Whilst Climbatic was my “personal favourite”, Bear Go Home is so beautiful to see in action that you have to be a complete bastard not to want it to succeed.
Created by Chinese entrants, Bear Go Home has a very distinctive look that can only be compared to Locoroco. A charming 2D world can be seen over undulating landscapes complete with swirling floral and crisply defined characters. Through this world walks Bear, a rather rotund 3D inhabitant, in search of his home.
Not content with looking quite different from most other things available today, it also handles very differently as you control Bear by pointing and prodding him directly. If you want him to jump you squish him and then release to make him bounce back and up. You can speed him up by snapping his tail to urge him on and combining both will make him fly for a short distance. Bonus fruit can also be collected through the levels but to do so you must hold open Bear’s jaw for him and stretch it out in front.
Bear will carry on regardless once set in motion and so it is up to you to prevent harm coming to him. Basic enemies can be dispatched by clicking on them or jumping over them but there can be trickier opponents. To help you, you have access to a selection of bonus items including an umbrella and magic wand. The umbrella will shield him from harm as you flourish it about the screen and the wand can transform Bear into an invulnerable form, represented by him turning into a Panda for a short while.
The boss fights that were included saw you fight a spidery creature as you happened upon his lair and a demon creature barring your exit from said lair. In the first you were asked to place an association game, linking icons that the boss thought of to a selection of your own thoughts. The second was far more action orientated as you had to protect Bear against a horde of bats whilst at the same time attempting to dispatch the demon through hasty clicks.
The mechanics as a whole are not too dissimilar from Kirby’s Magic Paint Brush on the DS where you could merely help the pink blob along rather than control him directly. As with that game, I can see Bear Go Home being the perfect fit for Nintendo’s handheld and the tactile interface would do wonders for the game.
Initially hard to pick up, it won me over with its simple concept that is executed supremely well. As with Airborne, though, I worry for its commercial clout; if this could find a home on the DS the world would love it but if it were sent out on anything else it could be ignored, or even worse, scare casual gamers off due to its quirky style.