Super Rude Bear Resurrection is the latest in a line of games looking to serve the hardcore audience like N++ and VVVVVV before it. Winner of the 28th Ludum Dare for innovation, at first glance it brings to mind Super Meat Boy, with spinning blades and the blood of your character splattered across the levels. The comparisons stop there, however, as a few neat tricks keep the gameplay fresh and new.

 

Death Becomes Him

After a quick introduction set in East London, you are whisked away to a fantasy universe by The Wizard. Guided by a sarcastic fairy, you fight your way to your mortal enemy over piles of your own dead body. In fact, unless you find the likes of Dark Souls a walk in the park, you’ll come to rely on your corpses to keep your newest reincarnation alive. Each death in Super Rude Bear Resurrection is left behind as a permanent reminder, followed with you being sent back to one of the many checkpoints. Falling into a pit of spikes now provides you with a soft and bleeding platform made from your former self which you can safely vault from. This is the difference between Super Rude Bear Resurrection and the usual hardcore fare.

 

A Bear Apart

Aside from providing a tactical option to the gameplay, the difficulty curve is a lot smoother as a result allowing for different styles of play. You can try and rush the level as quickly as possible, knowing that if you get caught out the trap that kills you will be much less dangerous the next time around. Eventually though you might tire of seeing mountains of your own failure piling up around you. This is where the sarcastic fairy comes into play. A surprising amount of random and context driven dialogue spews continuously from it’s mouth as it hovers around you. In between the sarcasm and the jokes about your lack of ability to stay alive, tips on how to conquer particularly difficult sections are handed out if you bother to pause to read them. The fairy also doubles up as a playable character, letting you zoom around levels to check ahead for danger or equip a laser out of nowhere to clear away dead bodies getting in your way. This allows for a more methodical approach, and the game then starts to take on more of a puzzle feel than a pure reaction-based platformer.

 

Fiendish Design

Each level has a distinctive design, with deadly traps and obstacles changing to fit the theme. Early on you journey through underground ice caves, dodging falling icicles only to be repeatedly impaled when snow drifts slow your panicked run. The mechanics have been well put together and feel generally tight and responsive although on the ground the friction does feel slightly too slippy for my liking, and occasionally makes small platforms feel like inevitable death traps. Luckily the in air control is spot on and jumping always connects as expected, even when springing from your old bodies. There is a gradual introduction of new mechanics, so despite the high death toll you never feel like you are being punished. When you inevitably die you quickly learn to use the other bodies on the level not only to save yourself from the same mistake twice but as shields from projectiles and ramps to jump from. Clever design often means that eventually surpassing a particularly difficult section means you end up stood atop a pile of dead bears that have funneled down from the carnage above.
 

 The Tone

Complimenting the mayhem is a great soundtrack, with electronica pounding away in the background, tuned to the theme of each world. The tempo helps keep the feeling of continuous pressure up and has been the reason for many a sliced up bear. The cartoonish graphics suit the tone of the game but the animations although smooth seemed basic at times. Overall though each section is well presented and brightly colored, letting you spot the next round of lethal spikes. Getting too close to harm activates a subtle but great feature, vignetting. Hurl your resurrected bear near an axe, arrow or anything else deadly and the screen darkens except for your character. This focuses your sight, allowing you to see what’s coming just in time.

 

Fun For Everyone?

The further the game progresses however, the more niche it feels and the more reliant the average player is on the resurrection system. Later levels have long sections requiring extremely precise timing and movement and seem impossible to complete the first time around except without almost super human skill. There are three different levels of difficulty in Super Rude Bear Resurrection, which limit things like trap resets and corpse spawning. Turning these off makes the game into a pure reaction platformer, and one that I think the vast majority would not be able to play. In the earlier levels where the difficulty is still high but fair, being able to use a corpse to work around a section you are stuck on is welcome relief. By the end of the game unless you have the skills required you end up essentially sight seeing areas. Not that the developers have made anything unfair or undoable in their design, in fact the level design is what makes the game stand out, but stacking bodies just so you can progress begins to break the feel of the game. This forgiving mechanic is a double edged sword. Those who would put down their controller after the first level of Super Meat Boy can now explore and have fun with the genre. On the other side of the coin, even hardened veterans might falter at the eye-watering level of difficulty presented by the last levels.

 

No Casuals Please

While it’s great that there is something for everyone here, it’s arguable that you could find the fun running out earlier than expected if you think this is somehow an entry level into hardcore games. Anyone can pick up and play, but to get the full value out of the title requires instant reflexes and an iron will. The fact that you can then go even further and reverse each level to make it even harder feels as if it was made for speedrunners hunting for glory on Twitch.

 

The Verdict

The crazier levels of challenge aside, Super Rude Bear Resurrection is a well thought out and cleverly designed platformer with a unique twist that allows for creativity and tactics not usually seen in the genre. Newcomers and veterans alike will find lots to enjoy here, and marathon mode pushes the longevity even further. It is best taken for what it is at its core, a demanding game that will reward you if you have the skill and patience to see it through.
Super Rude Bear Resurrection Review
The Good
  • Excellent level design
  • Innovative mechanics
  • Great dry humour
The Bad
  • Good controls, not perfect
  • Simple animations
8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)
9.0