Crime, corruption, and sarcasm – This game has it all. Bear With Me – Episode Two trails the extremely successful release of Episode One, winner of Infogamer’s best indie game in 2014. Described by the developer, Exordium Games, as “a stylish horror noir point-and-click adventure game”, Episode Two is an excellent addition to the genre and is just as successful as the first episode.
Bear With Me – Episode 2 is available for purchase on Steam for $4.99.
Bear with Me is a 1940s detective film noir mixed with Toy Story and Batman's Gotham City. It is centered around Amber Ashworth, a 10-year-old girl whose imagination builds the plot. You play as Amber and you team up with your sarcastic crime-busting detective quest to find your missing brother. While on your journey, you come across other tasks such as track down the villainous Red Man who has been wreaking havoc on Paper City and inflicting pain onto its inhabitants.
As Amber, you are the star of your own film. Your stuffed animals come to life to star as the citizens of Paper City and as the creator, Amber becomes the director of the city. Bear With Me is basically a game-based version of those imaginary stories you made about your stuffed animals as a child. There are even elements of horror in Amber’s childhood movie, with flashes of horrific scenes that make you jump and cringe.
Episode Two picks up right where Episode One ends, with a nice “Last Time on Bear With Me” recap. In this episode, you leave the safety of Amber’s home and are introduced to Paper City and its residents. With every resident you meet, you learn more about the background of the city and the political corruption that plagues it. Exordium Games did an excellent job developing a virtual city rich in history, stories, and complications. You really feel as if you are a new resident moving into the city and are learning its past and secrets.
The character development within Bear With Me is the best part of the game. Throughout the story, you come across very typical 1940s detective-type characters such as Ted, the “one-case to retirement” bear detective; Amber, the brains of the city; The Mugshot Brothers, the typical duo that consists of the brains who could be a lawyer if he wasn’t a criminal and the muscles who is simply a giant meathead; Rusty, the informant; and all the Gotham City-like corrupt government officials. The interactions between these characters are hilarious and build on a backstory that you learn as you continue to play. This is the first game in a long time where I did not want to skip through the cutscenes or conversations.
As mentioned earlier, Bear With Me allows you to be the star of your own film. You make decisions throughout the game that effect the story. When you play as the villain, you can decide how much pain you’d like to inflict on the city, and ultimately decide what actions to take to create the best film. It’s like you’re in charge of the movie’s script and you can do what you want to create the best-rated movie.
Since Bear With Me is a point-and-click game, the buttons are fairly simple. All you need is a mouse. However, there are unique puzzles that make the game interesting. You have to find the right items in order to advance through the story. If you are unable to find the items or click on irrelevant items, Ted the bear does not hesitate to make fun of you. It makes the story light and playful and even encourages you to explore just to see what Ted will come up with next. If you’re stuck, you can click on Ted to give you a clue. However, sometimes his clues are extremely unhelpful. If you can’t find an item, you will most likely be searching for it for a long time. Another issue with the gameplay is that there is no task list. If you stopped playing and came back for another session, sometimes you have no idea what task you are working on or what you are supposed to do next.
Compared to Episode One, Bear With Me Episode Two has more areas to explore to include the city’s dinner, docks, mayor’s house, and casino. Episode Two also comes with the inclusion of a map, which cuts down on back-and-forth traveling and allows you to simply click to which area you would like to visit. There are also more mini puzzles in this episode which make it more challenging, entertaining, and lengthier.
The only negative thing about the gameplay is that this episode is a little glitchy at times. I was not able to finish the game because at a certain area (the casino), my game kept freezing and I could no longer click on anything. I restarted and re-tried three times and got the same results every time.
Graphics and Audio
Exordium Games created the perfect atmosphere from the graphics to the audio for a 1940s-detective film noir. The black and white graphics are visually entertaining and add to the mood of the game and old-timey feel. The scenery and characters are all brilliantly designed and the voice actors are all perfectly cast to portray the developer’s intended effects. The entire package creates a sense of nostalgia when you’re playing and sends you back to a time of classic movies and detective shows.
All in all, Bear With Me Episode Two is an illustrious extension to the highly successful first episode. It is a satirical comedy that centers around crime-busting detective shows, with a hint of elements from Toy Story and Batman’s Gotham city. The storyline is movie-quality and extremely entertaining to play. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a light and hilarious story to contrast their serious gameplay-driven games.
|+ Story-altering decisions||– Glitchy at times|
|+ Movie-quality storyline||– No task list to remind you of missions|
|+ Great film-noir atmosphere and relevant graphics|
|+ Hilarious script and fitting voice acting|
|+ Well-designed story and backstory|
|+ Well-developed relationship between characters|