Bear With Me: The Lost Robots – Smarter than the average bear

The original Bear With Me adventure series came out in a trilogy of three episodes over the course of 2016-17. It was generally a well-received combination of detective noir mixed with a fantastical world of hard-boiled teddy bears and witty one-liners. The Complete Edition, bundling all the episodes was released to Switch, XONE, PS4, and PC at the end of July this year. At the same time, Exordium Games released The Lost Robots: A new prequel to the series, featuring Flint, the old brother of Amber, the player character from the main game.

Ooh, they’re showing the classic “Distant Wailing”.

Although The Lost Robots is a prequel, you are given very little introduction to the characters or the universe of Bear With Me, and it seems the chapter is more aimed at people who have already played through the main game. Indeed, the game opens directly in the middle of the action, and you’re left to piece together what’s happening before it’s properly explained. For newcomers, it is fairly easy to get up to speed, and if you get the Complete Edition you can then play from the prequel straight into the rest of the game (as rest of the game acts as DLC for The Lost Robots). The core mystery of the game concerns the disappearance of robots within Paper City, so you enlist the help of the robotic union leader, Lifty Workosky, in finding out what’s been happening.

Gameplay is very by the numbers for an adventure game. There are objects you must pick up and add to your inventory, puzzles to solve using and combining said items. Navigating around the environments is straightforward point and click. All quite standard with nothing out of the ordinary. Unfortunately this is one of the adventure games that adheres to the more old-school methods of inventory management, meaning that in order to use something, you must click and drag it from your inventory onto the item you want to use it with in the environment. It’s a minor hassle, but one many games have moved away from.

Inside the offices of the Paper Daily.

The voice acting is a bit rote (especially from Flint), many line reads being delivered fairly emotionally flat and only a couple of characters having some proper depth to them. Ted’s deadpan, gravelly voice reminded me a lot of Agent 47 from the Hitman games, except even more emotionally drained. The cast of characters however is generally interesting, featuring other robots, a tailoring rat and a variety of “fishy” side-characters. The writing is consistently entertaining though, with many of the one-liners raising a smile or even an occasional titter.

Overall The Lost Robots is a solid addition to the Bear With Me saga, not doing anything spectacularly new, but not breaking the formula for the sake of it. The new prequel episode is short on its own, but manages to round out the rest of the episodes well. Fans of narrative adventures will appreciate the smart writing and uniquely whimsical setting, and while the gameplay does nothing to advance the genre, it doesn’t break any cardinal rules either.

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