|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Spike||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Eidos interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 25, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
In the realm of video game journalism, Escape from Bug Island is a difficult game to have to review. On one hand, it is coming out on a system that is already home to one of the best survival horror games ever, Resident Evil 4. On the other hand though, you want to give every game you review a fair shake no matter its competition. Fortunately for me, even with a fair shake, Escape from Bug Island is just a bad game, making any and all comparisons to the brilliant Resident Evil 4 completely invalid and unnecessary.
The first thing you will notice when you start playing Escape from Bug Island is just how dated the graphics look. The graphics in this game can best be compared to those found in a mediocre first-generation Dreamcast game. The characters and enemies in the game visually range anywhere between cartoony at best to downright terrible at worst. Not to mention the fairly drab and uninspiring environments that the game has you playing through. Fortunately though, you won't be able to see a majority of the game's environments due to the excessive amount of fog that is constantly obscuring your vision. Initially, I was annoyed by the overuse of fog in Escape from Bug Island but after playing for only a short period of time, it began to seem more like a gift from the developers. Ugly is best administered in very small doses.
Even if a game is graphically underwhelming, good gameplay can still make it worth playing through. That being said, Escape from Bug Island doesn't play particularly well either. Throughout the game, you will encounter a very limited number of melee and ranged weapons. Melee weapons are mainly used by holding down the B trigger while swinging the Wii-mote up and down. You are also given the option of holding down the A button for first-person aiming so that you can thrust your melee weapons at enemies. This is quite disorienting and is very rarely of any real use. Players will also make use of this aiming perspective for their ranged weapons. For throwing weapons such as rocks, sandbags, and grenades, you will need to hold down the A button to aim, pull the B trigger to choose your target, and then swing the Wii-mote forward while releasing the B trigger to throw them. If this sounds overly complicated and difficult to you, that is because it is. Add to this the fact that your enemies are constantly moving and if you try to move your character to compensate, it throws your aiming completely off and you will most likely just end up ignoring your ranged weapons entirely. Even when the game does finally give you guns to use (about halfway through the game), the aiming unfortunately works just as poorly for them as well. The only advantage of the guns comes from the fact that you won't need to swing the Wii-mote to fire.
If a game is both ugly and doesn't play well, the storyline must be engaging to keep the player interested in playing through the title. You will realize that this isn't the case in Escape from Bug Island the first time you hear any of this game's dialogue. The story revolves around three characters: Michelle, Ray, and Mike. Michelle loves studying bugs and is the reason that you all travel to Bug Island. Ray is the character that you will control throughout the game and has a secret crush on Michelle. Mike is Ray's friend who tags along on the trip to try to date Michelle before Ray has a chance. For a mature title, this game's dialogue sounds disturbingly similar to that of the content of notes that would be passed around while in grade school. Most of the dialogue in the game isn't voiced as well so you will need to read through almost all of the game's lackluster story.
The three of you land on Bug Island with the intention of studying the unique insects that only reside there. After a fairly mind-numbing discussion between the three characters, Michelle decides to wonder off from camp with Mike and Ray quickly following. The rest of the game has you trying to find and save both Michelle and Mike from the various dangers of the island and escape to freedom. This may sound somewhat interesting at first, but the majority of this game breaks down into finding the yellow dot on the radar and reading the note that was left that gives you another yellow dot to find. About three fourths of the way into the game, there is an odd occurrence (spoiler free) that actually forces you to play through a decent portion of the game all over again. While it was at least a good attempt to make the story more interesting, having to slog back through the beginning of the game a second time is extremely annoying. Worst of all, Escape from Bug Island only takes about six hours to complete with at least one hour of the game being reused.
Sound is also a particularly low point in this title. There is very little voice acting present in the game and the sound effects are all fairly cheesy sounding, especially when played through the Wii-mote's speaker. The minimal amount of voice acting is also poorly done and sounds ridiculous as well as fairly lifeless most of the time. You will also get the opportunity to hear Ray say "Now all I need is a napkin" more times than you can count when picking up food based health items.
With terrible graphics, boring game objectives, frustrating, at best, controls, and mind-numbing character interaction, Escape from Bug Island sets a new low point for Wii games and video games in general. Perhaps the best way to escape from Bug Island is to completely avoid it. Those looking to vacation on Bug Island should definitely book other arrangements as soon as possible. Even if the Wii had no other survival horror games, I still couldn't recommend this game to anyone. You are better off just playing Resident Evil 4 while you wait for Manhunt 2 to eventually be released.
CCC Freelance Writer