LifeisXbox’s Bugsnax review | What started as a Sony-exclusive game that caught a lot of attention was recently released on all major platforms. As you’ve read in the title, I am, of course, talking about Bugsnax! Developed and published by Young Horses, Bugsnax is an adorable-looking game that, at first, seems to be targeted at children. Upon closer look, it became clear that Bugsnax is basically aimed at all ages. Everyone can go out and explore a vibrant island and catch the strange bugsnax that roam this island. Are you ready to set out on an adventure? Let’s go!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Story | Once upon a time, Elizabert Megafix (Lizbert) set out to explore the magical Snaktooth Island. Why is it magical, you ask? Well, this particular island was inhabited by bugsnax, bugs that take the form of snacks. Well, kind of. Either way, you play as a journalist who’s about to be fired when she gets an invite from Lizbert to visit her. Once you get to Snaktooth Island, it becomes clear that Lizbert has gone missing and the town that was once inhabited by grumpuses was now deserted due to earthquakes and disagreements. It’s up to you (who doesn’t have a name in this game, by the way) to get everyone back to town and figure out what is happening to the island and where the hell Lizbert is. It’s a fun story and I thought I would lose track of the whole Lizbert story as I was trying to get everyone back to town, but this was not the case. Everyone needs to be interviewed so the whole Lizbert case really stays in the picture the whole time. The story is fun enough for the player to want to follow it, even though it’s not the highlight of the game.
- In-depth characters | As I mentioned, Snaktooth is inhabited by grumpuses. They’re basically humans that don’t look like humans. The first grumpuses you’ll meet are Filbo, the major of Snaxburg, and Wambus, a farmer that has that typical straw hat and checkered flannel look that fits a farmer. Along the way, you meet other residents spread out on the map, like superstar Wiggle who loves to sing, and Triffany who is an archeologist. Each grumpus has a unique look but they all have a big nose and mouth. By eating bugsnax, you can change the appearance of the residents according to your or their wishes. For example, why not turn a leg into a carrot or a nose into a strawberry. While these strange creatures may seem cute and a tad childish at first, you actually develop a close relationship with them throughout the game. There are fun moments but there is also room for more serious matters. It came as a complete shock to me when the game introduced topics like mental health, depression, dealing with loss, and so on. They did so in an obvious way without being too blunt or harsh about it. It’s truly something beautiful about this game!
- The actual bugsnax | I personally didn’t have a strong connection with the bugsnax themselves, but I still loved discovering them with all my heart. Every region on the map has its own bugsnax, which was really nice. There are over 100 bugsnax to be found and caught on Snaktooth Island, so let me introduce you to a few of my favorite ones. Cheepoof looks like a butterfly made out of a Chipito with Doritos wings. Bunger is a burger with fries as legs that keeps saying its own name in the cutest way. Cinnasnail is a snail looking like a swirled cinnamon bun. Kweeble looks like a kiwi with a spoon as a nose, while Scoopy has an ice cream cone for a nose attached to three scoops of ice cream as a body. Tacroach is basically a roach that looks like a taco, Chippie is a spider with the body of a delicious-looking cookie, and Mothza Supreme is a moth disguised as a pizza! Some bugsnax have different variants, which feels like cheating a little because there aren’t really over 100 different types of bugsnax, but I was still happy with the number of original ones there were.
- Main quests and side quests | In Bugsnax, there are basically four types of quests, with some being more important than others. First, we have the story events that, as the title suggests, help you progress in the story. There is only a handful of these and they allow you to unlock new areas. Next up, we have the main quests that are all about getting every grumpus back to Snaxburg. Every character you meet will have you fulfill multiple main quests before they agree to return to Snaxburg. These are mostly about catching bugsnax and feeding them to the grumpus you’re talking to, but it can also be going somewhere or finding something. I liked that grumpuses required bugsnax from different areas, keeping you on the move. Then we have the side quests that are voluntary. I only finished some of these and focused on the main quests for the most part. The side quests are often all about catching bugsnax too, but they can also be some sort of minigames, visiting someone, etc. And last but not least, we have the interviews. Once a grumpus has moved to Snaxburg, you can interview them. The purpose of these interviews is basically to find out what happened to Lizbert. Talking to everyone will give you clues about what happened and helps you solve the puzzle!
