Adventure & RPG
Though the Mac has undoubtedly made great strides as of late in the gaming market, the market still consists mainly of ports from the PC market. While this is by no means a bad thing, it’s always refreshing to find great titles that also happen to be Mac originals as well. One such company that devotes itself to the calling is Pangea Software, with their latest offering being Bugdom 2.
The sequel to the popular title Bugdom, Bugdom 2 forges in an entirely new direction, giving players a new cast of characters as well as a new style of play. Taking place three years after the original, Bugdom 2 introduces a new protagonist by the name of Skip. On his way to visit his family on the far side of Bugdom, a rather mean bee swoops down and steals his traveling pack. Naturally incensed at this turn of events, Skip attempts to overtake this Bully Bee to regain what’s rightfully his. On the way, he’ll encounter various enemies and obstacles to overcome as well as friends that will help him out during his quest.
Soon, it will be time for you to leave, grasshopper…Bugdom 2 is a title of the action/arcade persuasion, and like all good examples of the genre, it’s incredibly easy to jump into. Thanks to the fact that he’s a grasshopper, Skip’s powerful legs allow him to run in any direction and jump fairly high. In addition, he can also fly by double-tapping the jump button, a feature that players will have to master in order to get past certain areas. Skip can’t fly forever, however, and must replenish his flight meter periodically by finding purple berries.
Skip can also pick up and carry objects around when necessary, an element that becomes integral to puzzle solving. Early in the game, Skip will encounter various friends, including Sam the Snail and Sally the Chipmunk, both of which will pose tasks to Skip. While Sally is normally content with acorns, Sam will often request various items and tasks from Skip, including finding and placing the head of a scarecrow back on its body or finding a lost shell.
Unfortunately, the land of Bugdom isn’t entirely free of evil influences, and they all seem to have a bone to pick with Skip. Thankfully, Skip is equipped with a powerful kick that can send lesser enemies flying when necessary. In addition, the Buddy Bugs from the original Bugdom make a return appearance here, and Skip can direct them to attack enemies when he needs to.
Bugs in the backyardBugdom 2 takes place in and around a house. Like the original Bugdom, the environments do a great job of immersing players in a world that is literally larger than life. Blades of grass appear as tall trees, bits of garbage scattered by humans become huge obstacles, and even Sally the Chipmunk appears a bit imposing the first time she’s encountered.
Though the game is split up into various levels, the objective of each level can vary quite a bit. For example, level one simply involves finding a series of keys to open various gates, and ends once Skip reaches the final area. However, other levels may involve the freeing of mice from mousetraps or defeating all the enemies in an area as their main objectives, keeping the pacing fresh and dynamic.
In addition to Sam and Sally, butterflies also populate the region of Bugdom. Touching a butterfly will cause it to explode in a multicolored shower (a little disconcerting to be sure – butterfly lovers beware) and drop an item useful to Skip. These items can include health and flight powerups, a temporary shield, an extra life, and a Buddy Bug.
Skip will need all the help he can get too, because the land is rife with enemies. Strange plant-like monsters will rise up and spray seeds at nearby intruders. Huge garden gnomes will angrily stomp after Skip and attempt to swat him away. Flies dressed in leather jackets will buzz around and attempt to knock Skip out with a mean right hook. Thankfully, Skip can kick most of these enemies away or send a Buddy Bee after them, though some enemies are simply untouchable due to various factors such as size.
Parents need not fret about turning their kids loose with this game either. In addition to its cartoonish look and harmless action, Bugdom 2 also sports a Kiddie Mode, whereupon the various enemies in the game will very rarely attack Skip, making overall play easier for the younger Mac gaming crowd.