Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise
Whether the Narrator says it or not, there’s something so satisfying about “Total Defluffication”. There’s nothing like decapitating a cute teddy bear and just watch the horror in their eyes as their friends are fleeing the crime scene.
In the peaceful Summer of 2010, Behaviour Interactive showed us what happened if we went down to the woods today – a fluffy massacre. Whilst receiving mixed reviews it caught a lot of people’s attention and so an inevitable sequel of the stealth action game has arrived.
You play the eponymous Naughty Bear. We don’t know who started it but all the other bears hate him. Constantly partying and going on vacation they unleash a tirade of insults and plots against you, whilst all the time smiling till it makes you sick and naming themselves things like “Sunshine” and “Giggles”. Naughty isn’t one to take these things lying down and counters by gate-crashing, sneaking around and then massacring bears.
What exactly do you do?
The bears have all gone on a vacation, all of them except you. The woods (safe-zones) allow you to run out, startling all those around you, cause chaos and run back before they decide to get some vengeance. There’s many ways to terrorise or injure your fellow bears. Weapons found around the levels give you different kills, bear traps can be used to incapacitate them, or you can smash or sabotage various objects in the level causing them to flip out as they try desperately to fix everything. A further essential move is to grab an unsuspecting bear and shout “Boo!” in his face. New to the game are environmental kills. These are certain objects which can be used to give an instant death to a bear e.g. cacti, sharpened desk bells or bamboo fountains.
Each level contains a target bear that needs to be eliminated in a specific way plus additional side-quests (randomised each play). If you want to obtain platinum trophies and level up quick you’ll want to be all over these.
Whilst the original game relied on DLC to bring in more colourful bears such as super-heroes and pirates, Panic in Paradise gives you all the existing bears and a whole lot more. Look out for the new formidable foe, Jacques le Tickler!
Whilst causing the mayhem you will be awarded coins and XP. The experience is used to level up your Naughty Bear, which increases stats such as health and stamina. The coins allow you to buy new items in the shop. Once you have performed an ultra-kill with a weapon it is unlocked for you to buy and master. As for outfits, a new feature allows you to grab a bear, carry him into a wood and steal his outfit. This not only unlocks his clothes for purchase but also sometimes provides you with a disguise that will allow you to wander unnoticed amongst the other bears. Doing a naughty action whilst in disguise will still get you spotted, but you can easily tell which bears are still fooled by the presence of a heart above their head.
What they changed… and what they didn’t
Many things have been improved upon since the original game. The levelling up system is a great addition, and dressing up your bear is as hilarious as it is useful. The variety of weapons is immense so you’ll always be able to find something new to kill with. After the slog-fest to platinum all the levels in the original, we’ve been given a bit of a break, but as a Naughty Bear veteran it seemed a little too easy with most platinum trophies coming first time. This is probably strongly helped by the multipliers that plagued the first game being removed.
Unfortunately not all change is good. The removal of levels such as Untouchable and Speedrun may put smiles on a lot of faces but with only one type of level for all 36 targets the game can get a little repetitive. They also forgot to remove the lock-ups and glitches, so some patience may be required on occasion. The bears themselves seem to have lost some IQ points. Whether it’s simply the fact that they’re on holiday or that they’ve seen it all before, they just don’t seem as bothered as before. Gone are the days of barricading themselves in a safe place (again making the game easier), and they sometimes seem little more than mildly surprised when a friend is killed. A little shrug and then they’re back on their merry way.
The Bottom Line
I adore the Naughty Bear franchise and if you want a super-saccharin murder-fest then this is the game for you. It’s a major step forward from the original but there’s still plenty of improvements that could be made. Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise is a more fully realised game whilst true to the original vision. There’s more variety of… well, everything. With dark comedy and OTT violence everywhere you look this is definitely an acquired taste but one that I can’t get enough of. Whilst this may be an arcade release, don’t be fooled – it’s at least as big as it’s predecessor and well worth your points.
Miss; Although a lot of progress has been made since the original there are still some glitches in the game mechanics that really should have been ironed out.
Need; To spice up the repetition with some different challenges, maybe via some DLC.