Bugsnax raises the question: Do all games need to be playable?

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charmingly strange and touching, Bagsnaks was one of those carefree titles that reassured many gamers during the first year of existence COVID-19 pandemic. The game takes place on the island of Zmeezub, where delightful bugs live. The mission of the game has a simple premise – uncover the mystery of what happened to researcher Elizabeth Megafig – and is full of adorable characters. It became something like discreet hit for Young Horses, the small studio that developed it but was ultimately ignored because it was a launch title for the PlayStation 5 and the PS5 were – and often still are –very hard to find. Bagsnaks seemed destined to be relegated to a certain time and place.

Or maybe not. Next week, Young Horses plans to release a free DLC titled Bigsnax Islandwhich undermines the potential for Bagsnaks revival.

Generally speaking, DLC is not a reliable way to launch a game renaissance. Some players like me, have forgotten the game’s controls and other features of the game by the time the DLC was released, and feel no desire to learn them again. Others just don’t like going back to games they think they’ve already played. But sometimes new downloadable content can be based on the history of a favorite game. Bigsnax Island seems to fall into that category. Besides adding to the original storyline, it allows players, and I can’t stress enough, build your own house– something that really increases the replay value of the game.

This element is a tricky thing in games. It’s a fine line between replayable and repetitive, and too many titles end up on the wrong side. Some games like The Outer Worldstry to dive deep and long into their DLC and just end up exhausting. Others like mass effectmight release something like Legendary Edition and bring players back to the world they loved to get lost in years ago. Bagsnaksmeanwhile, has no history of depth mass effectbut it has wildly lovable characters, making it very easy to rewatch it multiple times.

There’s also something to be said for replaying to make sure you’ve covered every corner of her map or collected all of her hidden gems and trinkets. Not every game makes you want to complete the game, but titles like Zero dawn horizon make exploring even unnecessary areas exciting. Games like Assassin’s Creed: ValhallaMeanwhile, not deliver a good enough experience to support a huge amount of collectibles on the map. The ability to collect things when the game itself is not fun is not entirely useful. With Bagsnax, the joy is that you don’t have to collect all the bugs on your first playthrough, but they’re always there if you want to come back. In addition, the game has a new collectible (hats!), which makes visiting all these landscapes even more enjoyable.

In the end, the question of replayability is simple: Did I have enough fun the first time to want to go back? Not all games pass this test; and to be honest, not all games need it. Bagsnakshowever, when it was released in 2020, it never got the time or attention it deserved. Bigsnax Islandthe game gives everyone a second chance to reveal their hidden charms.


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