Little Bug Review

Little Bug is a short platforming adventure that is one part charming and one part maddening. For all its whimsical looks and settings, there are parts that seem designed to test the patience, and even though it only took me 90 minutes to beat there were moments where I truly felt like giving up.

We control a young girl on her way home from school, and as kids tend to do, she lets her imagination run away with her. What should be a simple walk sprouts visions of dead cats, floating orbs, and magical powers. After being scolded by her mother for arriving late, her world is literally flipped upside down and its from here we must make our way back home once more.

The basis for our movement is where the challenge comes in. Our Little Bug is unable to jump; instead, she’s accompanied by a glowing orb that acts as a lasso of sorts. We move her with the left stick and the orb with the right then pull the trigger to latch on to her and launch her up and over obstacles. For a good portion of the game I really enjoyed this mechanic. The challenge was nicely paced and while there’s a limit to how far or long we can use the orb at once, the incentive was there to try and find the hidden items that she collects in her lunchbox along the way. These can then be offered to the dead cat, and form the main reason to play through multiple times.

Swinging her across chasms or up and over ledges was fun enough, but once Buddy System introduce moving threats the game became a whole  new exercise in frustration. Not only do we need to move LB around, but also quickly manoeuvre the orb to fling her out of harms way while ghostly apparitions chase her down. One section featured four to avoid in a row, and was challenging not in the fun way but rather the ‘this is getting annoying now’ way. With no mid-section checkpoints I must’ve spent almost as much time on this one bit as I did the entire game up until then.

After beating this, I then got royally stuck on what turned out to be the final puzzle, where they seem to revel in making us repeat the same bit over and over. Not only do we need to move her through a twisting maze, but also the orb while also placing both Bug and orb in the right places to help the other move on – while being hounded by a screen filling enemy chasing us. The challenge was high, but I might have enjoyed it more if we didn’t have to do the same slow, plodding run that lasted way too long before getting to the puzzle area every time. And, if we didn’t immediately start running when restarting, the enemy would catch us easily just as we got to the puzzle bit, meaning we ran for literally nothing. I almost gave up here thanks to the tedium and annoyance, but eventually made it with a few short breaks in between to reset.

These two spikes ruined what was up until that point a decent, if basic, platformer. Little Bug is nothing that’ll attract massive mainstream attention, but those who like smaller indie games would no doubt find some enjoyment here – to a point. As I mentioned above, the game is at least brief (there’s even a cheevo for beating it in less than 45 minutes) but those last sections crank up the challenge far too much for my liking. Especially as the movement isn’t exactly the greatest to begin with.

Conclusion

Little Bug starts of well enough, but some awkward controls and frankly annoying difficulty spikes towards to end mean it’s only a mild recommendation for those who enjoy checking out smaller indie titles. Those looking for a decent platformer to play already have a plethora of better options to choose from.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox Series S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Nice mechanic idea
  • Quite visually interesting
Bad
  • Hard difficulty spikes late on annoy more than anything
  • Controls are a bit fiddly at the best of times
5.5
Average
Gameplay - 6.3
Graphics - 5.5
Audio - 5
Longevity - 5
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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