Bubsy de Bobcat has had a short and difficult life. He made his debut on 16-bit systems as a hairy mascot because every company and its neighbor thought that’s what they needed to make money. His grandiose plans to conquer the world with merchandising, games and animated series failed due to mediocre images that did not resonate with the gambling public. The now infamous Bubsy 3D has been the proverbial coffin nail in the coffin, which in some circles has earned the honour of being the worst 3D platformer of all time. Now he’s back, trying to break the curse of mediocrity with Bubsy: Paws On Fire, but you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. This cat has nine lives? Yeah, it’s a saying.
In this racing driver trying to take advantage of a craze that probably reached its peak ten years ago (poor Bubsy), you play one of four different characters. Everyone has their own game mechanics. For example, Babsie can naturally jump on enemies, reach platforms and use her traditional sliding and paw movements. Virgile has a useful double jump and can also trample the ground. Take control of The Woolie and you’ll be treated like a side-scrolling shooter, playing the role of Arnold in the bonus levels. A change of pace is indeed very welcome.
Of the four characters, Bubsy seems the least fun for some reason. It’s mainly because it slips due to a slight twist. The speed of the descent while swimming is never constant. Sometimes you float like a feather and sometimes you fall like a brick. As you can imagine, this makes time jumping almost impossible, making its level the ultimate pleasure. Virgil’s movements are much more interesting thanks to his double jumping technique and his punch on the ground that can knock down opponents with ease. The Wool levels are also a lot of fun to play, but Arnold is definitely the best in the group. I prefer a complete set of his courses, but unfortunately there aren’t many.
Bubsy: Paws on Fire has over 100 scenes in different worlds. You can play each level with three different characters to earn medals that unlock new characters. To unlock the content of the Arnold bonus, you need to find the pieces of medallion hidden in each of the characters. Wire balls are back, but they now serve as game currency that you can spend on unlocking a selection of costumes for each character.
Other than that, there’s nothing special about this game. The gameplay and level design are very boring, especially since the game is now a car runner. Each level is set up in the same way, and enemies and obstacles do not really change the game for the most part. It’s great to play on multiple levels, but then the recurring character really affects you. In this game progress is slow and you don’t feel rewarded. The best levels in this game are the bonus levels, but even these get old after a while and no real challenge is added.
All in all, it feels like this game has stretched its empty mini-assets into a complete game. It lacks the magic spark of innovation or the surprises that are so common in A-games. Only three boss battles in the game break the monotony, but in the end it’s more like the goal of the game. Strange insertions, such as Bubsy’s opening sequence in the schoolgym, which then is not mentioned anywhere else in the game, and the first step suddenly taken in the forest, are useless. After all, Bubsy is still a dilapidated mascot who probably has to throw in the towel.
Babe: Overview of the Paws on Fire Initiative
- Graphs – 5.5/10
- Sound – 5/10
- Gameplay – 5.5/10
- Late complaint – 3,5/10
Final thoughts: MEDIOCR
Bubsy: Paws on Fire tries to turn the tide by becoming a racing driver, but unfortunately that’s not enough to break the curse of mediocrity. Nice to play the first few minutes, but soon gets old. With such a choice of better programmers on the Switch, you can have peace of mind knowing you’ve been through the game.
Jordan is a gambling fanatic who grew up in a house shaped like a shovel. Years of cheap riding have made this man the quality researcher he is today.
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