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Bear With Me, finally a game where the teddy is more grumpy than terrifying.
I had both the regular Bear With Me game in my library as well as the Collector’s Edition–which is the only one available on the Steam store at the time of writing this. Not sure but I think the first only had the one chapter, and the Collector’s Edition combined all three chapters?
Anyway, it took me a while to play this game as I wasn’t so sure about it.
Something about teddy bears put me off.
However I do urge people to give this game a chance if they haven’t decided on whether to play it or not. It’s a point-and-click with a pretty damn emotional ending that you wouldn’t really expect from the back-and-forth funny banter between kid and teddy.
This is an in-depth critique of the game Bear With Me – Collector’s Edition. I go all in with my review by picking apart the game, piece by piece. By doing this, I try to help not only the devs that created the games, but also future aspiring devs by giving my viewpoint on everything as an avid gamer, but please understand…
All right, this is actually a really cool background setting for a title screen, but…I don’t quite understand it. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t played the entirety of the game yet and it’ll all make sense by the end. But what I kind of understand so far is that this is all basically playing out from a girl’s imagination.
Like a detective movie.
With comic strip frames to tell the story at times.
So in the end, maybe the movie theatre background is a proper foundation for those entering the game, though I wonder if they could’ve changed it up a bit to properly place the spotlight on the mystery/detective side of things.
Either way, you’ve got your New Game ticket in the corner, which you’ll need before entering a theatre, obviously, and it is slightly in your face as far as being closer to you in the foreground.
The other options are at the top center of the theatre’s board.
And then the brightly lit name of the devs plus the game’s title beneath it, as well as on the other side. I like how they also included movie posters as well. Can’t forget those.
Another interesting tidbit as you continue through the chapters–the title screen’s background also changes.
The first chapter offers the main building for a movie theatre, but the second chapter gives you a streetside view out in the rain. This is pretty nice if people quit at the end of one chapter and then continue the game at a later point. Not only that, but the title screens have movement to them, which actively engages you to look around.
I mean, there’s nothing too epic or particularly nice looking about the game’s title, because it’s being used on the showcasing panel of the movie theatre. The letters are a bit off-center from one another giving it a more playful, less organized feel.
To begin the teddy/human duo detective team, hit that New Game.
If you’ve already started the game, you can just Continue from where you left off at a save point from any chapter.
By going into Settings, you get a pretty simplistic window to choose what you want your settings to be. You’ve got your volume sliders for speech, music, and SFX, the language you’d like the game to be in, your resolution and whether you want to play in window mode or not, plus either if you want gamepad enabled and an FPS limit.
If you’re done being a detective, Quit.
There are “previously” panels you can choose on both the second and third chapter screens to just kind of go back through what’s happened already, in case you’re coming back to the game after a bit of a break.
You can obtain 65 achievements.
Haunted by nightmares, Amber wakes up in the middle of the night only to find out that her brother Flint is missing. She seeks help from her buddy, Ted E. Bear, a retired, grumpy old detective.
The dynamic duo sets out to hunt for clues and interrogate witnesses and suspects, unaware of the tragedies that recently started happening to residents of Paper City.
The plot thickens as a mysterious “Red Man” has been seen starting fires around town and looking for little miss Amber.
I’d say Bear With Me can last around 8 hours, depending on how stumped you are in certain moments. For me, the first episode lasted around 2.5 hours, but I got stuck for a good bit. Still, I’d say the other episodes might last just as long, give or take.
Your main interactions will be clicking on different objects and deciding what to do with them. Including simply looking at them with the magnifying glass or actually interacting them via the pointing finger.
If you choose to finger an object, something will either happen to it (such as the plant’s petals in your room will all fall off), or you’ll take the object into your inventory. Once in your inventory, you can pull an item to another and have the two react to each other (if it’s possible).
You can also interact and speak with other characters, of course, and they’ll sometimes have dialogue choices.
While you’re able to left-click on the floor to have your character walk to it, right-clicking the floor won’t do anything. But if you right-click an entryway, the character will walk toward it. Kind of an odd thing I noticed.
There are a variety of characters you’ll meet within the game, and I like the fact that they all look different enough that you’ll probably either remember their names–or at least their title, like the Mugshot Brothers–or what they stood for.
