If The Cub’s art style and setting look familiar, it’s because it’s by Demagog Studio and Untold Tales, who created the excellent Golf Club: Wasteland. When humanity’s days are numbered, the rich leave Earth to build a colony on Mars, later returning to play an exclusive round of golf on Earth’s abandoned urban wastelands.

We already know a bit about this from the previous game, the artefacts scattered amongst the debris, and the superb soundtrack and radio phone-ins. The Cub isn’t an origin story that explains what happened to Earth, but it does touch upon what happened when everyone left. Oh, and the newly titled Martians didn’t come to Earth just to tee off.

You play as an orphan raised by wolves. While The Man was effing everything up, nature and wildlife continued as before, listening to Elton John and reciting the Circle of Life. After stumbling upon the corpse of a golf-loving Martian, the kid pinches their helmet and hears the radio station we’re all so familiar with. 

The Cub demo - The Martians have landed
The Martians have landed. Source: Steam

Before you can spell FM, the cub has learned English once more and can enjoy the tunes, talk shows, and relax in the wilderness. However… the Martians are back, and this time, they’re hunting the beasts that roam the derelict buildings and KFC car parks, and should they spot you, happily fire a tranquillizer in yo ass, too.

You might have guessed it, The Cub is about survival and avoiding the Martians and their dick ways. Before you start thinking about scavenging for wood and rusty nails, it’s not that type of survival game, as there isn’t any crafting in the demo. Instead, you’ll have to run out of sight of the jet-packed pursuers, avoid the hostile animals, and clear hazardous terrain.

Golf Club: Wasteland was an attractive game for so many reasons, and while you could easily navigate your surroundings with a jet-pack, wouldn’t it have been fun to explore on your feet? That’s what we have here. Other than evading capture, there are secrets, artefacts to fill in the blanks, plus some burps up for collecting. Finally, a game where burps are meaningful. 

The Cub - Tarzan
Tarzan. Source: Steam

So The Cub is a stylish platformer in a post-apocalyptic world that looks far more beautiful than it sounds. Those popping purple palettes are back, framed by some tranquil, albeit destroyed, cityscapes. At least the vegetation brightens it up, as do the tunes played through the space helmet you stole.

Our hero is a modern Mowgli, swinging from vines, howling with the wolves, and climbing fallen public transport in homage to Nathan Drake. The art style is similar to its predecessor, but as there’s a focus on everything being fluid, jumping from one area to the next, the animation is as sleek as a wetsuit made of butter. 

I urge you to try The Cub demo now in anticipation of the release date of the 19th of January 2024 for PC, PS5/4 and the Nintendo Switch. It will be coming to the Xbox, but postponed until further notice. What did you do, Microsoft….?