A small indie game that is meant to explore the mind of a city girl. Her home life isn’t the best with conflict with her mother and her newest sibling. After finding the ghost of a deceased cat, you collect items to give to it as tribute.
You play as Nyah accompanied by her spirit light that helps you swing through obstacles. Roadkill the cat, another spirit guides you through a mysterious empty world. Originally released on Steam in 2018, Little Bug has been released for Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Here’s our Little Bug review:
Developer: Buddy System
Platform: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X (Reviewed), Windows Windows, Linux, Mac
Release Date: November 25, 2021
A simple story of a girl named Nyah who lives with her mother and newborn sibling. On Nyah’s way home, she encounters a cat named Roadkill the cat, who guides her along paths. After coming home late from school one day, Nyah and her mother have a heated argument which causes Nyah to be transported to an imaginary world.
Through different fantasy worlds, you use your spirit light to clear obstacles and advance through a world of evil spirits. Facing your issues in the mysterious world you also find fragments of Nyah’s life with more memories to weave the story a bit more. The story is super simple, lacks some context for a lot of the issues dealing with the characters. It feels like an additive to this puzzle-platformer game.
Nyah, along with her spirit light work as a buddy system platforming mechanic. With this power, you can swing and be pulled through platforms that will help you traverse the 2.5 dimensional world. Physics-based swinging gets implemented to help with clearing puzzles and getting to candlelit checkpoints.
Throughout the fantasy worlds you visit, you will find treasures that have descriptions related to the story. Additionally, they can be either saved in your lunchbox or given as tribute to Roadkill the cat. When doing so, you can unlock special bonus levels with more rewards in it.
Progression through levels is a good pace and has generous checkpoints so you can clear segments in one run successfully. Outside of that though, there isn’t much in the way of gameplay that will keep you satisfied but will also be good through at least another run to get collectibles.
In between all of the swinging and platforming, the world is typically neon laced and dark. Giant hand-drawn hands (odd I know) line most levels and serve as an out of bounds type of mechanic but are bright hot pink lighted. Illumination on objects is good in some spaces and weird in others, like the TV for example.
A big downside, at least on the Xbox Series S, is a lot of jagged lines on items in the environment. Originally, this game was released on the PC via Steam and then later for consoles like the Switch and Xbox One; The graphics should almost reflect something better with hardware like the Xbox Series S, especially when it’s “Optimized for Series S|X”. I wasn’t too wowed by the graphics anyway, but it still looked off seeing low resolution textures with jagged lines.
You’re probably wondering where the “audio” segment is. Well, there is almost a lack of audio and I couldn’t reasonably put something there that doesn’t exist outside of some grunting sounds from enemies and steps. There’s no voice acting for the characters but it isn’t required for this type of game since text bubbles pop up to convey this.
While this game has a unique charm to it, it ultimately doesn’t feel completed and I hope that that’s the case. I did have fun piquing my brain for ways to solve some harder segments. The saddening part of the culmination with this game is that it somewhat feels empty without too much other than, gather treasures and move right.
For it’s price point, even being cheaper on other platforms, you can enjoy this cute little indie game for someone in small in your family. I found it be charming but not exactly for me. If you have an interest for a small game to add in your collection that will be a quick playthrough, this is it and you may enjoy small pieces of it.
Tiny Bug was reviewed on Xbox Series X|S using a copy provided by RedDeerGames. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Tiny Bug is available now for Windows PC (via Steam), Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.