Naughty Bear is a bit of an oddity. The console version came out this year and was panned by critics for having little variety despite hilarious and highly gratifying cutscenes. The developers have now taken their franchise to the iPhone. However, the Pac-Man twist on the gameplay doesn’t do much to help out this homicidal bear’s brand.
Like any Pac-Man clone, you run through levels made up of intersecting lanes filled with some sort of pellet, in this case, cupcakes. Occasionally you’ll come across a weapon that allows you to kill other bears for a short period of time. To add a bit of extra flavor to the genre, Naughty Bear can hide in bushes along the side of the trail and set traps by tapping the center of the screen when running past them.
There are seven different enemy bear types, each with a different ability. For example, ninja bears can find you when hiding, angry red bears charge at you even if you have a weapon, and robot bears are indestructible. However, once you get into the flow of the game, they all tend to meet the same fate.
Oh Naughty Bear, all you deserve is a time-out!
Naughty Bear has a story mode, which briefly explains that Naughty Bear is angry because he wasn’t invited to a party, and a challenge mode, which consists of levels where you must survive for a certain amount of time. Story mode’s levels alternate between reaching a certain score, killing enough bears, or eating enough cupcakes. Both modes have 27 levels with four level configurations, but all four play similarly enough that it always tends to feel the same.
Also, the graphics in Naughty Bear aren’t great. The close-up, bear-on-bear violence that occurs when attacking a bear with a trap or certain weapons feels very unsatisfying. Instead of the humorously sadistic bear deaths with stuffing flying in the air from the console game, you’ll just see boring close-ups of blocky objects in low resolutions.
Naughty Bear is tough to recommend for $2.99, unless you are a cult enthusiast of the console game. There are good reasons Naughty Bear isn’t invited to parties, you know.