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The Adventures Of Snaktooth Island

Bugsnax, a psychological horror in disguise
Cover art taken from the Bugsnax press kit and made by Justin Chan

As I was browsing the internet looking for a game to purchase with my newly acquired money from grandma last Christmas I stumbled upon an innocent-looking game with a fun title. Bugsnax, a puzzle-solving game with a cute atmosphere and fun characters. However, I did not expect what was to come in the final minutes of the game.


Developed by the small team at Young Horses, Bugsnax is an incredibly polished experience, better than most triple-A games on the market today like Starfield and Assassins Creed. The last game that Young Horse created reached critical acclaim as well as YouTube and social media fame under the name of Octodad. A physics-based puzzle game that in essence is completely different than Bugsnax in every way. 


Although the thought of a puzzle game was not one that would interest me, I still picked it up giving it the benefit of the doubt, and I’m glad I did. 


Now what is a Bugsnax exactly? It’s basically like a Pokemon based solely upon food. The best representation of 100 different Bugsnaxs is the “bunger”. This Bugsnax is found everywhere in the world and its body is based off of a hamburger,  its feet are curly fries which is just hilarious.


The Bugsnaxs in the game are all based around actual foods and are usually in areas where you would find food like it, for example, the bobcicle a popsicle that can be found on the tippy top of the highest peak as well as walking around the hot sands of a beach. Another example is the scopenyo, a jalapeno that looks like a squipion and can only be found in the hottest part of the desert biomes. 

Pictured above is the bunger (left) charging the fry-based Bugsnax the frieder (right) taken from the Bugsnax press kit

All of the snacks that are in the game are absolutely adorable and feel fresh (no pun intended) on every level, plus each single one could be its own plushie and I am 100% down to spend as much money as possible to get all Bugsnaxs turned into marketable plushies.  


All the NPC in Bugsnaxs are labeled as grumpaces, the replacement for humans in this world, and one of the best interactions and game mechanics in the game is what Bugsnaxs do to the grumpaces when eaten. When a Bugsnax is eaten a random part of the grumpace turns into a part of the Bugsnax they ate, the only way to change what body part will turn into the snax eaten is through the snaxtivator, a device obtained early and is crucial to the story. This character customization can go way too far and instead of looking like grumpaces you can turn everyone on the island into either a work of art or an abomination to god(s).

Above is Filbo the town’s mayor completely changed into Bugsnax, little does he know what he has done, taken from the Bugsnaxs press kit

The gameplay is fun, the movement is easy to understand, and the puzzles are only difficult for a 3-month-old dog. This is supposed to be a relaxing game to sit down and play after a long day of work, the gameplay loop is as simple as, “talk to this grumpace, trap a Bugsnax in a different part of the map, feed the grumpace the Bugsnax you caught” this simple loop gives the player near infinite time to explore the world and complete all of the games content without worrying that the world will end if they don’t complete the main story fast enough. 

Above is the somewhat hidden Bugsnax, the Sprinklepede, walking right into the players snax trap used to catch the creatures of Snaktooth island, photo taken from the Bugsnax press kit

The layout of the island you play on given the name “Snaktooth Island” is small but varied, it gives the player a range of different biomes and situations to go off of and play around in. And to get the player more involved a base can be created in the town square. However, the only way to customize the house you get is to complete small quests received from the mailbox.

Above is the magnificent house the player gets in Snaxsburg completely decked out in all sorts of decorations, if only this home could stay around forever. Photo taken from the Bugsnax press kit.

The only way to access the rest of the map other than hacking the game is to talk to the 12 grumpaces accessible to the player. All of the grumpaces are lovable in their own way and all have really goofy names like Gramble Gigglefunny, the one and only Bugsnaxs rancher. Each character feels like a real person and not just someone to receive quests from. Each character is delved into deeply on their missions, the grumpaces give you more and more of their story as you do their quests.lthough the quests are simple they push the player to go to new areas to complete them, as well as learn more about the 12 characters on Snaktooth island. From learning that two of the grumpaces, a nerdy paranoid conspiracy theorist and the strong, caring, and lovable jock are gay to seeing how a scam artist and the local town gossip learn to get along through their differences all of the grumpaces feel real and loveable.  

Above is the first annual campfire meet created by the mayor Filbo to get the town’s occupants to be more social, little do they know that each of them knows something about the island that may make them want to leave, photo was taken from the Bugsnaxs press kit.

The developers at Young Horse decided to improve Bugsnax,around a year after launch they released a new area to the game. If you follow a specific grumpaces storyline the player will soon have access to a whole new island full of new Bugsnax to collect. This new island has as much content as a whole DLC would for any other game but the devs at Young Horse decided to add it on for free to the game to make sure everyone could get more from Snaktooth Island. 

Above is the team of grumpaces that accompany you to the new island, all dumbfounded by the size of the Bugsnax in front of them, but the temple behind it holds more secrets than they should know. Photo taken from the Bugsnaxs press kit.

The story is quite simple for both Snaktooth and the added island mentioned before. And only become complex near the end of the journey. The player is put in the shoes of a journalist looking for their next big story. Little background is given to the player about who you are and the best anyone has is that the journalist was about to be fired because of fraudulent stories. In one last attempt to not get fired, they head to Snaktooth Island thanks to a tip from someone named Elizabeth Megafig. As the journalist arrives on the island to get an interview with Elizabeth the ship they are on crashes, after landing semi-safely on the ground you find the deputy mayor of the town named Snaxburg, Filbo Fiddlepie. He’s fairly incompetent when it comes down to it, but he’s an enjoyable character and just wants to see the town flourish and everyone happy. After feeding Filbo a strawberry with legs the story begins back at Snaxsburg, where under Filbo’s request all grumpaces must be found to bring the town back together and get interviews. But the story doesn’t stop when you get everyone back. Elizabeth is still missing and you must get the interview with them before you head back to shore, and after a few quotes you are led down deep into the mountain that stands tall on Snaktooth Island, and there the real horror of the game begins. The rock that would be there is replaced not with dirt or silt but with Bugsnaxs, the island is made entirely out of Bugsnax, it’s been infected by Bugsnax. But the ending is too good to spoil it all here in this review. 

Above is a dig site where you can find one of the grumpaces working, overflowing with skulls and Bugsnaxs Whatever happened here caused no one to make it off the island alive, or did it? Photo taken from the Bugsnax press kit.

Overall Bugsnax is a welcomed story-driven puzzle game to break up the mediocrity of large-budget games. It is a fun experience with deep characters that anyone can theoretically relate to, the storyline for the game and the grumpaces are amazing and fun to interact with. The puzzles are fun and let you get immersed in the game world and the ecosystem around it. 


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