the game has a wonderful amount of LGBTQ+ inclusion. With 2 gay couples and a non-binary character, Bugsnax kind of becomes a wonderful game for people in the community looking to see themselves in such a silly romp. Regardless of their identities, all of them still feel like their own person with much more going on for everyone than their sexuality or gender. You root for them all to come back to the village of Snaxburg and learn how to deal with their problems in a manner that is incredibly fun to unravel for each character. The writing team did an amazing job making the story play out in such a wonderful way.
Can you tell I love this game yet?
And the Bugsnax! Gosh, what wonderful creatures. I love all of them. Their voices feel perfect, the names instill joy in me (especially Scoopy Banoopy), and they’re so. Darn. Cute. If I could have a Razzby as a pet, I absolutely would do that. The people who designed these beautiful creatures deserve a raise of some kind, because they are all perfect.
As for how the game looks overall, I think it is quite a good appearance. It isn’t a AAA graphical experience, but the style is strong and well executed. Everything looks like it belongs, from the trees, to the Bunger walking near the river, to the muppet-like appearance of the Grumpuses. The fact you can feed Bugsnax to the others and watch their limbs slowly turn into the things they eat is a little macabre, but somehow also works with the style. Also, the theme song is an absolute slap, as the kids would say.
Now, is this game perfect?
Yes, it is. Go get it.
Ok, maybe it isn’t perfect. The gameplay is overall not the most interesting thing in the world when you think about it. The music could also be seen as not very special, but I still love it. I would argue that most of what people could call bad about this comes more so down to taste than any issues with bugs or overall bad gameplay. Some people may not like it, and that is fine. I however, will never stop singing its praises.
If you’re looking for a fun 6-9 hour adventure with colourful characters and the most adorable food you have ever witnessed, then I say you should get Bugsnax, whether on Playstation, or PC like I did. The polish is there, the style is wonderful on the eyes, and it is clear that this game is a labour of love that the team truly believed in. If collection games of this type aren’t your thing, then maybe skip this one out. As for me, I will continue to be grateful that Bunger came into my life through this cute and fun adventure on Snaktooth Island.