This review contains spoilers from Bear With Me Episode 1
After a six month hiatus, Bear With Me is back with another episode. The first episode sucked us in with its unique noir mystery in the perspective of a young girl’s imagination. The second episode of Bear With Me proves to be a mixed bag, improving on some facets from Episode One, while taking a step backwards in the technical department.
In Bear With Me Episode 1 we were introduced to Amber Ashworth, a young girl who is investigating her brother’s disappearance. With the help of a private eye teddy bear she scours her house for clues of Flint’s whereabouts, and eventually learns that an arsonist known as the “Red Man” is wreaking havoc on her imaginary town of Paper City. After having no luck in their search of the house, Amber and Ted E Bear head off to Paper City in hopes of locating Flint.
Bear With Me Episode 2 begins in a classic 50’s style diner, where Amber and Ted begin questioning the waitress on whether she’s seen Flint, or if she has heard of the Red Man. From there the game begins to open up, as there are multiple locations to look for clues in Paper City. The second episode feels much larger than the first, as you’re no longer trapped in the confines of the upper level of a house.
The main concept of Bear With Me remains the same, as you hover your mouse over every object in sight , hoping they can come of some use and help you progress through the game. For the most part the difficulty of the puzzles is on par with the first episode, although there are a few serious head scratchers. There will likely be times when you’ll be attempting to combine every item in your inventory in hopes of creating a new object, or backtracking through areas to comb over every nook and cranny to make sure you’ve acquired every item you possibly could get.
As mentioned earlier, the second episode is much larger than the first, which also means the total runtime of the game has increased. One of the drawbacks of the first episode was how quickly it could be completed, but the second episode extends the play time by at least 30 minutes. A major contributor to the added runtime is unfortunately the load times that seem like ages. Every time you enter a new area or open up the Paper City map you’ll be stuck on a loading screen for a good 10-15 seconds, which may not seem like much until you’re looking for that one last clue and you need to hop from area-to-area. The button to open the Paper City map is also conveniently right beside the inventory button, which you’ll inevitably accidentally hit the wrong one and have to wait 20 seconds to go back to the proper screen.
One of the strong points of the first episode of Bear With Me was the excellent voice acting, and the interesting partnership that is Amber and Ted E. Bear. Their entertaining banter continues in episode two, as Amber consistently knocking Ted down a peg when he starts taking his detective nonsense too far. Some of the dialogue can feel a little long-winded at times, and sometimes they lay the puns and pop culture references on too thick, but overall it was another excellent display of voice acting.
Bear With Me Episode Two improves on some issues from the first episode, mainly play time and increasing the size of the environment, but also takes two steps back in many aspects as well. In the grand scheme of things the second episode adds a few interesting wrinkles to the mystery of the Red Man and Flint’s disappearance, and leaves us patiently waiting for Amber and Ted E. Bear’s return in Episode Three.
Review code for Bear With Me Episode 2 was provided by Exordium Games