It's just bear-ly not Snake
Nindies are here to stay on the Switch. They are pure fun, pick-up-and-play experiences that can be taken with you and shared amongst others. Some are designed to be solo experiences, while others lean towards multiplayer party sessions. Astro Bears Party is a fantastic example of a Nindie that pulls together a group of friends for a game of stressful and frantic fun.
In the game, players each choose a bear that roams around on a shared sphere. As the bears run around the space, they leave behind a ribbon that corresponds with the player’s color. The objective of the game is to survive. Running into any ribbon will eliminate that player, and the last player standing wins that round.
Prior to any match, players can choose the number of points it takes to win, how big the size of the map should be, and also which bear they’d like to play as (each having different stats). Some bears can run faster or dash longer. Others can fly with their jet packs longer then others. Simple strategic options, such as a dash and a jump button, help to complicate the proceedings. This is often used to cut off others, with the ribbon. Because the ribbons do not deplete right away, the planetoid that the bears run around quickly fills up with more and more obstacles. Rounds are short and quick to start, triggering that Super Meat Boy feeling of replayability.
Astro Bears Party can also be a solo affair. The rules are the same; avoid the ribbon that is coming from the back of the auto-running bear, but this time the objective is to collect a jetfish that is flying down. As more jetfishes are collected, the bear runs faster, thus making it harder to avoid the ribbon spewing from behind the furry friend.
Astro Bears Party offers a very fun party experience despite its simple content. Engaging in its straightforwardness, the controls only require movement and two buttons. One session of playing with a few friends can last a solid 20 minutes, and is chockfull of stressful arguments, frantic running and jumping.
If anything could be changed, it would be nice to be able to add some cosmetics to what is a such a fast-paced game. Simple things like bear costumes, different colored ribbons, or settings in space (like a different planetoid). Regarding the single player, it is a shame that the saved high score can’t be shared online. There is no online support in the game.
Astro Bears Party relies more on the experiences that can be made by everyone playing than raw content, as not much is in wait beyond the base concept. The more players, the more stressful the situation. Visually, the game has very clean 3D models of bears that have a simple, cute design. It really is a fantastic pick–up-and-play party game, and while it doesn’t aspire to be much more than a simplistic affair, it’s fun for what it is.