Bear With Me: Episode 3 (PC) Review

Developer/Publisher: Exordium Games || Overall: 4.0/10

Click here for the Bear With Me: Episode 2 review.

I “beared” with this game for nearly ten hours spread out over a year. What we got for a third and final episode was underwhelming at best.  The last throws of the story went in a direction that took me by surprise — in a bad way.  Three banana cookies later, I’m completely in awe of the lack of gameplay Bear With Me: Episode 3 has and how much of the creative capital went towards the boring, sappy, and superficially contrived story.

The story could have gone in a lot of different directions, and perhaps I could have guessed where the story was heading, but we are left with something limp and illogical.  If it had to deal with subject matter that was going on, it might have actually been worthwhile.  I may have even been able to sweep issues with the story under the rug if there had been more gameplay; the entire episode is a cycle of ten minutes of gameplay and then thirty minutes of story, until the last act where it’s about half story and half lazily-designed puzzles and dialogue trees.  Why wasn’t it just a visual novel if they were so uninterested in having a game?  There weren’t as many puzzles or extra objects to click on compared to previous episodes and the jokes were almost completely excised — quite a departure from the “selling points” touted for the title. There are multiple endings, but none of the choices you made throughout really seemed to have mattered, or at least they didn’t make it obvious that something was affected in any particular way.

Most importantly, the conclusion to this long story needed to bring worthwhile closure.  There was no pay off from the creepy imagery portrayed in any of the three episodes.  The antagonist doesn’t get brought to justice.  Nothing really foreshadowed what the “point” of the story was until the last thirty minutes where you could instantly see where it was headed.  There was never anything smart or worthwhile happening.  The story hit a wall and since I couldn’t come to care for Amber’s character or the situation she is in due to the ridiculousness of the plot devices, I was left simply groaning.  Amber still remained as emotionally detached as ever except for a pivotal moment just before the end sequence — I was frankly surprised they even bothered animating something new for her.

In my experience, the audio was buggy and dialogue cut off at the last word often.  The time it took for the next line of dialogue was very short and didn’t sound natural (not exclusive to this episode, I might add).  Oddly, this episode was noticeably littered with weird typos or grammar issues, unlike the first two episodes.  The art is about equal to what has been seen before, and much of it re-used except for the new locales and a couple of new incidental characters.  Only a couple of characters show up more than one time, but the majority of the characters you’ve ever met through the entirety of the three episodes ended up being throwaways; their fates are of no concern because you’re never given a reason to care for them.

There’s really not much more to say about the game without completely spoiling it.

**SPOILERS**

**SPOILERS**

Basically, the story doesn’t matter.  The last thirty minutes of the game is the basis for the entire conflict, and we find the underlying reason we are in this mess is “banana cookies.”

Banana cookies??????????? Yes, that’s right folks.

Here’s the situation: if you are deathly allergic to bananas, yet your parents buy and bake cookies with them then only feed them to your brother, that is considered child endangerment.  Your parents are playing with literal fire keeping bananas in the house to begin with.  But these idiots are cooking them, having the fumes go everywhere, and also have to constantly worry how their ten-year old daughter might eat a banana product because she’s a dumb kid.  Not to mention, feeding supposedly-tasty banana cookies to her brother exclusively while only giving the daughter shitty cookies to eat instead… What the fuck did they think was going to happen?

So, why did banana cookies play a pivotal role in this story?  Amber eats a banana cookie, she’s about to die, choking on the floor, the parents call a cab to take her to the hospital, then decide its a good idea to leave their young son at home, alone, while they are dealing with this easily preventable, yet important issue.  It just so happens while the son is at home, a fire happens in the apartment below and then he dies of carbon monoxide poisoning.  …Banana cookies?????  WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON????  Why are they calling a cab to go to the hospital with a choking child?  CALL A DAMN AMBULANCE!  PUT THESE PARENTS IN JAIL, TAKE THEIR CHILDREN AWAY FROM THEM.  Why didn’t they just take their son with them???? I didn’t even know banana cookies existed until now!

So, the brother is dead; I could see that coming.  What I didn’t see is how little any of the story of Bear With Me actually had to do with this seemingly important story point, which they used as the linchpin for our emotion in feeling sorry for Amber.  However, that’s not what the story is about at all.  It’s about her relationship with her teddy bear.  Yet, there are also many other unexplained questions. Why is her imagined world rebelling against her?  Why does Amber forget things?  If this fire played such a big part in Amber’s life, why are fires used so sparingly in events throughout the story? Why does it seem like she has the pop culture knowledge of a 30-something year old?  Most of all, why is she seeing crazy shit?

If the game were brave, it would have addressed these issues in a more serious way.  I thought it was obvious this was all pointing towards some sort of serious domestic child abuse situation or a traumatic event that she actively witnessed which caused her imagination to show fucked up things to her, or something like that.  Instead, we got banana cookies and being told that the antagonist of the game was Amber all along. Whatever the fuck that means.  Also, why did Amber really even care about her brother?  We see and know nothing about their relationship to make us care that this brother even existed.  It would have been more interesting had he NEVER existed.  I suppose the brother being dead could count as the “traumatic event” that I asked for, but again, we don’t see how it could be since we know N-O-T-H-I-N-G about their relationship, not to mention no outright hints or foreshadowing to this fact.  Amber was the focus of the story throughout, and the brother was supposed to be a plot device, not the plot.  We never find out why Amber is looking for her dead brother in the attic, either, when she should have known her brother was dead; this leads back to the question of why she forget things.  There was never a concerted effort of actually finding the brother because we were too sidetracked with pop culture jokes.

