Bear With Me - HighrezGaming

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Bear With Me / 26th of August 2016

Point and click adventure games are a staple part of gaming history. From the well-known releases such as Secret of Monkey Island to the more obscure titles back during gaming’s early years, they became the bread and butter of most PC games. Now, however, the genre has subsided greatly with the Indie market left to pick up where big studios left off. Bear With Me is a comedic point and click that takes a lot of the tropes of both the gaming genre it uses and the obvious noire crime thriller tone it sets and uses them both together to establish itself as something fairly unique within the bounds of a well-trodden genre.
 
The story consists of you taking control of a little girl called Amber who, together with her grizzled noire-cliché crime fighting detective teddy bear, Ted E. Bear, must find out why her brother has disappeared and who the mysterious Red Man is that is terrorising the streets of Paper City. The game plays its comedy cards extremely well using cliché as a punchline to a lot of the story points in throughout the narrative. Some of the characters, such as Mr Bear, are specifically built around being as clichéd as possible to make them funnier to watch in action. Let’s be honest here, the mere fact that a teddy bear is a ‘doesn’t play by the rules’ alcoholic detective type will at least make you giggle at the concept. The story itself however also blends together both humour and a serious/dark undertone that starts to make you question exactly what is the real story behind all of this? I won’t spoil anything but simply be aware that not all is what it seems. The characters too are likeable with all being animalistic humanoids barring Amber. It drives home the idea of an overactive child’s imagination creating their own crazy story in their head with all their stuffed animals. This tone helps to make the game more interesting than simply being another funny point and click which I am very appreciative of.
The presentation really is top notch too, with there being a classic noire black and white filter over hand crafted cartoons. It’s clear that the art team put a lot of time and effort into everything they created, especially the character models and environments. While the animations do look a bit jerky and unnatural at times, and Amber walks way too slowly when travelling across rooms, the presentation was enough to keep me enthralled. One big point against it, however, is that due to the colour scheme and art style some items that you might be looking for can be obscured and become rather hard to find, especially within darker areas. While this doesn’t affect the gameplay too much, it can still be quite an annoyance.

The gameplay itself is your standard point and click adventure with you clicking on things to examine them, pick them up, combine them in your inventory or use them on certain objects and characters. In this respect this game doesn’t do too much different from any other game in the genre, however, a nice touch to it is the amount of stuff that Amber can tell you about. Almost every single object in an environment has a voice line attached to it and makes you appreciate her silly sense of humour and helps you to also understand more of just how vulnerable she is due to her age. The puzzles themselves are not too difficult to work out and with a bit of common sense you can just about overcome any of the puzzles relatively easily. As mentioned before though, some of the objects you may need to find can be tricky to see due to the game’s art style so the challenge may come from simply unearthing where to find an item and pick it up.
I have to give special note to the voice acting here, with Exordium Games really having excelled in this particular area. Whilst some elements of the dialogue tend to go on for quite a bit and sometimes sound as though they are simply droning on, the quality of the voice work is absolutely superb, especially that of Mr Bear. Every character fits into a noire trope and has a voice that pretty much perfectly matches the tone they are going for. Also worthy of note is that the game is a bit on the short side. You will most likely get through what the game has to offer in an afternoon, if even that. If you feel that’s worth your money for the experience, however, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

So, does this game stack up well as a point and click adventure? Surprisingly, yes, it most certainly does. While it doesn’t do much different from the rest of the genre, and there are obviously a few hitches and missteps to be encountered along the way, I still hugely enjoyed my time with this game. If you are a fan of either point and clicks or noire crime fighting films then I would recommend checking out this game and seeing for yourself just how long you can hold yourself from laughing at the downright serious tone that a teddy bear detective is giving when he discusses his drinking problem.
Jack McKay
 
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