From developer Qubic Games comes Astro Bears Party, the quirky, fast paced, and competitive party game featuring running bears in space suits.
In this easy-to-learn, hard-to-master party game you are tasked with running around a planet while either attempting to catch Jetfish by yourself, or while avoiding up to four different players as you create a unique Magical Bear Ribbon for the players to avoid.
The biggest thing I can say after having played this game for a few days is that it has a heavy reliance on multiplayer. The game has some decent offerings to those who desire to play by themselves, but the real fun comes out when you’re playing with four people, in a furious frenzy of colorful ribbon madness!
Operating from a fixed camera perspective, this game is incredibly straightforward and has a very similar premise to the classic game of snake. When playing this game alone you must capture a certain number of Jetfish per level without running in to your own ribbon, or you’ll have to start over. The game adds a new element by giving each of the four bears the ability to jump and hover over ribbons positioned lower to the ground so you can continue on if you happen to take a wrong turn too quickly, or if you’ve run out of room.
This also allows for added strategy when playing competitively with up to four players, where the object of the game is to have the other bears run into your Magical Bear Ribbon in order to eliminate them and be the last bear standing. If you box in a player using both the ground level ribbons and the upper level ribbons it’s game over!
While the graphical presentation isn’t anything crazy, Astro Bears Party is still very polished and runs very nicely as an HD title in both handheld mode and when the Switch is docked and played on a TV. The bear avatars are very well designed, and each of the Magical Bear Ribbons helps to add a pop of color when playing.
The simple controls allow for an incredibly low-level entry point as far as skill is concerned. The only controls you use in any control configuration are the left joystick to move around freely on the planet, the “a” button to jump and hover, and the “b” button to increase your ground speed and dash forward. This simplicity creates a really fun and quirky environment that makes it easy to pick up, but very difficult to master.
Each of the four bears caters to different play styles that users may have. There are bears that travel faster than others, have better handling for making tighter turns, and even bears with more fuel so when they are airborne they can stay there longer. I am partial to the fastest moving bear Xiaoli, who also has the best turning capability of any of the bears. Let me know which bear is your favorite in the comments below!
While I don’t think that Astro Bears Party is an essential title for the Nintendo Switch, it has provided my friends and I (and even my wife!) with some laughs and a good way for us to all play games together. To me this title is lacking significantly in both content and in diversity of gameplay options, but it excels in its graphical presentation, music, and overall accessibility. I would be interested in seeing the developers add some DLC to the title, maybe in the form of different planets to run around with different environmental obstacles to add more depth to the gameplay or maybe even some different bears to use.
A native of Minnesota, Brandon has been an avid Nintendo fan for as long as he can remember and enjoys being able to escape into the vast worlds offered in their games. Some of his favorite games include: Pokemon Blue & Silver, Earthbound, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Risk of Rain 2, and of course LoZ: Breath of the Wild.
Outside of gaming Brandon enjoys riding motorcycle, listening to music or podcasts, cooking, watching movies, and is a big sports fan. He is always carrying his Switch with him wherever he goes, so feel free to add him if you’d like to lose at MK8D.