Bear With Me: The Lost Robots tells a straightforward story adjacent to the main game, but is still worthwhile for its humor, writing, and puzzles.
Over the course of three episodes released across 2016 and 2017, Bear With Me transported players to an imaginative world of black and white film noir aesthetics, talking teddy bears, grisly murders, and deep-rooted psychological trauma. Wrapped in a shell familiar to fans of the LucasArts adventure games of yore, Bear With Me won over audiences with its mix of humor, drama, and child-like imagination.
Developed by the talented Croatian dev team at Exordium Games, Bear With Me is finally making the leap to consoles alongside a brand new chapter in the story, The Lost Robots. The original Bear With Me story is unchanged in this port, but the new expansion makes for an accessible entrypoint for newcomers to the game, or a bittersweet farewell to longtime fans of the misadventures of Theodore Edward Bear – better known as Ted E. Bear – and his friends.
Unlike the original game, in which players took control of Amber, the expansion features her brother, Flint as the lead character, working alongside Ted, a grizzled alcoholic teddy bear private detective still recovering from being shot in the head by a jilted lover. This time around, the story is much more straightforward than the original, with none of the surreal elements which helped Bear With Me transcend its own aesthetics. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, in this case, since The Lost Robots has a lot of momentum in its three-to-four-hour story. The tale starts off cold, with no real explanation given for the sudden intro, though precious context is delivered as the narrative moves on, revealing the depths of its characters and the truth behind Flint’s unexpected excursion into Paper City.
The gameplay in The Lost Robots is strongly reminiscent of classics like The Secret of Monkey Island, but much more streamlined. While there are a couple of brain teasers to be found, most of the puzzles in The Lost Robots can be completed with a bit of common sense and a general knack for exploring and seeking items of interest. Hardcore puzzle fans might be disappointed by the lack of difficulty, but there is certainly some fun to be had, particularly when plugging in colored wires (in an entirely black and white game world, natch) to turn on a busted machine, or when mixing drinks for a pair of loose-lipped fish gangsters.
Ultimately, the puzzles and action in The Lost Robots is, more than anything, a means to an end to get to the storytelling and dialogue. Though the voice acting is often flat and uninspired, the dialogue itself is utterly captivating, if a bit stilted, like it was hastily translated from Croatian (for a drinking game, take a shot every time Ted repeats the same GD swear word every time). As Flint and Ted try to uncover the truth behind a spate of robot disappearances in Paper City, the interactions between characters reveal themselves to be frequently hilarious, full of intimate drama, and uncomfortably intense, sometimes all at once. The story itself balances its inherent absurdity with heartfelt emotion, and the whole “film noir teddy bear” angle never feels like a tacked-on gimmick. Throw in a healthy splash of morbid black comedy, and the final result is wholly unlike anything else on the market right now.
Back in the golden age of the adventure genre, top-tier titles were a dime a dozen. These days, worthwhile entries in the wilted genre are few and far between, and are usually remasters or spiritual successors to timeless classics. While Bear With Me: The Lost Robots certainly wears its influence on its sleeve, it still feels unique and manages to stand out from its peers.
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Bear With Me: The Lost Robots is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC for $4.99. Bear With Me: The Complete Collection contains this expansion, as well as the previous three episode of the original Bear With Me game. This version retails for $14.99. Screen Rant was provided a PlayStation 4 digital copy of The Lost Robots by publisher Modus Games.