Bubsy: Paws on Fire!
Switch version tested
Review code provided
Let me clear from the very start: as soon as I knew that Bubsy was being remade for the Nintendo Switch, I wanted it. I even went so far as to scent mark it on the request sheet in the office – just like a real cat. I’d been a fan of the frolicking feline ever since he first clawed his way into our hearts back in 1993, and despite the inevitable law of diminishing returns, I enjoyed most of the sequels too. Ergo, it seemed highly plausible that I would also really enjoy Bubsy: Paws on Fire!, even if it had taken what felt like 9-lives to actually get a final release date.
I was wrong.
Bubsy: Paws on Fire reunites us with all our favourites from the Bubsyverse, as they team up to battle their oldest enemy, Oinker P. Hamm, who is up to his old tricks trying to take over the world. What follows is an auto-runner adventure in which players must utilise their full team to complete a number of rather simplistic levels in order to progress to the final battle. Whether that’s pouncing as Bubsy, flying your spacecraft as Woolie, or travelling underground as Arnold the Aardvark.
This brings to light the first flaw of the game. In order to progress in Bubsy: Paws on Fire!, you must complete each course as all 3 of the characters. No skipping forward here folks. Unfortunately, because of this, the game starts to feel repetitive almost instantly. It also feels like a cheap way to drag out a short game, which is compounded by the depressingly long load screens in between levels.
Apparently, cats’ can sleep for anywhere between 12 – 16 hours a day. Perhaps then this would explain the ghastly loading times between levels. In fact, if you do anything in Bubsy: Paws on Fire! except play a level, it takes forever to load. Want to quit? That’s OK, but you’ll need to wait 10 minutes while the game loads the menu screen. Want to move between screens? Same problem. I actually managed to download the Super Nintendo app in its entirety before I’d even managed to sit through the first load screen. It wasn’t even this slow back on the Sega Megadrive! Slow load times aren’t a deal-breaker but damn it comes close.
The mechanics of the game are also horrible. Unless you’re flying around as Woolie then there’s a good chance you’ll need to jump at some point – which in fairness is all you can do in the game – but if your jump isn’t pixel-perfect in its execution then you will miss your target/fall to your death/face plant an obstacle. Delete as appropriate.
There was so much potential here, but Choice Provisions’ somewhat desperate attempt to capitalise on the nostalgia that has allowed so many retro titles to find new life on the Nintendo Switch falls very short. Bubsy: Paws on Fire! is OK in short-bursts, and perhaps it’s an OK way to pass some time while you’re on the toilet, but sooner or later you’ll be reaching for the reset button and looking for something much more satisfying to play instead. Try ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove, it’ll scratch that 90s itch waaay better than Bubsy ever could.
My personal expectations were set very high for Bubsy‘s Nintendo Switch debut, which made this experience all the more disappointing. I’d compare playing this to the excitement of buying a real cat, getting it home and realising that you’re allergic. Get your poop scoop ready cos this one stinks.
TBG Score: 4/10
Platform: Steam, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 29/08/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Action, Platformer
Developer: Choice Provisions
Publisher: Tommo Inc
Download link: eShop