Some games come out with little fanfare and remain in obscurity for whatever reason so I decided to give BugsBox a try and share my thoughts about it in a review. I played the VR version but I'm sure it's basically the same as the non-VR release so let's get to it!
I'm a sucker for arcade-style games and have a particular fondness for block-sliding gameplay like in Castles and Polar Panic. When I noticed BugsBox in the PlayStation Store, I researched it a bit only to find next to nothing. So, I decided to take the plunge and finally try it out. I must admit that I'm glad that I did. For starters, its gameplay is incredibly simple as all you do is run around a maze-like grid while pushing blocks into enemies and trying not to let them touch you. This element feels kind of like Namco's classic arcade game Toy Pop. Anyway, there's no time limit so you can carefully strategize how to take out your enemies but if you wait around too long, one's bound to sneak up on you and end your life so it's a good idea to keep moving. When you factor in fun mechanics like power-ups, collectibles from balloons, and different types of blocks (some of which can be quite tricky), you're left with one addictive arcade-style game.
BugsBox VR's visuals and audio are super-charming. First of all, the blocky stages and character designs are incredibly cute, especially when you activate the power-up that makes the enemies shrink so you can stomp on them. Meanwhile, the cheerful soundtrack and adorable Japanese announcer make the gameplay feel even livelier. I should mention that BugsBox looks fantastic in VR as the stages really pop and come to life. However, VR doesn't really add anything to the gameplay so if you'd rather just play the non-VR edition then that's a solid option as you won't be missing out on much. It does look great in VR, though, so there's always that.
BugsBox consists of a couple modes: Classic Mode and Infinite Mode. You can also play a Practice Mode if you want to hone your skills. The Classic Mode features four stage themes: grass, desert, ice hill, and volcanic. That being said, I couldn't progress past the grass stage so I'm not entirely sure how many levels it consists of. Also, every time you get a Game Over, you have to start the campaign all over again from the beginning. If you make it to another stage theme, you might be able to continue from there but I don't know because I've never made it that far. If you know then leave a comment below; it would be very helpful! Either way, starting from the first level every time gets tedious incredibly fast so good thing there's Infinite Mode, too. There, you take on endless waves of enemies within the same level and it offers much faster-paced difficulty progression. You really can't go wrong with playing either mode.
Although the 2 modes are solid choices, I wish there was more to BugsBox. For example, if it had a cute stage-based story campaign or a list of challenge stages. Instead, you'll simply juggle between the 2 modes while trying to improve your skills and hopefully make it further and further. As you do so, you'll amass a collection of coins and unlock a wealth of playable characters. There's a ton of them to collect which is oddly satisfying. Speaking of which, I enjoy the variety of enemy types that each behave differently such as ladybugs, fire ants, stag beetles, and fireflies. There will be many ups and downs on the path to becoming a BugsBox champion. For example, pushing a bomb only to explode a bunch of huddled bugs is rewarding stuff while stepping on an ice tile can result in a frustrating death.
BugsBox VR may be an obscure game but it's definitely one worth playing, especially if you enjoy arcade-style experiences.
- + Simple pick-up-and-play arcade-style fun that's surprisingly addictive
- + Charming graphics and audio
- + Lots of characters to unlock
- - Having to start from the beginning every time you get a Game Over is super-tedious
- - Could use additional modes
- - VR doesn't add anything to gameplay