Bubsy: Paws on Fire might be exactly what Bubsy needs right now

Posted on April 3, 2019

It’s the redemption arc no-one saw coming… or really even wanted. Bubsy: Paws on Fire is the latest outing for the loud-mouthed bobcat, and despite all odds, it’s actually looking pretty decent.

Bubsy: Paws on Fire is changing things up a bit by being an endless runner rather than a platformer, and is being made by Choice Provisions, the developers responsible for Runner3. You can see the similarity to said game in the pre-order trailer below.

The game isn’t exactly pushing the boundaries when it comes to revolutionary gameplay. In this instance however, I think this works out in the game’s favour.

Bubsy: Small name, big ego

From it’s inception, the Bubsy series has always been trying to bite off way more than it could chew. Originally intended to rival the likes of Mario and Sonic, Bubsy had a first entry which was okay, but hardly best-game-ever material, featuring catchy music and an at-the-time cutesy level-introduction mechanic that seemed inspired by Looney Tunes slapstick. There were some good ideas here, but they were marred by some seriously flawed physics and frustrating level designs.

The sequels did little to really grab an audience, with the infamous 3D entry being the death-knell for the character that most assumed would always stick. Bubsy, for all his references and snark, simply wasn’t very endearing, and the character itself could never make up for mediocre gameplay. Sonic’s star may have fallen somewhat since his hey-day, but there is still plenty of love for the character due to the legacy he has. Bubsy meanwhile doesn’t have any sort of solid bedrock when it comes to being iconic. He’s well-known for the wrong reasons, and when Accolade resurrected him in 2017, it was again a case of a poor game that tried to be memorable by having the bobcat recite line after line that did nothing to cover the core experience.

The Woolies Strike Back did little to correct the mistakes of the past

“Pilot’s licence? What for? Pilot’s licence? What for? Pilot’s licence? What for?”

Bubsy: Paws on Fire will not take the world by storm, and it knows that

That’s why I’m cautiously optimistic for Bubsy: Paws on Fire.  The trailer above showcases a title that isn’t out to be the next big thing, because it knows it never will be. The developers seem to be aware that Bubsy is a niche franchise at best, and rather than try to create some sort of doomed magnum opus, they’re instead focusing on a simpler title with a much smaller scope in order to work out the base fundamentals for a good game.

Bubsy: Paws on Fire is simple, and that's perfect for it

Pleasant visuals and tried-and-true gameplay. What’s not to like here?

This game has a basic core premise that Choice Provisions have experience with, and Bubsy makes  a nice fit into this established formula. Having him be reined back in this way means that the gameplay itself is getting a much greater focus, so the title will have more going for it than the main character. And this is exactly what Bubsy needs; to stop trying to be the next superstar and instead just have good games.

If my impressions are correct and the company is finally not putting the cart before the horse with Bubsy, this could be a real turning-point for the series. That being said, publisher Accolade had the gall to try and make a DLC-based Kickstarter for this game, so we’ll just have to wait and see. And for those who aren’t going to check that link: Yes, it failed. Because right now, there’s no reason that it wouldn’t.