I just played through Odd Bug’s latest title, The Lost Bear, out now on your PlayStation VR. Full disclosure: I’ve been dying to play this game since I saw the first reports of it months ago. I’m a proud lover of both of Playdead’s masterpieces Limbo and Inside, and to me, The Lost Bear seemed to be combining my love of the PlayStation VR with the two above mentioned side-scrolling platforming gems. Did Odd Bug Studio deliver the next platforming masterpiece?
Once you strap on the PlayStation VR headset and enter the beautiful hand drawn forest of The Lost Bear, you’ll know that you’re in for a far different experience than all of your other VR titles. You’ll find yourself sitting comfortably in a virtual chair, the forest all around you, and the wildlife chirping away. With the DualShock 4 in hand, you’ll be looking up to a giant stage, where you’ll meet Walnut, the game’s protagonist, for the first time. On this stage is where the side-scrolling action will take place. At this point, it’s basically a standard 2D game where the player finds themselves playing in the woods instead of their own couch.
In the opening scene, in which we see Walnut and her father at a campsite, he gives the young girl a stuffed bear, and all is good and pure in the world. There is no dialogue in the game, but you won’t need it, as the crew at Odd Bug Studio does a wonderful job of telling their story, mastering the art of “Show, don’t tell”. Using the DualShock 4, (no Move or Aim controller! The outrage!) you’ll guide Walnut on a harmless hike with her dad. You’ll learn how to use her trusty slingshot, and further master the mostly simple controls. Eventually, poor Walnut wanders off, and tumbles down a small cliff. She loses her stuffed bear, and we see a tiny spider thing steal it and run off. Our real journey begins here, as we guide poor Walnut on a search and rescue mission for her stuffed teddy bear.
Each level offers a different motif, from the obvious forest of the first level, to a junkyard, a strange factory, and an underground sewer setting. My favorite part is that each level changes your setting, too. Meaning if Walnut is running through a dark underground sewer system, then that same dark sewer will surround you as you sit and play. Occasionally, the world up on stage mixes with our world, too. At one point, after knocking a bee hive down with her slingshot, the angry bees scatter, and one of them fly’s menacingly around our chair. This happens fairly early in the game, and it is something that was sorely underused. It really is a unique mix of 2D and VR that you can’t find anywhere else, and it really upped the immersion to new levels and created a dreamlike aspect to the game.
With the hand-drawn world, the game plays like a child’s storybook come to life. It doesn’t go nearly as dark as Limbo or Inside, but when the half mechanical creature called “the Snatcher” crawls onto the screen, you realize there are real stakes in this “fairytale”.
Unfortunately, all is not perfect in The Lost Bear. The puzzles are all fairly easy which combines with the biggest disappointment of all. The game is short. Real short. I finished it in one setting at around an hour. Maybe a little bit less. The good news is it was a very enjoyable one hour and I’m looking forward to playing through it all over again. Also, I can’t wait to show it to my niece, who I think is going to love it.
The Lost Bear PS4/PSVR Review
A 2D side-scrolling platformer in VR is an odd mix, but Odd Bug Studio’s The Lost Bear somehow managed to pull it off. The duration is too short, but it truly is like no other title in your collection. If you have an extra 12 bucks in your pocket, you shouldn’t miss this game.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.