Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise starts out with all the bears from the previous title making their way to a resort to relax and have fun. But as usual they’ve forgotten to invite Naughty Bear. But not to fear, Naughty Bear hitches a ride and plans to ruin their fun by killing them all in various sadistic ways.
If you haven’t already worked out what layout and plot of the game, you play as an angry bear who is set on revenge for being excluded from all the various activities the other bears around him are taking part in. As you start out you will find the game throws you right into the action with a hit list of bears and challenges.
As you enter the resort you will find that unlike the previous game, this one has grown and gives you a lot more variety in how you play, where you play and how you deal with your hit list. So how does the game add up?, does Naughty go to the woods and walk away with victory, or does he find himself stuck in a rut?
The games audio is very fitting, you will hear various melodies as you make your way around the island from music playing in the environment. That’s until you start your massacre and hear nothing but screaming bears running around trying to avoid your evil intent. The music does become monotonous at times, but all the sound effects fit the game. The one thing that really stood out to my experience is the narration. I find these section fitting for the small introductions but they start to wear when they pop up with every tutorial and various other parts of the game. If you run near an item that can be used for kill a bear with, you will be bombarded with an extensive speech about how you these items would be perfect to butcher your prey with.
These narrations are fine as an introduction, but I’d rather experience and explore the game levels on my own without being bombarded with audio ques every time I get near unique kill items in the levels. I find that this takes away from the experience and exploration of the game and finding your own unique ways to play.
Visually the game has an interesting cartoon style which fits in perfectly with the whole fantasy world of stuffed bears coming to life. Then one bear going on a sadistic murder run to get payback for excluding him. The graphics and visuals are interesting and very fitting, but there are a lot of issues with frame rate and assets popping in and out as you move around the island. It seems odd that there are such issues as you only have access to small sections of the island to begin with. Even though these issues are there, they shouldn’t distract you enough from your main objective, killing the other bears.
There’s not much to the story of Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise, but there doesn’t need to be much of a story when your main goal is to brutally murder a group of bears. You will find out your main objective from the get go, and that you’ve managed to sneak into the resort while holding onto the bottom of the bus. Aside from this there’s not much of a story to comment on, but there are short stories behind each bear, and why they need to be punished. These small snippets give you some story to read or listen to.
As you start out, the game explains a lot to you, but there is more to the game than just killing bears. You’re given various challenges, weapons, costumes and a whole character progression system. Everything you do in the game will rewards you with money, points and xp which will allow you to progress through your character skill tree. You will also progress and master your weapons and costumes as you wear and use them.
With every area and mission you head out on, your objective is simple, kill every single bear and complete as many challenges as you can. This may seem fairly simple, which it is, but if you want to earn the most rewards you will need to work out the best way to kill your foes using the environment or by scaring them to kill themselves.
Even though this seems like a simple task, you’re also given a set few challenges to complete to earn extra points, and you’re also given a set objective to kill your main target in a certain way. Doing so will reward you with extras and progression towards your next target. The gameplay is simple but does become monotonous as you will have to perform a lot of the same actions over-and-over as you progress through the rather extensive list of areas and hit list targets.
Even though you will find yourself doing the same things to earn big points, the character progression opens up a whole set of new abilities and skills that you can use. Each new area you enter has new environmental hazards and weapons, as well as different enemy bear types, so there are always elements that change, just don’t expect the gameplay to change drastically to make the game feel fresh once you’ve completed more than 10 or more missions.
One thing that this title could really do with an update on is the controls. They feel slow, stiff and oddly unresponsive at times when they shouldn’t. This can be tedious when you’re trying to interact with an object or bear and the options won’t appear. This does happen on a fairly regular basis, but if you enjoy the game, you will adapt to how the controls function.
Even though the controls are a little iffy, the game has come a long way since the first release. There’s far more variety in what you need to do, and you’re not limited to one area.
Panic in Paradise has a lot to offer for the price. This may not be the game for everyone, but it’s a vast improvement over the first game. It gives you a huge selection of weapons and varied kills unlike the previous game. However, this title suffers the same issues as the first game, it can become extremely repetitive if you’re playing for extended periods of time.
Even though the game has a lot of repetitive elements, it offers a lot of content for the money. There are very few arcade titles out there that will offer you the same amount of content for the price, but you will need to take a gamble. This is worth checking out, but it’s not for everyone. So if you’re interested in games with lots of challenges, and just want to take your aggression out on a group of stuffed bears, check out Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise.