Bubsy the Bobcat is an old gaming mascot that always felt like the bare bones minimum of gaming mascots back in the 1990s. Nothing exemplifies this minimum effort more now than his latest game, Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back. Though it’s a return to the talking bobcat’s roots as a traditional platformer, Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back is both generic and forgettable in almost every way. What can possibly go wrong here? Anything and everything you can think of.
The biggest issue with Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back is how basic and boring it is to play through. While there is small amount of challenge in later sections of the game, everything else lacks any sense of real accomplishment as you progress through each stage. You jump and glide your way through levels collecting balls of yarn, black t-shirts, and keys to unlock a door at the end of each stage; but there’s no real reward for going through the trouble to do so.
It gets repetitive and boring very fast, with only a few boss fights in certain stages to break up the monotony. You’re given a rating as you complete a stage based on your performance, but rather than having any sort of significant meaning, it comes off as random and unnecessary.
Controlling Bubsy in each stage can sometimes feel good, until you become faced with sections that require precise timing and jumps. There’s a mild floatiness to Bubsy’s movement when running around on the ground and jumping between platforms, which becomes even more so when you need to make consecutive jumps off multiple enemies.
The gliding ability that Bubsy has from the beginning acts as both a double-jump and gliding technique, which can be inconsistently useful in most stages where it becomes necessary to use frequently. The same goes for the pounce attack that Bubsy can do when attacking enemies or clearing out breakable barriers.
If there’s one thing that most players will dislike about Bubsy throughout the entire game, it’s his frequent quotes and one-liners. Nothing that Bubsy says during gameplay is either funny or interesting, but it also becomes repetitive and annoying when you hear the same phrases multiple times in a stage. Paired with a soundtrack that is boring and forgettable, and you have a combination of frustration and irritation throughout the whole experience.
You can turn off the one-liners from Bubsy in the pause menu, but then you’ll have an even more generic game that lacks any personality whatsoever. Unlike other mascots like Mario, Sonic, and others that Bubsy tries to emulate, there’s nothing likeable to connect with about Bubsy’s as a character.
Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back is as basic as you can get with a platformer nowadays. It’s a short and forgettable experience with an archaic approach to game design that is better left back in the 90s. Unfortunately, Bubsy doesn’t have enough to offer everyone over other platformers with more interesting things going on. It’s hard to be nostalgic over something that wasn’t very good back then, let alone not very good right now.
This review was based on a digital review code for Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back on the PlayStation 4, provided by Accolade.