Review: Super Rude Bear Resurrection (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One (TBD)
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Super Rude Bear Resurrection
Format: PSN (2.83 GB)
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Vorpal Games
Developer: Alex Rose Games
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Indie 2D platformers are a dime a dozen. In this crowded space, it takes a truly exceptional game or an original idea to stand out. If not, the game is rightly ignored and forgotten. It’s something that was front of mind when I started playing Super Rude Bear Resurrection.

This masocore platformer promises a unique mechanic – the more you die, the easier it gets. Your dead bodies lie where they fell and become interactive parts of level. This promises that even players who are put off by precision platformers will get enjoyment. If you think about it, this could be a brilliant way to cater the difficulty EXACTLY to the skill of the player.

But can it follow through on that expectation? Has Alex Rose Games created a new mechanic that caters to both casual and hardcore gamers? This is something I was excited to find out.

Gameplay:
As with most 2D platformers, the story is a simple one. You play as Rude Bear, who is hanging out in East London with his gangster friends when he’s summoned back in time to medieval England by The Wizard. There you must traverse different levels and make it to the exit. At the last level of each world you encounter a boss fight.

Tagging along is a bearded fairy-wizard… thing. In a bit of a nod to Zelda, it gives you hints and banter along the way. Beyond that, you can use him to scout ahead, planning your moves in advance. He even has two ways to dispose of your former bodies – a pulse which will get rid of everything nearby, or a focused laser to dispatch one at a time.

Let’s talk about this game’s featured death mechanic. The concept is simple, your dead bodies remain, becoming part of the level. The spikes that killed you before are now covered by your corpse. You can use them as a shield from projectiles, and traps become disarmed.

To say it makes things easier isn’t giving you the full picture. Your dead bodies actually become a key bit of strategy as you travel from point ‘A’ to ‘B’. I frequently found myself plotting my deaths in advance, aiding in my successful completion of the level. I never found this mechanic repetitive or annoying. If fact this new approach isn’t anything short of brilliant.

It is possible for you complete the game without dying once. In fact, there’s a “Rainbow Mode” that only gives you one life if you’re feeling particularly hardcore. The developer is even going to reward the first person to make it through with a tidy $1,000 prize.

… there is a limit to how many bodies can be lying about …
Of course the death mechanic is not enough to make a good platformer. You also need to have great level design. Super Rude Bear is no slouch in that department. Each world offers a unique style and new challenges.

This keeps things fresh, so that you’re not dodging around the same obstacles over and over again. So many platformers just give you more of the same with a new skin. That is NOT the case here. The variety keeps you engaged as the hours pass buy.

There are also secondary paths that lead to collectibles and bonus worlds. These paths are usually very difficult, and do require some serious skill. Some are not made easier by death. I found out there is a limit to how many bodies can be lying about, as I noticed previous corpses were disappearing in the order they were left while attempting one of these paths.

Since this is a precision platformer, you’ve got to have solid controls. You get your wall jumps and your wall grabs as usual and the momentum of your movement is just right. Not so loose that you’re sliding all over the place.

… The graphical diversity of the worlds is excellent …
I do have one small concern regarding the controls. It seems that the developer had intended the Left Stick to be used as the primary method of movement control. Things do not translate well to the D-pad. It’s nothing game breaking, but you just can’t get the level of precision needed from the direction buttons. Anything 2D I prefer to play using a D-pad, but I was never able to feel comfortable doing it here.

The boss battles are each unique and offer their own challenge. Even there, your deaths help make things a bit easier. It’s all about using the environment to your advantage. An example is luring a boss under a falling icicle. There is great diversity in how to defeat them, with no two being alike. Very well done.

Visuals:
This game oozes visual style to match the protagonist’s persona. The graphical diversity of the worlds is excellent, with resurrection checkpoints even being unique to each one. Parallax background scrolling give a decidedly old-school feel. There are some customization options to be had as you can change the color of Rude Bear’s blood and disable parallax.

Overall I really do like the art direction. The premise of a gangster bear is silly, but they sell it. There are fun little character animations that fit the attitude perfectly, and the expressions on all the bodies… poor little gangsters.

There are also lots of visual nods to legendary platformers from across video game history. Zelda, Sonic, and Mario are some obvious ones that can be recognized. It fits the hip-hop theme well, as artists in the genre will often sample the works of other greats in their music.

… you owe it to yourself consider this game …
Audio:
I’m no electronic hip-hop aficionado. In fact just writing that phrase is probably as out-of-touch as you can get. However, the music of this game is all original, and it’s really good. Unique tracks are available for all worlds and it only serves to add to the art direction of this game.

There is attention to detail when it comes to the game’s audio. In the opening you can see Rude Bear and his crew hanging out, playing music from their phones. The music in the game matches by sounding tinny like it’s coming from your phone speaker. Sound effects are satisfying, without being too distracting from the platforming.

The soundtrack can even be purchased if you desire, and if this is your preferred style of music I’d say you just might want to.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
If you’re into platformers, you owe it to yourself consider this game. Even if you’re a scrub like me, this is worth your time and money. The unique mechanics, top-shelf level design, and a perfectly cohesive art direction make this a welcome addition to anyone’s gaming collection.

I loved every minute I played. The fact is, as I sit here writing this review all I can think about is how quickly can I finish and get back to playing!?

I’m regularly amazed at the quality and vision of the indie development scene. You have to realize how small a team Alex Rose Games is. In fact, the bulk of the development has been done by Alex Rose himself who’s just in his mid-twenties. Alex and the artists he surrounds himself with have truly brought us a masterpiece deserving of all the accolades it receives.

Go pick this up now.

Score:
9.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Sam Jividen

Sam Jividen

Musical guy, went to college for it. Now like many musicians I’m working at a tech startup.

My first gaming memories harken from the NES. While I had a Genisis later, I always found myself going back to the NES to play Super Mario 3 or Mega Man 2. These days I’m usually gaming on my PS4 or PC.

Some day I’ll be Honey Boo-Boo famous.

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