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About the Story
Your owner is in danger. They must be protected.
46th place - 27th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2021)
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Brave Bear is a short and sweet little game about a teddy bear who senses their owner's terror. It's not perfect, and in fact, there do seem to be cracks in the world-logic. But I ignored them the first time through, and it wasn't until I read some other reviews that I said "Yeah, I noticed that, but..." So I'll save the faults until the end, because it's a nice game to just enjoy and not worry about its imperfections. Also, I'm assuming this is the same John Evans whose previous entries in the comp wree more sci-fi style, so it was really neat to see the change of focus, which I think overall was successful.
There are phantoms to fight through, which you can handle on your own at first. But then you need the help of other toys. They're strewn around the house, and in some cases, you need to figure how to use them. The descriptions are deliberately opaque in certain cases, because part of the fun is figuring what the toy-friend really is. For instance, there's a frog reporter, which people who know the cultural context will figure immediately. Near the end, you take a trip outside to face the final darkness. It's never quite revealed what your owner fears, and it's possible I missed clues, but it seems as though (Spoiler - click to show)your owner's family is moving, and most of your friends are packed away, and your owner is scared, and apparently your owner's parents are apprehensive, too. At least that's what I was moving towards, though the actual few sentences just reference magic in general.
The house isn't very big, and the puzzles aren't very hard. The verbs are generally pretty old-school, and you have a score counter and everything. The trickiest bit at the end was getting the doll. I kept trying to get the transforming robot to transform, and that didn't work, so that was a bit of a loose end, but not really enough to affect my enjoyment.
The comparison game is always a dangerous one, but this brings to mind David Dyte's Bear's Day Out which worked even better for me. I'm still quite happy to have spent a bit of time here, in a sort of escapism without, well, childishness. I could play games like this all day, and if there are a few holes in the narration, they're fun to fill in with your own imagination. I had to suspend my disbelief in parts where I wasn't completely inmmersed, but a game like Brave Bear is a can't-miss effort if the writer shows a decent amount of skill, and that's definitely on display here. So ... stop reading and play the game right now if you're sold. Nitpicks are below.
(Spoiler - click to show)Probably the biggest confusion I had was with the first verb: ATTACK PHANTOM. Teddy bears aren't violent! Perhaps SCARE would've been better, as in "you are a teddy bear, so you can be scary if you have to, but do it too often and you get exhausted." I also wish you'd have used your friends a bit more to do things, beyond just having enough of them to attack a later phantom. And, well, the phantoms aren't really explained at the end. So these are loose strings. When touching this review up I had notes saying "loose strings" and I almost didn't want to go back to replay to check them out, but they're there. They shouldn't ruin the experience, though.
I thought this was a fun little game with a simple story and fairly easy puzzles. It went by much quicker than I expected it to; I kept assuming that little details were going to come in to play at some point, when they actually didnít(Spoiler - click to show), such as the transforming robot who never transforms. I went to the walkthrough twice. The first time, I had guessed what I needed to do, but must have done things in the wrong order (Spoiler - click to show) (using the music maker to light up the room). The second time, I donít think I would have guessed what had to be done (Spoiler - click to show) (rescuing the doll with the car). There was a discussion at the end in which I had no idea what was being implied. All around, very sweet and memorable.
This is a brief parser game where you play as a child's teddy bear who can walk around. Your goal is to defeat fears and gather friends.
The map is a bit complex in layout but small. Each friend requires a different method to find. A couple of the puzzles I found pretty clever; others were easy, and others I had to resort to a walkthrough for.
The implementation is a bit spotty; characters respond but they don't always make sense, and sometimes you might now the right action you need to do but not how to type it so the game understands it.
Overall, I think this was solid idea that needed more testing and polish. I didn't see any testers credited, which I think would have helped.
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