Review: Bugsnax

About this Game

Publisher

Young Horses

Developer

Young Horses

Release Date

November 12, 2020

Console

PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5

How long does it take to unlock all trophies in Bugsnax?

~12h

How difficult is it to unlock all trophies in Bugsnax?

Easy (3/10)

Does Bugsnax have online trophies?

No

Does Bugsnax have difficulty-specific trophies?

No

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Playing With My Food

Bugsnax was probably the one announced PS5 game I really had no interest in during Sony’s monumental live stream. Not only that, but it appears to have been developed for PS4 and doesn’t really seem to use the PS5’s power as much as it could.

However, with it being given to us PS Plus members for free, it only made sense for me to install it and – of course – plat it. What I really didn’t expect was for it to have me and MrZhangetsu roaring with laughter as a hamburger with googly eyes stuck to it bounded towards me repeating its name.

“Bunger Bunger Bunger” it called out, chasing me around and headbutting me several feet into the air. Suddenly and unexpectedly, I was having fun.

Bugsnax Review

Snaxburg’s Saviour

In Bugsnax, you play as an investigative journalist who has been invited to the island of Snaktooth by famous explorer “Lizbert”. She has set up a small village in the center of the island with 12 other Grumpuses and wants you to come and interview her about her topic of interest; Bugsnax.

The main characters, Grumpuses, are large furry muppet-like creatures and you’re one too! Their puppet-like appearance and movements are all part of the general aesthetic, as the Bugsnax themselves are just food items cleverly combined to look like bugs which then simply have googly eyes stuck on them. I’m genuinely very impressed by the creativity involved in designing them.

A spicy scorpion made of Jalapeño.

Upon arrival on the island, we have a bit of a bumpy start and stumble into “Filbo”, the mayor of Snaxburg. It seems that between Lizbert inviting us and us arriving at the island, something has upset the townsfolk, causing them to go their separate ways.

Filbo asked me to catch him a Bugsnak and the nearby Strabby was the perfect candidate. The poor blue fluffball was starving to death so of course I helped him out and learnt the basics of trapping a bugsnak.

Capturing my first Strabby.

With Filbo fed and feeling better, he introduces us to some of his friends, the town of Snaxburg, and tells us about Lizbert’s mysterious disappearance and the departure of his Grumpus friends. Time to investigate!

Solving the mystery of Lizbert’s whereabouts and finally getting the interview we came here for is our top priority, but to do it we will have to go through every Grumpus first. With each new area we get to explore, there’s one or two new Grumpus characters who we’ll need to help first.

They all have very quirky and exaggerated personalities, from Wiggle the eccentric singer who is trying to find her muse to sweet little Gramble who wants to be friends with every Bugsnak.

Each new Grumpus you meet will give you a set of objectives which, when completed, will work as leverage for you to convince them to move back into Snaxburg, where you can give them an interview and find out more about Lizbert.

These missions, however, are all about finding Bugsnax for them, so you’ll need to get your trapping skills in order. Over time, you’ll also be rewarded with new forms of trapping, such as a tripwire, a launchpad, a grappling hook, and more!

Using a chocolate-coated Buggy Ball to bait a rare Black Razzby out from an ancient underground tunnel network.

You’ll soon discover that feeding a Bugsnak to a Grumpus causes their bodyparts to transform into the food they’ve eaten. This very disturbing fact, however, doesn’t seem to bother the Grumpuses at all, as they will happily snarf down the nearest Bugsnak. Most of them, anyway, except from sweet Gramble and the meditative Shelda.

That’s not even the most irksome mystery on the island, however, as concerns about giant Bugsnax, monsters , and a shadowy figure plague the villagers’ campfire stories. And it is up to you to figure out what is really going on here.

Traps, Snax and Grumpuses

The main mechanic of the game is, of course, trappin’ snax. There are 100 Bugsnax to find in total and if you want the Platinum trophy, you’ll have to figure out how to catch each and every one.

Each Bugsnak has quirks. They might be aggressive Bugsnax who will headbutt anyone or anything that gets close, or they might be incredibly shy bugsnax, running and hiding in the bushes as soon as anyone gets close. As well as temperament, some Bugsnax will only come out in certain weather conditions or times of the day. You can find this sort of information out by scanning them with the camera .

Scanning them will also tell you what they love, hate, or fear. Typically a smaller bugsnak may have a fear of aggressive bugsnax that live nearby, helping you find a new way to coax them into a trap. Or, they may like a specific type of sauce you can find growing on plants in the area, which you can use to bait and subsequently trap them.

Others might hate traps so much they’ll actively seek them out and knock them flying, making it difficult to trap anything nearby. In order to be able to catch anything you’ll need to first help out the various Grumpus inhabitants of the island to get new trapping equipment and learn how to use it.

This Instabug would only come out of hiding if I pulled my camera out.

There are even some Giant Bugsnax to be found in the game by completing sidequests for certain villagers. These “Ancient” Bugsnax will require you to complete a somewhat long boss fight resulting in you eventually collecting them.

These longer Boss Fights were some of the more fun sections of the game, though they could be quite frustrating at times too.

Meeting Mama Mewon with Chandlo.

In fact, a feeling of frustration was not a rare sensation in Bugsnax at all. There’s an awful lot of juggling to be done in the game and it can get overwhelming or just annoying very quickly. A lot of the time you’ll be relying on the AI of the Bugsnax to do what you want in order to capture them, but more often than not, they’ll do something unexpected or just won’t do what you want them to.

