The copy of this game was provided by Alex Rose Games. We wish them all the best for this game and their future releases.
Indie games are a haven for all kinds of styles of games but the 2D platformer is by far the most prominent. A staple of the early days of gaming, you can do almost anything in a 2D platformer from something as simple as Mario to something more thought-provoking like Braid. The difficulty is also a big point of 2D platformers. There are games designed to be easy like Kirby and then games that attempt to challenge the player and push them to their extreme, like Super Meat Boy. Super Rude Bear Resurrection falls into the latter category but by using one incredibly clever mechanic it manages to pull off something Meat Boy never could: be accessible to everyone. And it really does it well.
The story of Rude Bear is a deceptively simple one spanning multiple timelines and dimensions but you would never know that just from playing through the game normally. It’s a real treat for those who enjoy lore-heavy games like Kingdom Hearts or The Legend of Zelda and part of the fun is figuring it out for yourself. So, for now, I’ll just mention the basic premise. Rude Bear is a gangsta bear from East London who is one day sucked into an alternate dimension by a wise-cracking fairy. This fairy asks Rude Bear for his help to defeat the Wizard and thus the two head off to save the day, dying multiple times in the process. Simple on the outside, but deeper the more you go forward.
The gameplay is the heart of Super Rude Bear Resurrection, there is no doubt. As stated before, the game is a 2D platformer that many have related to Super Meat Boy due to its tough-as-nails level design. However, while there are similarities such as reliance on wall jumping and an abundance of saw-blades there are a few key differences between the two. Levels in Rude Bear are often much longer with checkpoints plastered throughout. Most areas contain multiple pathways through them and secret exits that lead to new worlds, bringing back memories of 2D Sonic games as well as the newer Donkey Kong Country games. What really sets Rude Bear apart from the rest, however, is how it treats player death.
In most extreme platformers you die in one hit and start over from the beginning. You keep rushing and tackling the challenge, like a bull running towards a red cloth, until you manage to clear it. Super Meat Boy tried to help this process along by showing you your exact movement in previous attempts so that you know what worked and what did not, but Rude Bear has a far better approach to this. When Rude Bear dies, his corpse is actually left behind and acts as its own separate object. What this means is that if you fell into a pit of spikes and died, your corpse now acts as a platform so that if you fall down again you can save yourself. This mechanic sounds simple but the way it impacts player progression is astounding. Blown up by a missile? Use your corpse as a shield next time and push your way through. A wall of spikes with a secret at the top? Kill yourself and create a stairway of bodies to reach new heights. It may sound gruesome but with this method, even the most casual of players won’t get left behind. The more times a player gets stuck in a section and dies the easier it becomes to advance. And if the corpses get too much then you can always delete them using your fairy companion, so you’ll never get stuck.
The corpse mechanic is truly genius but what adds the cherry on top of this is how everything is optional. If you want to play this game as hard as you can and don’t want this sliding difficulty then turn it off. The game comes with a whole slew of difficulty options that change certain mechanics in the game, like removing checkpoints and corpses, so that you can play the game how you want. There are also plenty of challenges in this title as well from time trials to no death runs. There are also various collectables that lead to even more stages which means you get a ton of content in this little indie package.
Overall the gameplay feels polished, refreshing and gives enough variety to keep players occupied for a long time. It also controls well, at least with a gamepad. I was not a huge fan of the keyboard and mouse controls and while these are customizable, I found using an Xbox controller to be the go-to method of playing.
Super Rude Bear Resurrection is a 2D platformer but unlike most, it forgoes the use of old school sprites to something more hand-drawn. Each of the game’s sprites looks like something created by a pen rather than a mouse which is a nice change. The art style of the game goes for something more dark and disturbed, less Mega Man or Sonic and more Devil May Cry or Eternal Darkness, with stage variety from castles and factories to hell itself. All of this is wrapped in an East London street vibe with quirky dialogue that you might find in films like Attack the Block or Adulthood.
The game’s music is going to be decisive for sure. It certainly fits the games feel but the grunge and heavy beats you might find in a rap song won’t appeal to everyone. Eventually, I found myself listening to my own stuff while playing (and the game has a volume slider to make that easy) but this is purely due to my own tastes in music. We are not at Yoshi’s New Island level of objectively bad music, some of you may very well like the music in Super Rude Bear. To each their own.
Super Rude Bear Resurrection was the culmination of three years of hard-but-dedicated work and passion and it truly shows. While the game can be frustrating at times and the music isn’t for everyone, the gameplay is challenging and the level design always keeps players on their toes. The corpse mechanic is one of the freshest ideas I have seen in an ultra-hard platformer allowing a new kind of openness that appeals to all players. The game is currently available on Steam, Xbox One and Playstation 4 but in Source Gaming’s exclusive interview (out later today) you can find out if the game may also be gracing Nintendo platforms in the near future. Regardless of that cheeky plug, this game is one of the better indie games I have played this year, even better than some games from big developers, Nintendo included. If you all get the chance I highly recommend getting down and dead with the Rudest Bear in gaming.