The Lost Bear is the latest game to hit PlayStation VR, and it’s unlike anything else…It’s a side scrolling platform game, of all things, but don’t let that put you off checking out this rough diamond.
The Lost Bear is an utterly charming side scrolling platformer but presented in a different way to what you’re used to thanks to the extra dimension of the PlayStation VR system. Essentially, you are sitting in a chair in the middle of a forest looking at a theatre show and in that theatre is where the action takes place. If you of think a dark and somber Paper Mario, you’ll get a good idea of the feel of the game. The good thing about the VR here is you’re surrounded by an extension of what is playing out on the theatre in front of you. For example, if you’re walking through the forest and leaves drop and fly around in the wind, there will be leaves gently floating around you. If there are fireflies in the level then you’ll be surrounded by fireflies. It does help immerse you in the world but adds little to the actual game play. There are however some moments that use the DualShock 4 to control certain elements in the game, utilizing the pad’s motion controls and light bar to good effect. One highlight was the DualShock 4 turned into a torch which you need to shine on the stage to highlight the path through the level. It’s clever little touches like that that really makes you feel like you’re sitting watching a show.
The Lost Bear’s gameplay consists of very basic platforming elements and rudimentary puzzles to solve. That being said, the game isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are plenty of aspects that require absolute perfect timing as it’s easy to mess up in some spots, falling to your death which leads to the game’s most annoying aspect – long loading times. There are times when you have to get the timing literally better than perfect or else you’ll find yourself dying over and over. Then you have to endure the 15-20 second loading times before you can start again. At times it was a case of seeing the load screen more than you were the actual game screen. There are also a few occasions where there was a lot of trial and error as opposed to well designed gameplay elements which feels a bit cheap and lets down what is overall a solid enjoyable platforming experience. Puzzles are relatively simple and are solved using the DualShock’s motion controls by ‘placing’ your controller into a unit which then turns it into a crank wheel or some levers which surprising feels very satisfying and not floaty at all. Other puzzles are solved by using the characters only weapon, a simple slingshot. They are all relatively easy to solve and shouldn’t cause you too much of a headache. Overall I love the old school feel to the platforming, especially the forced scrolling levels where you have to panic run and jump for your life.
The Lost Bear is also a very short game. It clocks in at around over an hour with the story being just as brief. You play as a little girl whos teddy gets stolen by a spider like creature. While chasing your lost bear you’ll come across some strange and rather creepy mechanical beasts and a strange spider-wolf hybrid creature called “The Snatcher” who pursues you through the second part of the game. Thankfully, to help you along the way you make friends with a big bear creature who you release from a trap…or something. It’s never really made clear, and just sort of happens. I’m not sure if the title The Lost Bear refers to your quest to find your stuffed toy, or that the spider creature who stole your prized possession actually guides you to free the “lost bear” you meet, befriend and free. It’s hard to tell. But I guess you can take it as you like. I chose to take it as the spider guides you to a lost bear who you save. Sounds better that way.
The Lost Bear is a strange game to review. The platforming is basic and it’s let down by few annoying cheap deaths. The VR doesn’t really add to the gameplay, but does however gloriously engulf you in the experience. The story is lacks depth, it only lasts an hour, costs £10 and has some annoying load time but I can’t help but fall in love with The Lost Bear. The old fashioned gameplay, the beautiful graphics and soothing music soon wins you over. Despite the few flaws, once you’ve completed it, you’re left with pleasant memories of a wonderful game. It certainly deserves a place in your collection of VR titles.
The Lost Bear is available now on PlayStation VR (review version)
Disclaimer: We recieved a copy of The Lost Bear from publisher Odd Bug in order to complete this review. For more information, please see our review policy.