A great premise is always a good way to begin. Naughty Bear has that: Set in the nursery rhyme world of the Teddy Bears, you play as the titular character. Naughty, after being snubbed one too many times by the other teddies, decides to exact revenge. Laying traps, finding blunt objects to smash with and other methods of gruesome vengeance are just the beginning.
Quite the potential for a “subversive, jokey action game” as cnet states.
The core gameplay mechanics are fine, but repetitive and fairly unpolished. The controls do what they need to, without any true finesse. The sunny, brightly colored graphics fit the game’s sensibilities and setting, as do the roly-poly teddy models. The level of detail shown in many of the Naughty Bear‘s clever parody trailers (Alien, The Ring, Jaws, and Blair Witch) and promotional imagery never materializes, though. Occasionally, you may also notice frame-rate stutters. The sounds are appropriately cutesy for the other bears, and syrupy for the world of Perfection Island. The announcer is just the right level of creepily cheerful, announcing every single “NAUGHTY COMBO!” and “IT’S NAUGHTY TIME!!!!” and such.
Unfortunately, the camera refuses to let you position it where you want and constantly swings back behind your character. Which means, as you back into the shrubbery to lay a trap for an unsuspecting teddy, you can’t see what you’re doing.
Missions in the game have various objectives, from destroying the gifts the other bears received for their birthday to beating the other bears senseless without letting any of them call the Bear Police. The violence is over-the-top, allowing you to stuff a bear’s head into a BBQ grill or slice him open with an axe and rip out his stuffing. The ability to sneak up on the other bears and scare them to increase your naughty points is a nice touch and also makes for some amusing combo moves.
I really wanted to like Naughty Bear. The potential for a darkly funny gem with such an anti-hero as Naughty was very high. Ultimately for me, though, the game doesn’t deliver. Though the game can actually be fun, if you take it in short sessions: more like a therapeutic session of vengeful destruction than a long gaming marathon.