Bears in Space Review – One big step for whacky adventures

Reviewed March 22, 2024 on PC




March 22, 2024




Broadside games

If Starfield isn’t providing that whacky space adventure you crave, perhaps it’s time to consider another first-person shooter set across the galaxy. Bears in Space is an action FPS developed by Broadside Games, an indie game company based in Queensland, Australia. Checkpoint was lucky enough to preview the game back at PAX Aus 2023, but was it able to flourish to its full potential or did it bear-ly miss the mark?

You play as Maxwell, a human spacetronaut, and Beartana, a bear fugitive. Maxwell was supposed to retire, but an encounter with the Bear Armada has paused those plans for the time being. You and your new fuzzy friend have to travel across the galaxy to find a way to get back to Earth. The bears are now the least of your worries as you will find yourself up against a variety of robots that will attack you throughout your journey.

Bears in Space‘s art style feels like a mash-up of the Nickelodeon show, Jimmy Neutron, and Team Fortress 2. The visual aesthetic is very 3D and whacky, whilst also giving a bit of that early 2000’s nostalgia. Meanwhile, the voice actors are pretty good. I like how the robots convey more than just the stereotypical “beep boop bop” and have actual feelings. Some of them express anger, whilst many of the harmless robots show genuine fear just by your presence alone.

The soundtrack is impressive as it changes wherever you go and the battle music alone is enough to get your heart pumping. Each level has its own background track that makes it feel somewhat unique. Who knew that the typical carnival music could be used in a combat-like setting?

However, the game can cause motion sickness due to how fast-paced everything is, especially during a level where you’re just constantly bouncing about. So best to take your time when playing this first-person shooter. Fortunately, there are settings you can adjust to help alleviate this issue.

One strong point this game has is its story. You get to witness Maxwell and Beartana’s growing friendship as the two find a way to get back home. Across these various worlds, you’re presented with the idea that bears are the enemy and that the robots are the good guys. But due to being stuck with Beartana, you have no choice but to fight. It makes you question who the real enemy is.

Fortunately, there are a few moments where you don’t have to trust your bear instincts. You can still act like a decent human, even if the inhabitants of the worlds you visit see you as a monster.

The story also has you wondering why the robots hate the bears. Maybe it’s just Beartana because many of the problems seem to stem from her decisions. She does give off an “I can do whatever I want” attitude, which is somewhat funny, but can also be a bit annoying when you’re given the offer to go back home multiple times and she just rejects the idea.

Bears in Space makes you do more than just claw your way across the galaxy. The worlds you visit will make you challenge your 3D platforming skills. But that’s a good thing because each level is unique in its own way. One day, you’re in a spaceship and a laboratory. Then later, you will be in a stadium fighting bosses, a planet inspired by medieval times, and a carnival in space. These places add more character to the game and don’t make it feel like your typical “space-shooter mission.”

You will be equipped with multiple guns that you can pick up or purchase throughout your travels and upgrade them as you go along. The more you use them in combat, the more the weapon will increase its level. You can also upgrade them in the shop. All of them are unique. Some are your typical blasters whilst others recoil when used. These weapons also vary in effectiveness, with one particular weapon feeling delightfully overpowered.

The bots have different types of defence mechanisms that would require you to think quickly on your feet and strategise as you go. Should you save your bullets and break the shields with your bear fists? Or would it be more convenient and safer if you used a machine gun?

But it’s not just guns that you get to play with. Beartana will take over and you get to fight bots as an actual bear. This space fugitive is pretty strong when given honey as she could shoot grenades out of her paws, as well as slam strong robots with a few punches, compared to your gun. However, Beartana’s bear mode isn’t something you can access anytime in your adventure, which is a shame but it makes sense because you could pretty much cheese through the entire game just by using her alone.

What’s also great about Bears in Space is that each level is replayable since they contain so many secret challenges and collectables. Some of these items are references to the game. Some are concept arts. Others are parodies of real IPs and groups. It makes you wonder if in this alternate universe, the robots are just humanity evolved into sentient machines.

Meanwhile, the challenges allow you to engage in different activities that bring variety from the typical shooting and clawing. You could be assisting robots with their filmmaking, playing basketball, or just having a small conversation in a secret room. This is pretty great as it breaks up the story and you get to learn a tiny bit about these robots. There’s extra levity here as well because these characters are supposed to be foes. It’s like they either missed the memo or just are desperate to have a helping hand.

It’s pretty obvious that Bears in Space was written to be comedic. However, you may find that many of the jokes don’t land as well as intended, feeling somewhat stale. Eventually, the dialogue becomes more entertaining, especially during some of the cutscenes. Imagine being contacted by one of your allies in a scene that’s reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid. That was so good. Or having robots make fun of you because you couldn’t do the task properly. Perhaps the game just needs more bear puns since there were bear-ly any.

Unfortunately, Bears in Space also has bugs, especially during the early levels. There were times when weapon selection during combat was not possible. Some soft-locking issues were encountered whether it was from uncompleted challenges or just simply dying in the game. Most of the solutions for this is to press “load last savepoint” via the main menu, but some of the issues couldn’t be resolved using basic troubleshooting alone. Hopefully, all of these will be resolved for the game’s official launch. 

Editors note: Since reviewing Bears in Space, we have been notified that a launch patch has gone live, which has resolved some core glitches/bugs from the review build experience. We have not had the chance to test the game out with the new patch yet, so hopefully issues mentioned in this review have been resolved.




  • Interesting story between man and bear and their journey to get home
  • Amazing soundtrack
  • References to real life are quite entertaining
  • A lot of replayability


  • Soft-locking issues in early levels
  • The comedy in the dialogue doesn't stick well

Bears in Space has the potential to be a great game, at least for a younger audience. It’s entertaining yet provides a sense of challenge. The story will hook you in and many of the activities will keep you satisfied. For a game that was developed by a small team, Bears in Space provides so much content that will entertain and keep you bear-ry busy. Despite some unfortunate glitches, exploring a vast galaxy with Maxwell and Beartana was definitely a fun adventure.