Bear With Me: Episode 1 (PC) Review

By Adam Riley 04.09.2016

Review for Bear With Me: Episode 1 on PC

Remember the Touch Detective series, also known as Mystery Detective in Europe? Well, Bear With Me (originally a Square Enix Collective project) is somewhat similar in theme, taking an intriguing adventure setting and draping a child-like setting over it. The key difference with Exordium Games (formerly Indiefferent Studio)'s release over Atlus' is that there is also something sinister rumbling in the background. There is a twist, within a twist, within a…well, you get the idea. Intrigued? Ready, teddy, go…

Bear With Me is just at the start of its ride, with this being Episode 1 in what is a five-part thriller. Players take control of a young girl named Amber trying to find out what has happened to her brother, Flint. It all starts off in her bedroom, with her living in what seems to be an imaginary world where her toys - including her sidekick, the gumshoe-esque Ted E. Bear - come to life, and various areas of her house are like new cities, filled to the brim with action, and ready to be explored. It all sounds a bit too cutesy, at first, and a bit like Toy Story, but this is no light-hearted child's adventure, no siree. It is dark and twisted, with a black-and-white theme going on, and random horror-styled scenes cropping up here and there, mixed in with an old school Private Investigator vibe, and plenty of sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek humour abound...oh, and the chance to play as the bad guy later on! Sound great, right?

The premise is indeed sublime, and the atmosphere is perfect, with a great array of vocal talent bringing the numerous characters to life. Apart from one, as sadly something feels off about Ted E. Bear's voice, with the deep, heavy tone being suited for the role - no question about it - but the delivery coming across as 'clipped' at times, like the lines were done in small takes and then pieced together afterwards. Something sounds not quite right whenever he delivers short lines, like too much emphasis is being put on certain words, or after-effect used to lower the tone. Anyway, on the whole, the presentation really cannot be faulted, as the settings, soundtrack, and majority of the voices are top notch (including other characters done by the same voice actor as Ted E. Bear, so it has to be something to do with the audio editing), which all play a massive role in keeping intrigue levels high.

Screenshot for Bear With Me: Episode 1 on PC

All the ingredients are there for a mind-blowing experience. Some of the ingredients are a touch undercooked, though. Bear With Me has real potential, but, as it stands, it does need more depth to its gameplay and some more thought given to its puzzles, which fall foul of that old point-and-click adventure flaw of only allowing one locked-in solution, despite other objects in the inventory being just as good at…hooking a key from a high place, for instance, or clearing away cobwebs. Saying that, on the flipside there will be times where things like using a nail to open something that really shouldn't be opened by a nail occur, with an attempt to laugh it off in the script's dialogue at that particular time. It is all slightly inconsistent, and sometimes even illogical, which is a killer for this genre. There is one moment of that old cheap trick of having to click on the same object twice to catch gamers out. For something so lovingly pieced together, it just needed the extra bit of care and attention on the brainteasers side.

There is so much to like about this first episode that it is indeed disappointing when it all ends after about an hour, and there is no feeling of satisfaction as the puzzles were either too simple, or too random to really have got the brain working hard, resulting in simply trying out all objects in different scenarios until the solution is found. Back on the positives, however - since this is not all doom and gloom - it seems there is the possibility that user actions may have a knock-on effect in future episodes, so how that pans out will be interesting to witness. This is certainly fun as a starter for ten. The second episode cannot come soon enough, and will hopefully build upon this solid foundation.

Screenshot for Bear With Me: Episode 1 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Bear With Me: Episode 1 is a very intriguing concept wrapped up in a wonderfully dark world, with great narrative throughout and loveable characters. This first episode sets the stage for an adventure that is sure to get better as times goes by, but currently one that is held back by the bear's slightly off voice acting, and a few puzzles that are not solved in the most logical of ways, instead forcing certain triggers to occur before progress is made - a trap many games of this ilk fall into, sadly. So far this is enjoyable, but it has unfulfilled potential for the time being that hopefully forthcoming episodes will fulfil.

Developer

Exordium Games

Publisher

Exordium Games

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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