- Delicious to look at | I don’t need to tell you that the idea of Bugsnax sounds really cute, and it really is in reality! The whole game looks deliciously good. Not only do the grumpuses each have their own distinguished look, but the surroundings all also have fun details. Since there are multiple areas, I hoped there would be plenty of difference between them and there really was. You start out in the forests of Flavor Falls and Garden Grove after which you reach the town of Snaxburg. After this, you move on to a beautiful beach in Simmering Springs. Besides these, you’ll also discover deserts, a frosty mountain, and Sugarpine Woods, which is an area at the bottom of that mountain. All the areas looked very beautiful and were an absolute joy to explore! And then, of course, we have the bugsnax themselves. As I mentioned, they are truly amazing and look the part too! It was fun to see both the bug and the snack in each creature, without even having to see its name. I have finished the main story but haven’t even discovered all the bugsnax yet, there’s so much to see!
- Free DLC Isle of Bigsnax | Together with the launch of the game, a free DLC with about 3 to 4 hours of extra content was added. This includes a new area, a bunch of extra bugsnax (like a Spaghider and Chocolant), quests, challenges and decorations. Starting this DLC cannot be done right from the start. You’ll have to finish all quests by Snorpy and Chandlo before being able to dive into the extra content. Additional features provided by this DLC are that bugsnax can wear hats and you can have your own little house in Snaxburg! You can even customize this house by checking your mailbox and fulfilling quests to earn furniture and decorations. Not bad at all for a free DLC!
- Catching bugsnax | Now, while these bugsnax sound great and all, catching them isn’t always a complete joy. Along the way, you’ll gather a bunch of tools to catch these weird little creatures. You see, each creature requires its own approach to catching it. You start out with a simple Bug Net to catch some easier bugsnax and a SnaxScope to scan and research everything on the island. When meeting new grumpuses, you’ll receive cooler tools like the snakgrappler, a trip shot, and a lunchpad (you know, like launch but lunch). Very nice tools indeed but catching these bugsnax can be really difficult to figure out. Sometimes you have to combine multiple tools in order to catch them and even though you get some information on how to catch them (thanks to our SnaxScope), the game never really tells you what to do exactly. I’m not too proud to admit that I did have to look up a few times how to catch a certain bugsnax because I had no idea what I had to do. And I guess I wasn’t inventive enough to combine some tools. Bless the internet!
- A little repetitive | Another downside of Bugsnax is that it can get a little repetitive after a while. Catching the bugsnax is really fun but as I mentioned, a whole lot of the game revolves around this. Both the biggest chunk of the main and side quests are focused on catching the little fellas and sometimes it was just a pain in the ass to catch certain bugsnax. It does help that there is a large variety of bugsnax in the game, and that each area has its own bugsnax, but I still feel like people might get tired of it after a while. I know, personally, that this is not a game I could finish it one sitting simply because this catching got a little repetitive.
What we Disliked
- The other kind of bugs | Unfortunately, bugsnax aren’t the only bugs in this game. I’m afraid I’m talking about the glitch-like bugs that were also present in this game. I’ve seen bugsnax that I’ve wanted to catch, and once I set up my traps, the bugsnax seemed to be glitching. This made it impossible for me to catch them, which was a real bummer since I needed them for a quest. Quickly relaunching the game helped, but it’s still not something you want, obviously. It also sometimes felt like everything was a bit uncoordinated or something. Like my string was too high but it still managed to catch the bugsnax I was aiming for. Or my lunchpad fell off of a cliff. There were just some small annoyances that should be avoided.
How long to beat the story | 7 to 10 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 15 to 20 hours
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