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Bear With Me

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Adventure
Publisher: Modus Games
Developer: Exordium Games
Release Date: July 9, 2019


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Switch/PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Bear With Me: The Lost Robots'

by Thomas Wilde on July 17, 2019 @ 12:15 a.m. PDT

Bear With Me is a noire point-and-click adventure game following Amber, a young girl who is trying to find her missing brother with the aid of her trusty friend, Ted E. Bear.

Here's a deep cut. Bear With Me is a three-part episodic adventure game, made with Unity by the Croatian studio Exordium, that came out for PCs starting in August of 2016. It's a surprisingly old-school point-and-click, where you play as Amber, a young girl looking for her missing brother in a city full of robots, accompanied by her friend Ted, a gruff, cynical anthropomorphic teddy bear.

The Lost Robots, two years later, is an extra chapter in Bear With Me, and is a prequel played from the perspective of that missing brother. Flint is on the trail of a series of mysterious disappearances, including a couple of robots who are old friends of Ted's. The game promises to add additional context and more information to the setting and storyline of Bear With Me.

I never played the original game, so I went in cold on The Lost Robots. The demo at E3 2019 began with Ted and Flint regaining consciousness in the back room of a locked-up movie theater. With no obvious ways out, it's time to employ some good old-fashioned adventure game logic to try to find a way to escape.

The first two things that struck me here are the weird tone and Flint's voice. According to the guy running the demo, Hrovje MaroŇ° (who inexplicably failed to mention that he was the original Bear With Me series's director; his business card says "audio & 2D artist"), this is a deliberate creative decision. Flint's voice acting in English makes him sound like he's barely managing to fake interest in everything happening around him, to the point where it borders on unintentionally funny.

The tone's similarly dissonant. The Lost Robots is a black-and-white murder mystery, with a human boy and a teddy bear chasing down a possible killer in a city full of robots, with the art direction of a children's book and the dialogue from a PG-rated noir film. It's one of those games where it's hard to tell who the designers' intended audience might have been, aside from themselves.

The gameplay in the E3 demo was solid stuff, though. It's the kind of adventure game where the solutions aren't obvious, but they aren't total moon logic, either, which is a difficult tightrope to walk. Getting out of the movie theater's back room required me to weave a rope out of a drop cloth, scrounge up an Allen wrench from one of the abandoned crates, use it to loosen the base of one of the projectors, and rig up the projector's auto-rewind function with a roll of film in order to generate enough force that it could pull open a stubborn window for me.

It all made enough sense to work with a little bit of investigation and forethought, whereas if this were one of the several adventure games like it from the '90s or early 2000s (looking straight at you, Runaway), I would still be at the Staples Center trying to figure it out.

The Lost Robots is debuting as a stand-alone product on July 31. You'll also be able to download a copy of it upon its release if you purchase this week's Bear With Me: The Complete Collection, which collects all three episodes into a new package and marks the series's debut on the PS4, Switch and Xbox One.

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