October 31st, the Bobcat Cometh. Yesterday it was announced that this Halloween, for the first time in 21 years, Bubsy the Bobcat will be returning in The Woolies Strike Back. And we couldn’t be more…
It’ll certainly be an event.
Bubsy Bobcat lives on in infamy, if not quite fame, as a failed attempt at creating a console mascot to match the likes of Sonic, Mario, or later Crash Bandicoot. Those familiar with him likely became aware of his existence through Jonton’s video on the subject; while the first two games starring the titular feline were mediocre-at-best 2D platformers, Bubsy 3D defied explanation as a poorly-rendered and nearly incomprehensible jump into the third dimension, complete with the game’s box listing awards that didn’t actually exist.
When this title was rightfully relegated to an unfortunate quirk of history many assumed that that was the last we would ever see of the wise-cracking bobcat. But as the world spins more out of control with every passing day we were ‘treated’ to an announcement earlier this year that, like an ancient slumbering leviathan sealed away for the good of mankind, Bubsy would claw his way back to the surface under the stewardship of Black Forest Games in a new side-scrolling adventure. Now, we know exactly when the proverbial hammer will fall.
I’m exaggerating of course, but only a little bit. It’s interesting that this year of all years would be the one in which Bubsy chooses to return to the world stage, with his three old rivals Mario, Sonic, and Crash all receiving new (or at least re-mastered) games. The bobcat rode their contrails then, and it seems little’s changed now; it wouldn’t surprise me a jot if Spyro shows his face at some point next year. And, of course, there’s always…him…
Though we can only join hands and pray I am mistaken on that one.
With the announcement comes a full trailer, and the gameplay on show is much what you’d expect. Bubsy runs through passable, but not particularly outstanding from what we’ve seen thus far, worlds combatting enemies with a (totally original) homing attack, solving simple puzzles, and collecting balls of yarn. Throughout it all is thoroughly laced the Bubsy ‘’’’wit’’’’ and ‘’’’’’’charm’’’’’’’, which in this case translates as ‘Bubsy incessantly saying things of dubious comedic value in a smug tone’. It wouldn’t be our bobcat if he didn’t, after all.
To their credit however, Black Forest and publisher Accolade seem to have taken on criticism of the previous titles – it would be hard to be worse than Bubsy 3D of course, but the movement speed of the bobcat in the original 2D games was a point of common complaint and seems to have been addressed here. If they can add some fun platforming challenges and make sure the self-awareness this game will undoubtedly dabble in stays charming rather than trite, this could be a brand new start for the much-maligned mascot.
Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back doesn’t like it’ll be a great game. But it looks like it’ll be a GAME, and that’s more than can be said for most of his appearances thus far. When it releases in just over two months on Steam and the PS4 (complete with, of course, the ‘Purrrr-fect’ physical edition…God help us) we’ll know for sure. In a perverse way, I would dearly like to be wrong in my doubts about Bubsy’s return – if this proves to be a good game, no-one will be more pleased than I that the bobcat got his act together in the end. This is your one chance, Bubsy.
…What could possibly go wrong?
At age seven, Jordan wanted to be a paleontologist. That went well. He now fills the void by writing on all manner of mildly-interesting topics - when he finds time in between complaining how everything was better in the 'good old days', that is.