Super Rude Bear Resurrection Review
There’s something truly special about a good masocore platformer. Due to their intense difficulty, the best of the genre (such as Super Meat Boy, N++) end up being a part of the few games that elicit a real sense of accomplishment upon finishing a level. That’s why I’ve always been willing to put in the time to learn level routes and replace the occasional controller that would mysteriously stop working.
The latest release in the genre is easily the most interesting one to dissect. This is due to how Alex Rose’s Super Rude Bear Resurrection manages to turn the tables on a lot of the design philosophy that has gone into making other games great. Before touching on what’s so radically different, it’s important to talk about what will be familiar to anyone that has played anything in the ilk of I Wanna Be the Guy.
Players are still running through maze-like levels filled with every hazard imaginable. From rockets that chase after the carnivoran to deadly spikes, there’s more danger than safety in the game’s level design. If something moves in a level, it’ll probably kill the backward hat wearing protagonist. Thankfully, the bear that players control isn’t just rude, but is quite flexible. With the ability to jump on walls and a lengthy jump, players have all the abilities they need to avoid these death traps.
Just because a player has the necessary tools doesn’t mean they’ll succeed, though. As with any masocore title, players will end up dying hundreds of times. There’s a distinction, though, as Super Rude Bear Resurrection doesn’t treat death as a punishment, but rather as an equalizer to the harsh difficulty. It’s able to do this by keeping the players’ corpses on the level. It’s a groundbreaking mechanic that really changed how I looked at the genre.
Once everything started to click, I was no longer looking at levels as a test of pure reflex. Instead, I was treating difficult jumps as a puzzle. If I kept failing to make a long jump, I knew that I could cut its distance in half by making my character fall on some spikes. There are a ton of these obstacles in the game, and the best part is that it gives total control to the player on how to solve them. One of my favorite moments in the game was when I decided to nullify a swinging axe by jumping onto both sides. The axe could no longer slice me, and I was now able to take its blows if it happened to hit me.
“Super Rude Bear Resurrection doesn’t treat death as a punishment, but rather as an equalizer to the harsh difficulty.”
On top of the great mechanic, Super Rude Bear Resurrection manages to stay fresh by constantly introducing new elements to each world of stages. Mechanics tend to build upon themselves as inconveniencing snowballs that push the player backwards get replaced with missiles that’ll blow up the player, and there’s always something new to learn. What also helps the game’s longevity is the great sense of humor it has. The player is always accompanied by a mysterious fairy that is always spouting off one-liners (it can also make dead bodies disappear if they get in the way). Some might find it obnoxious, but I found myself laughing quite a bit. In fact, I had to pause the game in order to compose myself after I completely lost it due to the fairy yelling out “World Star!” during a boss fight.
Another thing that works in Super Rude Bear Resurrection’s favor is that it doesn’t require players to use or abuse its death system. Every single level is possible to beat without any aid, and there are several different modifiers in the game that can be turned on. When all the aids are off, it becomes such a challenge that even Super Meat Boy would blush. It’s impressive how the game can cater to both those new to the genre and to experienced speedrunners without sullying any of the factors that make the genre feel so special. It’s truly the best of both worlds without any drawbacks.
Super Rude Bear Resurrection is a triumph in game design. It manages to make a highly difficult game of skill become playable to a wider audience without having to ease up on the challenge any. Making a player’s death, and thus what would normally be their mistakes, into a mechanic is pure genius, and results in one of the coolest games I’ve played. There’s even more depth for those that want a pure masocore experience, but the top-notch design shines no matter how one plays.
*** PS4 code provided by the publisher ***
- Unique death mechanic makes the genre accessible
- Constantly introducing new mechanics
- Fun for newcomers and speedrunners
- Humor might not gel for some
- Higher difficulties may result in broken controllers