Published on September 2nd, 2016 | by Chris Scott0
Bear With Me Episode 1 Review
Summary: Classic in every way.
It is funny to think that not too long ago, people were lamenting the death of adventure games. And now, there seems to be a never ending supply of them. To be fair, adventure games never really disappeared; the genre just had a much smaller profile until Telltale Games’ massive success with The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead did a lot to change the direction of the genre and allowed both the newer, cinematic and narrative focused games and those of the more traditional point and click variety to thrive. And because of this atmosphere in the genre, little projects like Exordium Games’ episodic Bear With Me, are getting made.
Bear With Me is a traditional point and click adventure title. Its hook is that it stars a young girl, Amber, and her teddy bear, the hardboiled private investigator, Ted E. Bear. It also happens to be a noir styled mystery. The setup is that Amber’s brother has gone missing and sinister events in Paper City may be related to his disappearance. Amber and Ted set out to get information on her brother and the mysterious “Red Man” that plagues the city.
The first episode, which takes about an hour to 90 minutes to complete, follows along with traditional point and click adventure game tropes. Clicking on everything is a must. Many times the information gleaned from these actions is inconsequential to progressing the story, although sometimes there is some snappy dialog that goes along with them. Still, just about anything might be either a clue to a puzzle or an actual puzzle piece. If you happen to gloss over something, as I did, you can end up stuck wondering what the hell you are supposed to be doing. It’s pretty par for the course in regards to point and click games but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating when it does happen.
Thankfully there are no illogical combinations or solutions to the puzzles. If you do collect everything, the puzzles are pretty straight forward and the solutions generally lead you to where you need to go next. For instance, the bathroom light won’t work so you can’t see in there. Once you get the battery for your flashlight you know that the bathroom probably contains what you need to advance. It helps that the setting for Bear With Me’s first episode is relatively small, with no more than 10 areas to explore in the entire game. This doesn’t, however, cut down on the amount of back and forth you’ll be doing between the different rooms tracking down items to build or provide a character with to advance.
The strength of Bear With Me is in the characters and the goofy noir story that is being unveiled. The mystery itself, while simple, is intriguing enough. The pop-culture references that are sprinkled throughout make the air super light and fun. The side characters you interact with are fun and unique. and the building up of the sinister “Red Man” has me excited for future episodes. There is also a minor reveal that becomes evident in the last quarter of the episode that has me optimistic for where the game is going and what its ultimate themes may be but we’ll have to wait to see where that goes.
But strongest in the game is Amber and Ted. They work well together and the history they have is evident in their interactions. They are also just fun to be with and are perfect for what Bear With Me is attempting. It’s absurd to see a bear, that kind of looks a lot like the bear from the movie Ted, being this hard nosed character paired with the super sweet Amber. When they play good cop/bad cop or have one of their lengthy discussions about the past, it can be both funny and heartwarming. Playing for laughs while also trying to take yourself seriously can be a hard thing to do. Bear With Me mostly succeeds.
At about an hour or so in playtime, there just isn’t a lot of time to see the full picture being crafted and I wish there was just a bit more to establish exactly what Bear With Me will be going forward. Right now it is just a lot of optimism and hope on my part for where the game is going. That said, I enjoyed the first episode and look to see where Amber and Ted go in the next episode. But it should be very clear that if you don’t like the pixel hunting gameplay that point and click adventures like this offer though, Bear With Me will not be for you.
This review was written with material provided by the publisher on the PC. For more on our review process, please read here.