A lot of Bugsnax need to interact with other Bugsnax to become capturable, or you get a sudden short time limit on how quickly you need to capture them, but then your tripwire won’t quite work, or another nearby Bugsnak will begin interfering, and things begin to feel clumsier and clumsier until suddenly you’re just happy to have metaphorically tripped and fallen in exactly the right way to achieve the result you wanted.

Temerature comes into play a lot as frozen Bugsnax will need to be thawed, and you’ll need to find a way to cool down flaming Bugsnax before you can touch them.

All in all, while I found myself enjoying the game at first, and laughing away at the quirky creatures to be found in every corner of Snaktooth Island, that joy and wonder soon wore off as I grew frustrated with all the fumbling around, and became less and less excited about capturing new Bugsnax.

My Bugsnax Trophy Experience

Returning the Grumpuses to Snaxburg

My main focus as I played through Bugsnax for the first time was just to get every Grumpus back into Snaxburg where I could interview them and find out more about Lizbert’s disappearance.

The first four hours of my trophy journey were dedicated to this and little else, as I just tried to get the hang of each new trapping mechanic. Throughout this entire period, I barely earned any trophies.

I stopped and took a break after getting a little bored of the game, and platted Spider-Man: Miles Morales before returning to the game with revitalised motivation. After a quick scour of the trophy list, I took the time to get some more miscellaneous trophies, and put a little extra effort into catching any unique bugsnax whenever an opportunity presented itself.

Once I reached the last level, the game warned me that I was approaching a point of no return and that I should finish anything that was remaining before continuing on. In reality, the game would just dump me back at this point before the final mission if I were to continue it after finishing the game, meaning nothing is really as missable as it suggests.

Completing the Sidequests

Regardless, I did stop progressing and I took the time to complete every side-quest I had before resuming. Through this process, I managed to get my Bugapedia around 80% finished and earned plenty more trophies. I also ensured that I donated all spare Bugsnax to Gramble until I had the trophy for donating the max amount.

Following that, I then began simply feeding my spares to the villagers, trying to earn a trophy for fully transforming them all, though this would end up being my final trophy, as I didn’t collect enough Bugsnax through sidequests alone.

Some of the best sidequests features boss fights against enormous Bugsnax and once I’d beat all four of them I was awarded yet another trophy. With every side quest complete and the relevant trophy in my pocket, I decided to go for it and complete the final mission.

Little did I know at the time, by completing every sidequest I’d made my Grumpus friends invincible, so that they couldn’t be killed during the final mission and the “Survivor” trophy was a guaranteed get.

Catching them all

With the game complete, all I had to do was catch around 20 Bugsnax to complete my Bugapedia, and finish feeding the villagers until they were all completely transformed into food items.

It was a long process completing the Bugapedia, especially since the ones I had left were some of the trickiest to capture with the most complicated requirements.

How on earth was I supposed to figure out that I could ring a triangle in the morning to summon waffles from the sea?

On top of that, collecting the remaining few Bugsnax didn’t leave me with enough to feed every villager, so I had to collect extras while I was in each area.

Of course, I went for the ones that I knew were easy, such as Bunger, Fryder, Butterjam, and Snackpods.

After finally feeding sweet little Gramble the last Bugsnak needed to transform his fluffy body into a burger bun, the game was complete, and I collected my Platinum before uninstalling it from my console.

Time Breakdown

Completing Main Objectives

Completing Side Quests

Collecting all remaining Bugsnax

Bugsnax Trophy Guide

Still looking for things to play on your shiny new PlayStation 5? Well, if you’ve already platted your free pre-installed copy of Astro’s Playroom, then Bugsnax is a great next-stop for PlayStation Plus owners as you can pick it up for free!

Check out our Bugsnax Trophy Guide here.

That concludes my Bugsnax Review. If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let us know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback and we love engaging with people over the game we just platted. It’s basically the only thing motivating us at the moment!

You can follow us on Twitter @GetPlat and Instagram @platget where we’ll be sharing updates, screenshots, upcoming reviews and general gripes about the games we’re working on so feel free to follow us or use it as another channel for feedback!

Verdict

Plat

Honestly, it's not the best game and you certainly won't get the most out of your PS5 with it if you choose to play it on one, but it is free with PS Plus until January and only takes a short while to plat. If you have the patience for it, go ahead and collect that Platinum.

Pros

  • Funny and creative critter designs
  • Charming story with plenty of quirky characters to meet
  • Complex trapping system is at least fun to experiment with

Cons

  • PS5 version isn't very "next-gen"
  • Bugsnak AI can be frustrating to wrestle with
  • Main mechanics feel clumsy and unreliable

Silver Trophy

I expected more from the title given the position it held as an anticipated PS5 launch title, but upon finding it is a glorified upscale on the PS4 version, I was disappointed that I'd not be getting the most out of my new console. As well as that, while the game is filled with charm, it didn't take me long to lose interest as it asked me to jump through more and more hoops which looked less and less inviting.

About the Author

More fond of single-player experiences and story-driven games than anything else, TheDblTap has a keen eye for secrets and collectables, a skill which serves him well as a Trophy Hunter. However, with little patience and poor timing, he can struggle where MrZhangetsu would succeed.

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