I’m pretty sure the smaller rabbit’s name from the Mugshot Brothers–Jimmy–is mentioned just once by Jon-Jon.
But you’ve also got the giraffe in Amber’s bedroom, which unfortunately I never could remember because she just didn’t seem vital except for the very first part of the game. Yet she was an old blind character that warned Amber of what was going on.
And then there’s Brian the officer, with his fake mustache.
It’s easy to forget his name mainly because Ted could never get it right.
Those are just some characters from chapter one. There’s plenty other ones.
Some things to say about a few of the character’s voices.
There’s something about Ted E. Bear’s voice that doesn’t quite hit the tone that it’s aiming for. He’s trying to own one of those dull, not quite interested voices that detectives speak with when they’re monologuing what’s going on. I’m more acquainted with this kind of voice in shows, I think, but he…doesn’t quite have the tone for it.
His voice doesn’t give the proper impact of an impartial outside viewer.
Maybe it’s just me.
Millie’s voice sounds oddly close to Amber’s, despite them being two different people. I think maybe there’s too much effort being put into the “old lady” voice for her and it’s coming across as a little too false.
I’ll say my favorite character’s voice acting comes from Jimmy from the Mugshot Brothers. He’s got the perfect high-pitched whiney criminal voice that I can imagine hearing on some comedy show involving shady criminals.
Aside from the character’s voices, there are certain points in characters’ conversations where there’s a long dramatic pause that you can’t speed up. Sometimes this is due to you trying to fast-forward the text, in case you already played the game and heard the lines before, but other times it’s a dramatic pause for a comedic line to come afterwards.
Either way they did it, it does get a bit annoying since some are so close together.
Going from one spot to the next is fairly slow. There’s no double-click fast-walking feature, but most areas are very condensed, meaning there’s not a lot of walking around to do anyway.
Though if you want to get to another area faster, you can double-click on the section and you’ll instantly travel there.
The subtitles have a graph-like background with an upper and lower border that fades out toward the end. It also provides you with the face of whoever is doing the talking.
There are no names to go with the faces though.
I love the grayscale theme Bear With Me is going for. Something about games that focus on a specific color theme–be they bright colors, grayscale, or maybe just everything in different shades of a single color–makes them stand out for me. Maybe because I used to be an artist and find people’s artistic style fascinating at times.
But this is a noir style of game, so it’s sort of expected to have a darker tone and style to it.
While most everything does lack color, anything dealing with the Red Man actually has color, to make the antagonist stand out a bit more. Not only that, but some sections of Bear With Me go through image-style skits, where you get snapshot images while Ted speaks through things that are happening. Everything he says are in sectioned off subtitles.
The title screen has a cute and creepy song to go with it. More like a little lullaby type of song that rhymes. It abruptly cuts off at the end (likely intentional?) and takes a moment for it to kick in again if you stay on the screen.
Not every scene you’re in will have any kind of music in the background. Sometimes it’s silence, aside from some sound effects. But when it comes to other areas–like the Casino, where you’d expect to hear music–there’s definitely something to listen to. And it’s a fitting tune (at least for the Casino).
Nothing is ever too dramatic.
There aren’t any sound effects when you’re clicking on items, and it’s sometimes hard to tell if you grabbed something if you weren’t paying attention to what they were saying before they grabbed an item. You just kind of have to check at that point.
But there are sound effects if you’re in certain areas–like the boiler room in Chapter 2. There’s obviously the running sound of the boiler.
Bear With Me was hit and miss for me. Sometimes I wanted to get through something faster since I’d already heard the conversation before, but when it comes to those long pauses…you can’t skip past those. You just have to wait it out.
The whole walking at a snail’s pace across the room also got old.
And I think because there wasn’t a lot going on in the background–music-wise–a lot of times when I started playing the game I’d get really sleepy and just end up going to bed (we’re talking 4 in the afternoon here) or needing to do something else to wake me up.
Is it a good point-and-click detective game?
I’d say so. There were places that really got me stumped, but I never had to actually look at a guide to figure out where to go. It’s all about combining items when the game’s got nothing else to give you in the open world or just back-tracking because you actually missed something.