Little Bug sounds quite derogative, or perhaps one of those cute lil’ apps you might have downloaded on your phone to keep the kids happy. It’s neither. Instead, it’s a cool platformer released on Switch and Xbox today.
Initially released on PC, this game from Buddy System and RedDeerGames is another stylish title in the publisher’s growing catalogue. At first, there wasn’t anything special about the game, but that reflected my mood when starting it. Sure, it looked lovely in the screenshots, and the opener reflected that, but it’s a platform game without a jump button?
But Little Bug is more than that, and in truth, when was the last time you jumped, other than school sports day or that rather large pipe that that talking mushroom told you to try jump in? Exactly. Then again, when was the last time a glowing orb followed you about, allowing you to swing magnificently into the sky like nobody’s business? You too? We should meet.
Your character is the schoolgirl Nyah. Like many of our protagonists, she doesn’t seem to fit in and be taken seriously – especially when she says she befriended a cat spirit named Roadkill. After that little bit of impatience, expecting some action in the first couple of minutes (out of character for me, but it’s been a long week), Nyah’s world is turned on its side, literally. She’s swinging so much that she may as well leave her keys in the dish for the remainder of the journey.
The core mechanics rely on controlling two characters simultaneously, but nothing too complex. With the left stick, you’ll move Nyah. All she can do is walk and pick up items to place in her lunchbox (though the things she picks up are revealing), whereas the orb moves with the right and, when correctly positioned, allows a beam of light to take hold of Nyah so she can bypass obstacles and reach a higher plateau.
These beams of light aren’t infinite, so besides positioning, you have to ensure that you’re relatively swift with your swinging movements as Nyah is kind of dead weight and not one of these typical platformers that can do double jumps and what-not. I must stress that our protagonist might be coming out in a bad light of not being able to function as a typical platformer, but she’s an adorable character, and it’s not hard to side with her plight of being misunderstood and escaping into what others would surmise as her imagination.
Another point worth mentioning is the orb’s restrictive movement. Usually, this would be a negative, but not passing through solid objects was a good decision as players would only cheese the levels. Instead, you have to manoeuvre the orb through little mazes and use the same beam that elevates Nyah to clear paths. It works well and is a satisfying experience.
It felt like the physics side of things would take time to master, but in truth, they’re well-executed, and it doesn’t take long to think ahead and understand the limitations of the ability and how to get to the next checkpoint. Visually, Little Bug is a nice game with some soothing colour palettes and excellent lighting effects, but it’s the soundtrack that reeled me in.
I need to replay this a few more times before committing to a stronger statement, but the score is on the same level as Oxenfree – one of my all-time favourite game soundtracks that I listen to quite often. I made a point of looking up on YouTube while concluding this write-up. While a score won’t necessarily make you want a game for that sole purpose, it’s a nice factor that makes the game even more immersive.
So, Little Bug is a simple physics platformer that is a pleasure to play; if a little short, but repeat plays are encouraged, and based on the overall presentation and vibes this gives off, this is a thumbs up and all the more so that you can play on your Switch on the go.