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Hands On: Bug Academy

Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

Bug Academy is an entertaining, wacky simulation that, in its current state, delivers wacky fun. There are only a few levels at the moment, but its trajectory makes this release rather promising. The style of this title makes it difficult to know who not to recommend this to — it’s just one of those that you take a glance at and think, “Yeah, I’d play this.”

A quick, concise tutorial introduces you to the controls and mechanics, while the other levels require you to apply what you've learned. The available levels offer some variety as far as environments go, but most require you to find a particular item and place it somewhere else. The Tower level provides a trickier challenge: You must stack blocks of varying sizes and have your tower reach a certain height. It sounds straightforward, but the physics make this somewhat a daunting task.

FLIES, FIREFLIES, AND BEES

You control insects — sometimes many of them at one time. Most of the levels allow you to control flies, yet one includes fireflies. At some point, bees will be made available. The swarm mechanic ensures that your group of insects stays together as much as possible. But, objects can get in the way, making careful placements daunting, particularly if one of your insects finds itself underneath an object, which may ruin an arrangement in the Tower’s challenge. Observing how an object behaves while also noting the placements of your insects on that object helps. The physics are mostly predictable, but the couches in the Fridge Delivery level behave erratically.

Currently, there’s no reward for completing a level, but this feature is planned for the future, according to its Kickstarter page. Apparently the plan is that your bugs will receive an evaluation based on how tall of a tower you built, how fast you extinguished fires, and so on. And, your time training your bugs in these classes accumulates in a final test.

The Tower is the level that retains the most fun and replayability. It perhaps has the most objects you can pick up and move. Of course, it’s enjoyable to bust through houses and bridges in Fridge Delivery. If you’re feeling destructive, pick up a piece of furniture and throw it at a building to watch the walls crumble. (I wonder if there’ll ever be a level-editor feature implemented?)

The Verdict

Even though this title is in its early stages, the gameplay already feels polished; the trajectory is quite promising. I’m unsure exactly what attracted me to Bug Academy. It has a playful charm that might initially seem childish, but this style likely won’t deter a potential player. It’s not set to release until late 2019, but I’m looking forward to its launch.

Chris Hubbard
Written by
Friday, 08 February 2019 06:00
Published in Editorial

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A fan of RPGs above other genres, Chris has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. Some of the games that had the most influence on his gaming preferences have been the Final Fantasy and the Diablo series. More recently, most of Chris' gaming time has been going toward Gems of War and Clicker Heroes (give it a try, it can be addicting), along with open-world RPGs such as Skyrim and ESO. He's also dabbled with RPG Maker software, and it is a goal of his to someday create an RPG.

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