We didn’t get a chance to test this title when it originally came out for PS4, PS5, and PC in 2020, but Bugsnax is finally available for Nintendo Switch and Xbox platforms, so it’s time to do a review with all the news that the new versions bring, including the DLC The Island of the Great Insects (The Isle of Bigsnax).
Bugsnax It’s unlike anything we’ve played before. Sure, it has elements inspired by Pokémon, Ape Escape and others, but when combined with a cute aesthetic and a very bizarre plot they create something truly unique
Our protagonist, a disgraced Greluche journalist, receives a message from the renowned adventurer Isaberta Megafigura inviting him to Merienlandia Island. There he discovered strange creatures called Meriensectos (Bugsnax) and is forming a community to investigate them. But when he arrives on the island he discovers that everything is in chaos. Isabelle is missing and the community of greluches has dispersed throughout the place. Our mission is to find out Isabelle’s whereabouts, convince the Greluches to return to her village, and catch many Meriensects.
No one can explain what it is Bugsnax. They have to experience it for themselves
best way to describe Bugsnax It’s like a first-person exploration and puzzle game, but that doesn’t really define this curious work from the Young Horses studio.. At the center of it all are the Meriensects. Each of the island’s eight biomes is inhabited by scores of those critters that are a mix of bug and food. Discovering their funny designs is fun, but catching them is even more so.
Each of them is a small puzzle. In some cases it is enough to put a trap in their path and activate it when they pass by, but in most cases we will have to take advantage of their like or dislike for certain sauces, how they relate to other Meriensects and what things can change their behavior .
To achieve our goals we have a good variety of tools such as a sauce launcher and a trampoline trap. The combination of all these elements and the more than 100 Meriensects that inhabit the map lend themselves to a surprising variety of possibilities.
It is true that many creatures can be caught in a similar way, But for every small bug that easily falls into a trap, there is another one whose capture is quite a puzzle. To catch a Stopharrid we had to put out a series of baits and devices that made us feel like we were designing a Goldberg machine.
Greluches of all colors (and flavors?)
Bugsnax not only “captures” us with its gameplay, but also with its presentation. The design – both visual and mechanical – of each Meriensect is a waste of originality and humor. But they are not the only stars of this show. The greluches that make up the Pueblo Picnic community are truly endearing.
All the greluches, from the insecure Filbo to the insensitive Proti, are very funny characters and full of humanity. They are also an unexpected and very positive LGBTI representation. Several greluches are gay and their relationships manage to be tender and complex at the same time. We also applaud the effort made by the Spanish translation of the game to respect the pronouns of a non-binary character. We know how difficult that can be in this language
These beings that remind us so much of the muppets help to give the game a quite playful, carefree and even childish tone, at least initially. Everything is very colorful and shows a simple and relaxed sense of humor. Greluches even react with a smile when a part of their body is transformed into food after devouring a Meriensect.
Our Greluche friends undergo these transformations as we get Meriensects for them in the main and secondary missions, but we can also go further and dedicate ourselves to “creating” different combinations of body parts for aesthetic and even artistic purposes. It’s supposed to be fun, but we can’t help but feel like there’s something macabre behind it.
As we explore the island of Bugsnaxwe catch Meriensectos and meet new greluches more adult and complicated themes are revealed. We discover his insecurities, marital dramas, mental health problems and even his struggle with addictions. Everything is handled with humor, respect and near the end we can help them resolve their problems and differences. But they inevitably change the tone until reaching an absolutely unexpected ending.
The last part of the game completely breaks with the tone that it had, becoming… something else. We don’t think this crazy ending fits in well with the rest of the game, but it’s quite a surprise that takes us out of the loop and changes the context of our adventure on Merienland Island. We can’t say more without spoilers.
oh! And we can’t help but mention its excellent soundtrackespecially the catchy credits song performed by Kero Kero Bonito.
The new DLC: The Island of the Great Insects (The Isle of Bigsnax)
With its arrival on Switch and Xbox, Bugsnax receives a good number of improvements that PS4 and PS5 players will also be able to enjoy. The most notable of these is the ability to fast travel to any of the island’s biomes and to Picnic Town. We will also have a home that we can customize with the gifts that we will receive by completing missions and tasks for the other greluches, a mail system in which we will receive these gifts and even more optional missions. It will even be possible to find Meriensects wearing hats, but they are so rare that they can be compared to ‘shiny’ Pokémon.
This is all part of the free DLC Bugsnax: Island of the Big Bugs (The Isle of Bigsnax). This adds a new biome to the game, the biggest of them all, with a dozen new giant Meriensects.. We have a new mechanic to catch them, a strange dust that reduces them to normal size, but that is destroyed shortly after removing it from its source. This lends itself to new and fun puzzles.
This new content also serves to expand the plot, character development, and even the mythology behind the Meriensects. This is appreciated because it gives much more depth to Chamala, one of the most wasted greluches in the game and a closure to the plot of Estrefanía.
To complete Island of the Great Bugs it can take us two or three hours that are added to the ten hours that the main adventure lasts. This time can be further extended if we choose to complete all optional quests and capture all Meriensects in the game, including mysterious legendary creatures that serve as secret bosses.
How does it work Bugsnax en Switch?
version of Bugsnax for Nintendo Switch on which we base this review cannot be compared on a technical level with that of PS5 or PC. Although it looks good, it only runs at 30 frames per second (fps) and suffers from slowdowns in the most open areas, like the one in the DLC, but it’s nothing really serious. Something that can be annoying is the way in which the foliage and the details of the scenarios “come up” from nowhere as we go through them. Loading screens can also be quite long.
Don’t let his childish appearance and apparent low difficulty fool you, Bugsnax is an incredibly fun game, full of humor and characters that are easy to get attached to. The DLC the island of the graninsects it only strengthens its more positive aspects.
Mind you… we still don’t know what to think of the final part of the game.
Review made with a digital copy of Bugsnax and its DLC The Isle of Bigsnax for Nintendo Switch provided by Young Horses.