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A Month Full of Indies Week Three: ‘Astro Bears Party’ Review

The way I see it, there are three types of party games: those that rely on skill, those that rely on luck, and those that split the difference. Astro Bears Party, a four-player, 3D Snake clone takes the first approach to this dilemma, ditching luck altogether in favor of relying on player skill. Despite some small issues, the result is a fun, engaging party game that punches high above its $4.99 price tag and is a must-have for any multiplayer-focused Switch owners.

Not Much Here, But It Works

There’s not much to Astro Bears Party: a high-score mode and multiplayer. That’s it.

But, what’s there works really well.

Despite being a multiplayer clone of Snake, Astro Bears Party puts some interesting twists on the formula. Set on a rotating 3D planetoid instead of a flat 2D plane, Astro Bears Party introduces jumping, floating, and boosting to the game, making a simple format much more dynamic in the process. These additions allow players to maneuver around in ways that classic Snake usually doesn’t, and the game’s all the better for it.  

Each player (up to four) picks from one of four different bears. From the fast, tight-turning Xiaoli to the plodding Igor, each character feels totally different, something that’s not always apparent with games at this price point. It’s initially a little difficult to understand what each one of the bears’ stats mean, but after a few games, it’s easy to find which bear fits your play style best.

This all feeds into an engaging gameplay loop. Running, jumping, floating, and boosting your way around your opponent’s trails is a blast, especially with the difficulty ramping up as each round progresses and more characters leave behind trails of their own. Being backed into a corner and skillfully finding your way out of it is one of my favorite things about Astro Bears Party.

It’s not particularly deep gameplay-wise, the framerate can dip occasionally, and the scoring system can feel unfair at times, but Astro Bears Party is one of those games that’s fun with gamers and non-gamers alike, a very impressive attribute given its diminutive price tag.

Conclusions

Over already? Yep, this review is short, sweet, and to the point, just like Astro Bears Party. In an industry where games are getting bigger and more expensive with each passing entry, I’m glad to see that there are still some games committed to taking a concept, executing it, innovating a bit, and then calling it a day; and, that’s exactly what Astro Bears Party does.

Is it the most engaging experience out there? Nope. But, does it provide an incredible amount of short-burst entertainment as a palate cleanser between rounds of a more varied multiplayer experience, like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? You bet it does. 

For $5 or below, Astro Bears Party is a steal. I feel no shame in giving it my full recommendation to those looking for a great short-burst multiplayer game. It’s just plain fun.

[penci_review id=”150144″]

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