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iPhone  header logo

Battle Bears -1

For: iPhone

Hug at first sight

Product: Battle Bears -1 | Publisher: Skyvu Pictures | Developer: Skyvu Pictures | Format: iPhone | Genre: 3D, Shooter | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
 
Battle Bears -1 iPhone, thumbnail 1
If you're a deep chap such as I, then the Battle Bears franchise – now three games strong – appeals as the ultimate celebration of bachelorism.

It's a game where you're handed a gun and tasked with fighting off leagues of cute and cuddly cretins eager for physical contact leading to your own suffocation.

This time, however, not only are the bears on the loose, but so are you.

While the original title was a fixed shooter, Battle Bears -1 – set before the first game, hence the title – hands you the power of movement. As such, by allowing you to wander the halls while firing upon your fluffy foe, Battle Bears -1 pitches itself as a full on first-person shooer – a mistake if ever there was one.

It's a set-up that falls apart because everything else remains almost identical to the first, fixed release.

Full of fluff

Your priority remains fighting off a batch of teddy bears as they bound around looking for hugs. Any such contact brings about your demise, so taking them down before they have a chance to invade your space is priority number one.

Movement is handled via a virtual analogue stick on the left, while both firing and aiming – in the game's default setup, at least – is assigned to a pad on the right.

Of course, this means every time you change direction you also fire your weapon. The only way to eradicate stray bullets, in fact, is to hit a safety button in the centre – a somewhat lazy approach that never really gels with gameplay that barely gives you a second to think.

Trying teddies

Although there is a separate, dedicated Survival mode, the whole of Battle Bears -1 is essentially about lasting as long as you can. The bears, which initially pop up in an easily dispensable shade of putrid purple, gradually become more resilient, with new varieties of all sizes and colours requiring more and more gunfire to be put down.

Retaining the ability to do so relies on the picking up of power-ups and health packs they drop when floored. Both weapons and protective shields are available in spades, but neither do much to enhance what is overly familiar gameplay.

That's because for some bizarre reason your newfound freedom is never actually realised. While you can move around at will from beginning to end, the rooms you wander are largely identical and ultimately plain in nature, meaning the potential sense of exploration that could have greeted this prequel is simply not there.

-1 out of 10?

As such, it's hard to view Battle Bears -1 as much more than a gimmick: an extension of an admittedly entertaining if ultimately limited lighthearted release pushed beyond its means.

If SkyVu Pictures had taken it upon itself to reflect the game's superficially fresh approach in the gameplay itself, then it's probably this one-trick pony would have withstood a third run. Only the game's numerous nods to classic film franchises in the cutscenes that sandwich play are worth shelling out for here.

Battle Bears -1 is a game that falls between two stools. By letting you wander it raises your expectations, but they're easily brought back down by the repetitive action.
 
Battle Bears -1
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 5 July 2010
Too similar to the fluffy one's previous outings, Battle Bears -1 consists of overly familiar, repetetive gameplay in a sterile setting
 
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