Sneaky Bears Review (HTC Vive)
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.
In September Sneaky Bears made it’s way onto Playstation VR, and I got to review it (read that review here). Now it is coming to the HTC Vive on 17 October. So, have Warducks made some improvements over the game they released on the Playstation VR?
Please note: Some aspects of the review will be copied from the Playstation VR review, because some parts have just not changed.
Sneaky Bears does come with a story. You play a faceless character as you try to take out the star of the game Frank. As mentioned Frank is a teddy gone evil and he has taken over a toy factory with an army of teddies, aiming to take over the world. You are introduced and tasked by a friendly teddy named Buddy to stop him using a set of toy guns – a simple premise, but, one that works.
Gameplay wise, you get what you would expect from a static wave based shooter. The game does try to mix it up a little by giving you a few different types of guns that are needed for set tasks on set the modes offered. You get a standard you pistol that can take out any enemy, a toy shotgun which is used to remove the wooden shields of the larger enemies and to take out enemies, a water pistol to put out fires, and lastly an ice gun. As well as the standard enemies you will get targets that show up, hit these are gain extra points for the leader board. Also some teddies will fire plastic bottles at you, these will need shooting out the sky as well. The reason you have to shoot them is were some VR shooters offer a dodge option, there is no dodging in the game, so you have to be prepared and fast on the trigger.
The game only offers a single player mode, which is broken down into three modes. The first one is Survival mode. In this mode you are given the standard pistol and the shotgun. The standard pistol comes with 10 bullets and the shotgun only holds 2 rounds. Again meaning you have to think fast and aim accurately as the swarms gets bigger and stronger. The second mode is Fire mode, this is where the water pistol comes into play. This will see your shotgun switched out for the water pistol, but this gun can not deal any damage to your enemies. Leave the fires for too long and you will choke to death, so you have to take notice of them – meaning you will have to be aware of everything around you, and causes a lot arm crossing as you put out fires and take out enemies on the opposite sides. The last mode is Bomb mode, this is where your ice gun comes into the game. In Bomb mode you have a group of friendly teddies in the middle of the screen with conveyor belts either side which the bombs will travel down. Your job is to disarm these with ice gun (again in place of the shotgun), the only difference between the ice gun and the water pistol is, your ice gun can be used against your enemies.
Visually the game has seen some improvements over the Playstation VR version, but I am not sure if this just due the extra quality the HTC Vive offers. However, the factory setting still seems bland and doesn’t really make for a setting that will make you go WOW! – although it does keep the action and enemies visible. I would like to add this point, despite the bland setting it does keep your attention and you immersed while playing. But, the only time I found the immersion taken away was when the enemies get close they seem to hit a barrier around you – where personally I feel them getting right in your face would have made for better immersion. As with the visuals the audio in the game can also seem a little bland, when it comes to the sound effects and music. Then you will find the audio is saved by the voice acting for both Buddy (your helper) and especially by Frank (the main enemy). He really does help the game with his humorous dialogue, which is very reminiscent of Stewie Griffin (Family Guy).
As you would expect with the Vive, the game is played using both the Vive Controllers – and as a static shooter each controller is for the corresponding hand. You will only find yourself using two buttons, the touchpad needs to be pressed/held in to hold your weapon and the trigger to shoot. Where Sneaky Bears differs for other wave based shooter, is you do not reload your weapon – with them being toy guns. Instead you will just release the touchpad to let go of the gun and then get a new one from the utility belt around your waist. But, dropping the weapon is not its only use, if you throw the weapon and it hits an enemy it will stun them for a brief time, making them easier to take out. This is the only place I found the Vive to show some improvement in the controls. When throwing the weapons it seemed more responsive, which is likely down to the room scale for tracking.
As with the Playstation VR version the game took me about an hour to get through the five levels on each mode, and the boss fight. As previously mentioned the game is only single player, there is direct online mode. But, the HTC Vive version is launching with online leader-boards – something that was lacking on the Playstation VR. Meaning if you’re a fan of topping leader-boards you will now have a reason to re-visit the game, and not having to rely on someone playing it your own household. It is great to see Warducks took on the feedback received from the Playstation VR version, and have acted on bring this for the launch of the HTC Vive version.
I have been provided the information from Warducks that the Playstation VR version will be receiving an update to bring online leader-boards to that version in the future.