Over the last two weeks, we’ve featured 10 of our favorite game series on iOS, but there are still 40 more to go. Today we’re paying tribute to Battle Bears, a unique series that combines cuddly teddy bears with big guns and rainbow-colored gore. In addition to launching several successful iOS games, last year developer SkyVu announced that Battle Bears was also on its way to becoming an animated TV series. Read on for more details about this delightfully twisted series.
Battle Bears: Zombies!
The first game (originally just called Battle Bears) started the whole franchise with a desperate survival situation for one lone bear. While trying to escape with a cart full of gold, Battle Bear team leader Oliver loses his ride and has to annihilate an army of cheery pink Huggables. As they advance on your sandbags, you’ll have to pick them off with a machine gun, aiming for the head for a spray of rainbow-colored blood. Outstanding animated cutscenes told the story in a unique way, and the epic boss fights and weapon upgrades (like the unicorn-horn crossbow) made this shooter extremely memorable. We could tell from this first game that Battle Bear was going to be a major gaming (and merchandising) success.
Key Quote: “Battle Bears is a fantastic shooter with wide appeal. Its easy-to-use controls make it a good introduction to survival shooters, while the challenging stages offer something for the more seasoned player.”
Battle Bears -1
We were surprised that Battle Bears decided to go back in time with this prequel, which has since been removed from the App Store. In Battle Bears -1, you could take Oliver out from behind the sandbags and into the corridors of a giant spaceship, teeming with Huggables and other enemies. Like Ripley in the Alien movies, Oliver had an ever-growing arsenal to help him survive the alien attack, but nothing on the level of the first game.
Key Quote: “We are happy with the fast-paced action, and the game is technically impressive, sporting dozens of enemies onscreen without a hitch. But it seems to have lost some of the creativity of the first game, coasting on classic videogame and movie tropes instead of defining its own.”
Battle Bears GO
The third Battle Bears game released for iOS was Battle Bears GO, an iPad-sized twin-stick shooter that paid homage to the arcade classic Smash TV. Played from a top-down perspective, Battle Bears GO let you journey through rooms and spray machine gun death at scores of pink teddy bears. Unfortunately, it lacked a lot of the unique charms of the earlier games, like animated cutscenes and special weapons.
Key Quote: “Battle Bears Go doesn’t capture the personality and insanity that we loved in the previous games. Without cutscenes, absurdly large bosses, or creative weapons, it fails to make itself unique.”
Battle Bears Blast
Battle Bears Blast was yet another unique gameplay experience with the same classic characters. Blast was designed as a one-handed high-score game, where you could microwave groups of similarly-colored Huggables for maximum points. While we liked the game’s achievements, voice acting, and combo mechanics, we also felt that it was missing something without the animated cutscenes that defined the series early on. Like GO and -1, Battle Bears Blast is also no longer available on the App Store.
Key Quote: “Battle Bears Blast is a lighter game for the franchise when compared to the space epic of Battle Bears -1 or the original classic, but its charm is still there. However, the mildly violent and cartoony cutscenes and RPG elements of the first game are sorely missed.”
Battle Bears Royale/ Gold
With the incredible potential of the characters, it wasn’t a surprise that SkyVu would be ambitious enough to attempt a Team Fortress-like deathmatch model for Battle Bears. The characters and crazy weapons lived up to expectations set by earlier games, but at launch, the mechanics weren’t quite balanced enough to make extended play sessions worthwhile. Battle Bears Royale has received a lot of updates since launch, and the current version, Battle Bears Gold, is still available as a free download.
Key Quote: “For free, those looking for Team Fortress on their iPhone or iPad should give Battle Bears Royale a chance. It may not be a perfect game, but it has enough charm to last for at least an hour and is free to play.”
Taking over yet another genre, BB Fortress puts the Battle Bears in a tower defense-style strategy game. Like in Plants vs Zombies, you have five rows to defend using turrets and characters from the earlier games. BB Fortress just launched on the App Store this month, so we haven’t given it the full review treatment yet, but we’ll let you know if this brand-new addition lives up to the rest of the series.
Tomorrow, we’ll be talking about Zenonia, a popular Korean RPG series that we thought played a lot like Zelda.
This article is part of a series about the best games on iOS, 2008-2013. You can read the rest here.