Bear With Me: Episode One has been pretty much an obsession for me. I’ve had rocky experiences with point and click adventure games over the years. Some are so simple it’s not even fun, then some are masochistically hard from making no logical sense. Why would kicking over a rock in the garden, causing you to stumble back, fall into the pool so that the sun can bounce off the waves, and that somehow blinds the cat causing him to jump from his perch on top the coat rack and brush the lock on the door to open it? Only a bleeding tosspot could think of something that ridiculous as a puzzle. Which is sadly how I get my cat to open my door when I locked my keys in the house. Bear With Me is thankfully the opposite of that. The game has a very sweet charm too; it reminds me of Portal in a way. The writing is simply great and filled with clever puns and likable characters.
Bear With Me as a whole has a horror/thriller aspect to it. Amber is troubled by nightmares and waking up one night to discover her brother is missing and a mysterious figure known only as the “Red Man” has been setting fires to the city. Exordium Games really did well capturing the noir style of those old detective films. I really love the dynamic between Amber and Ted E. Bear, a detective whose office is in her closet. You get the sense that Amber doesn’t know her real dad and Ted has filled that role. They’re always there for one another even if they haven’t always got along.
This world has a surreal dreamlike structure to it. Take, for instance, Millie. She is an elderly giraffe who is almost like a caretaker or grandmother to Amber. In the section of Bear With Me where you play as the Red Man sneaking out of the apartment when you get to Amber’s room, you can either escape through the window or sinisterly murder the sleeping Millie. When you come back into the room as Amber you see a mangled stuffed animal. Millie was just a figment of Amber’s imagination gone wild, but there is still a mangled stuffed animal which is alarming. Which makes you wonder if this is all a fantasy story in a little girl's head or something much worse. There is no clear distinction. At least not in the first episode.
Bear With Me does lean a little more towards the modern narrative driven type of point and click than the older ones. I never really got stumped or had to click every single part of my screen to test what item in my inventory worked on what was in the background to move the game forward. Sometimes it is a little iffy on which order you use when having to combine inventory items to craft a new one.
Bear With Me — Official Trailer
With Bear With Me being an episodic game I have only had the pleasure of playing the first episode I am highly confident episode two will be just as good if not better than episode one. I cannot guarantee that statement just yet though. With all that said I still highly recommend Bear With Me to everyone. You can pick it up on Steam or the Humble store for only $4.99. The art style is wonderful. The soundtrack is atmospheric. Exordium Games have really outdone themselves this time and I am really looking forward to playing and reviewing episode two.