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Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . If you're looking for the positives, know that The Woolies Strike Back is nowhere near the train wreck that was Bubsy 3D. It generally controls well and the brand new look is okay, but this new Bubsy game never bothers to justify its existence. The levels are bland, the gameplay is shallow and there's absolutely nothing memorable about the experience. Why bother bringing Bubsy back if this is what you're going to do with him? Rating: 40%
Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back
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Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back
  • Review Score:

  • C-
Okay, we need to talk about Bubsy. I don't know how it happened, but this early 1990s bobcat somehow went from being a second-tier mascot character to the postercat for everything wrong with old school platformers. The truth is, Bubsy was generally well liked back in the day. I mean, he wasn't in the same league as Sonic and Mario, but the first game received strong reviews for the most part and consumers seemed open to the idea of it becoming a franchise. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to say the same thing about Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back. It's a poorly executed revival that never bothers to justify its existence, and I can't imagine there will be many gamers demanding more installments. But in the spirit of starting things off on a positive note, I can definitively confirm that Accolade's latest effort is a big step up from Bubsy 3D.

I want to see Bubsy succeed. I may not have been a huge fan of the old 16-bit games, but I do feel like the sands of time have done the bobcat wrong. How great of a story would it be if, after all these years, Bubsy returned with a killer new game that made all the haters eat their words? But that didn't happen. The Woolies Strike Back feels every bit as unnecessary and dated as people feared.


There's a story here, but don't blink or you might miss it. Apparently the Woolies have stolen Bubsy's prized yarn ball, so he's off to run and jump through ten straight-forward platforming stages to get it back. If I'm being honest, I have no idea what their plan is. The game never bothers to fill in the details, so I'm left to assume that the Woolies are back to steal Earth's supply of yarn balls for one reason or another. Either way, it sets up an aggressively dull journey through three slightly different looking locations.

Much like the old 16-bit games, Bubsy doesn't know very many tricks. Beyond the typical jump, he's pretty much limited to gliding through the air and pouncing forward. The pounce move is new and allows you to defeat the alien enemies in more ways than simply jumping on their heads. You can also break rocks with the pounce move, something that comes into play in later levels. While I like this new move in theory, I found that it wasn't as useful as it could have been. He pounces a little too high up in the air, so I ended up spending more time jumping over enemies than smashing them.

Of course, the real problem with The Woolies Strike Back has little to do with the gameplay. In fact, I would probably make the argument that this is the best playing Bubsy game yet, though that's damning with faint praise. No, the real problem is that every aspect of the game is completely forgettable. Not necessarily terrible, but also not noteworthy in any way. It's just there.

Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

That's a shame, because there probably is a way to make Bubsy the Bobcat relevant for the 2017. This just ends up being a painfully generic platformer with nothing new or interesting to say. Hell, they don't even bother with a story. In fact, it barely feels like a Bubsy game. If you told me that this started its life as an original IP before violently shoving a known mascot into the game, chances are good I would believe you.

The old school Bubsy games weren't like that. Sure, they weren't exactly known for having memorable level designs, but at least you got to ride on a train, go to the carnival and climb a giant tree. And that's just in the first game. Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tales had stages based on Alice the Wonderland and Jack and the Beanstalk. There's nothing even remotely that interesting in The Woolies Strike Back, and that's a problem. We get the usual grassy village, a mountainous desert area and then an outer space level where we're stuck on the alien's ship. None of these are particularly original or creative, and the whole thing will take you no more than 90 minutes to complete.

To be fair to the developers, they have given us multiple tasks to complete in each of the stages. Most of them revolve around beating the level without dying and collecting enough keys to open up a locker full of yarn balls. The problem is that there's no incentive to do any of this. You're not unlocking new items or changing the game in any way, so you'll probably spend most of your time just looking for the exit. Everything else feels like an afterthought.

Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

It's also worth mentioning that the bosses are terrible. They all look the same, even though they have different attacks in the three iterations. Much like everything else in this game, I doubt I'll remember what they look like when I'm reminded this game exists a few months from now.

If you're looking for the positives, know that The Woolies Strike Back is nowhere near the train wreck that was Bubsy 3D. It generally controls well and the brand new look is okay, but this new Bubsy game never bothers to justify its existence. The levels are bland, the gameplay is shallow and there's absolutely nothing memorable about the experience. Why bother bringing Bubsy back if this is what you're going to do with him?
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