The Cub Review – A Concrete Jungle Book

The Cub Review 

Demagog Studio is creating an intoxicating universe packed with social themes, diverse gameplay and a unique atmosphere. Continuing the melancholic, post-apocalyptic approach established in Golf Club: Wasteland, The Cub swaps the sport for traditional side-scrolling action to create a truly fascinating experience.

Set in the same world as the company’s debut title, Earth is a shell of its former self. After an ecological catastrophe and a number of wars, the land is in ruins. Before becoming completely uninhabitable, the rich flee to Mars leaving those unable to escape to certain death. While society collapses, orphan children develop an immunity to the radiation that engulfs the planet. Befriending the wildlife, they live a tribal lifestyle and manage to adapt and survive.

Years later, those who fled return to see the remains of their previous home. After noticing a child traversing the environment, they begin an all-out pursuit of the individual to find out who it is and how they have survived. While the core premise is simple and heavily inspired by The Jungle Book, there are a multitude of layers that tell a deeper tale. Whether through environmental clues or messages that have been left behind, you learn about the injustices of the world and much more in this wonderful adventure.

Retro Roots

Inspired by 90s platformers, you’ll need to leap to safety using the environment to keep you alive. Vines and lampposts provide opportunities to swing across the stunning locales creating visual poetry as you manoeuvre from one area to another. As the world has been left without inhabitants, platforms have aged and some will buckle under your weight. This is visually signalled which makes you scour the region as you traverse. There are scripted segments that add a cinematic feel to certain scenarios and help to build tension at key moments.

Each level is distinct and includes a range of aspects to make them memorable. As you are the target, the antagonists attempt to capture you in different ways. This leads to a variety of gameplay segments that use the foreground and background in clever ways. The antagonists have different methods to capture you and you must evade them through stealth or parkour. These sequences are a highlight of the game as they add a modern edge to the traditional gameplay.

A Diverse Dive Through the District

Environmental puzzles add further variety to ensure that The Cub continues to be an enthralling journey. These are very simple and won’t halt your progress. Due to this, it does raise the question of whether these aspects are necessary. However, they offer more gameplay elements which helps to make each new idea feel fresh. While these aspects are straightforward, you will die quite often due to the trial-and-error design of the game. One hit or a failed jump results in death and you will need to restart from the generously placed checkpoints.

At the beginning of your adventure, you’ll come across a helmet on a corpse. Placing this on your head, you begin to receive signals from radio stations from Mars. This allows Demagog Studio to infuse the game with slick, stylish music that perfectly contrasts and accompanies the gameplay. In addition to this, the DJ also develops plot points and the lore of the world with his ramblings that intersperse the tracks. Visually, there’s a stylistic approach akin to classic animated films. This is further cemented through the smooth animation which adds authenticity to the character’s quest. The combination of audio and visuals is unique and an absolute joy to experience.

Building a Universe

The Cub is a delightful adventure that develops Demagog Studio’s universe in new and interesting ways. As a platformer, it’s solid. The movement is fluid and responsive which allows you to effortlessly traverse the environment. Each step has been animated with flair and helps to enhance the beautiful backdrops that accompany your journey. Combining this with the slick beats that blast through the radio station makes the overall presentation both unique and unforgettable. While the game is on the short side, taking only around 2 to 3 hours to see the credits roll, each part of that is meticulously designed to create a truly memorable experience.

*** A PlayStation 5 key provided by the publisher ***

The Good

  • Diverse, Memorable Gameplay Sequences
  • Beautiful Visuals
  • Slick Soundtrack

The Bad

  • A Bit Short
  • Puzzles Are Simple
  • Left Wanting More