I tried to warn you. I really did. But it seems one man’s wariness cannot stop †he inexorable hand of fate – so let’s talk about Bubsy the Bobcat.
As promised – some might say threatened – Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back finally dropped onto Steam yesterday. It marks the titular bobcat’s first major outing in twenty-one years, though as many of us know he’s become something of an object of ridicule in that time. Some things never change, it seems, for if developer Black Forest Game was hoping the wannabe-mascot would make his grand comeback to critical acclaim they haven’t got entirely what they wished for.
At the time of writing a mighty three people are actively in the game according the Steamdb, with only thirty-four having played in a twenty-four hour period. Twitch views seem to be doing somewhat better – approximately 800 are recorded at present. Bubsy, it seems, is an experience (he’s too infamous to be a simple ‘character’ anymore) that most consider better to experience second-hand than dive headfirst into oneself.
Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back hasn’t faired much better in reviews, certainly on Steam at least where it’s lingering at about 59%, and many of them echo sentiments discussed here in our last Bubsy article – it’s a functioning game, already rendering it the cream of the Bubsy crop, but beyond that it’s a basic and uninspired platformer whose attempts at charm quickly outstay their welcome. The game’s length has also been criticised, with at least one reviewer claiming to only have garnered 108 minutes of gameplay – not even two hours – from a £19.99 title. There’s an argument to be made that the developers were hesitant to go all-in on the Bobcat before they knew how he would be received, but it seems in this case caution has taken them too far in the opposite direction.
(Of course, I could always be wrong. We could always trust in Metacritic user RRM and his perfect ten score, citing that ‘no game has ever made me feel so positive or so fulfilled’. That could always be true.)
In the end, it seems that Bubsy the Bobcat is not fated to rise like a glorious phoenix from the ashes of ignominy. At least, not yet. As a game there’s a functional, solid foundation here, and it’s entirely possible that Black Forest Games could go on to develop a more complete and enjoyable experience with the Bobcat in years to come. But with sales stagnating even now, despite the game currently offering a 34% price reduction, it seems that The Woolies Strike Back will be a flop even as a novelty. None can know what trials and tribulations are in Bubsy the Bobcat’s future. But given that both Crash Bandicoot and Mario received new/remastered games this same year that met with widespread critical acclaim, it sure is feeling 1996 in here.
You asked what could pawsibly go wrong, Bubsy.
Here’s your answer.
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.