The “red cloth” was supposed to be important, I guess, since it was actually colored red, as opposed to everything else that was in grayscale.  Across three episodes, it ended up only taking up inventory space and was barely ever used.  Of course this is an equally contrived plot device as it is ripped from a firefighter’s uniform by Amber on the day of the fire — first, how in the hell can a 10 year old girl rip a firefighter’s uniform, and second, I’ve never even heard of a red firefighter uniform, so that definitely shows a strange cultural divide despite supposedly taking place in America. It would seem to make sense since banana cookies must be more popular elsewhere in the world.  It must also be another cultural thing where you don’t call an ambulance, but call a taxi to take you to the hospital, because we all know those get to your house faster than an ambulance.

I remember they had planned for five episodes, but it seems they cut those plans and dumped the rest of whatever they had in mind into Episode 3.  The mystery fell flat after losing its way, and there was nothing that made me feel like it was worth the time investment when all was said and done.  What really gets me is the lack of gameplay sections and how everything is just so… misplaced.  The never-ending forest thing didn’t make much sense in its inclusion, nor did the trippy horror dungeon located within, since none of the horror-type imagery mattered.  There’s also “gaps” in the story where it felt like I missed an entire act and no one was going to clue me in on any of what happened.  It would seem important to have a complete story, but I guess I’m expecting too much.

So, I’m sad to see how this all ended up.  It took nearly a year to figure out Bear With Me is not worth the time investment.  The biggest pun of the game really was the title itself, after all.

 

The Love Pentagram

There once were five roommates who lived together.  They all were each other’s boyfriends and girlfriends, but with a twist.  They loved two people, but one of the two people they loved did not love them.  Hence, “The Love Pentagram” was formed.

That was until they all blew up!  Someone stole 42 dollars from the community jar for grocery shopping and someone didn’t like that, we don’t know who, but they turned on the stove and then lit a match and it went kablooey.

When all the dust settled, the remains of the five roommates were arranged in a pentagram floating above the rubble.  The firefighters and police officers were astounded at the floating dead bodies and the weird laser beams pointing connecting to each other.

The firefighters blasted the five floating bodies with water, but nothing happened.  The police officers blasted the bodies with bullets, and then tasers, and then rubber band balls, and then doughnuts.  Water, metal, electricity, rubber, and even sugar didn’t break the demonic magic that held the five bodies in place.

Four days and three nights passed, as bureaucratic excuses and decisions were given to the cityfolk as to the new disturbance that was causing traffic on all the edges of the city of Bookhaven.  This was worse than the time they were fixing the sewers.  Everything was backed up then, even toilets!

That was when they called in the heavy artillery.  Rhyluf Gufgilo, Civil Engineer Extraordinaire, was called in to alleviate the situation and make everything flow smoothly again as the oddly transfixed demonic Love Pentagram showed no signs of change after four days.  Over the next 37 days, a large apparatus was installed underneath the city to rotate the city in such a way that no one would have to drive to get to where they wanted to go!  Everyone on the east side of town would get to the western side without very much effort at all!  All it took was a button press at one’s behest and they would make the city rotate.

It was only after the apparatus was installed that people realized this did very little to solve the problem.  Everyone who wanted to go east now had to go west, and the people who needed to go west had to go east, and the people who had to go north had to go south, and the people who wanted to go south had to go north!  It was all very confusing, and it made things even more confusing, like this sentence.  Sometimes people who wanted to go west, had to go north!  Sometimes people who wanted to go north, had to go north!  It’s ridiculous!!!

The Love Pentagram began to change as a result of the constant rotating that had been going on.  The Love Pentagram began to constantly rotate back and forth and then began to spin rapidly in an oscillating motion, like a washing machine.  The citizens of Bookhaven became concerned and a large group began to gather around as people had begun to abandon their cars and started to walk wherever they needed to go in town.

Without warning, in the middle of the day, 5 days after the rotating apparatus was installed underneath the city, it began to collapse into the center of the Love Pentagram!  More than just collapsing, though – it seemed like it was flushing down a toilet into the hole and all of Bookhaven was being sucked into the center of the hole.  People were screaming as they tried to run away from the power of the Love Pentagram.  No one could escape it when they saw it happening, and no one knew what would happen when they fell into it.

In less than three hours, the city of Bookhaven had been eradicated, leaving only the Love Pentagram left.  The Ruins of Bookhaven, as the area is now called, had only a sewer system to show for it and it all lead into the center.

Where did all of Bookhaven go, you may ask?  A new subterranean city was established underneath Bookhaven, called Bookhell.  All of the trapped citizens of Bookhaven and their buildings, houses, and cars were there, forever.

Moral: Don’t shit where you sleep.

 

#22095: DonutLover -> davepoobond

davepoobond is on a dating site… and then…

DonutLover: hey

davepoobond: hi

davepoobond: how’s it going

DonutLover: slowly..tired but not sleepy…

DonutLover: hows your night going

davepoobond: not bad, just trying to waste the last couple of hours of the day before going to sleep

DonutLover: i hear ya

DonutLover: how has this site been for you

davepoobond: pretty crappy actually, dont really get many interactions from people

davepoobond: you’re the 2nd person to actually say more than 1 thing to me heh

davepoobond: how about for you

DonutLover: hah, same deal, i look through these profiles and mostly find myself thinking …why does he have his shirt off or what a retard…i know…harsh critic

davepoobond: i see nothing but variations of “please keep your shirt on” or stuff like that on girls profiles

DonutLover: haha..really

davepoobond: yeah, its getting kinda boring at this point. i dont see any girls without their shirts on, so i’m wondering what i’m missing

DonutLover: im pretty sure theres some sluty gals around….put some effort into looking davepoobond

davepoobond: hahah well that was a joke 😛

DonutLover: “no”,,,,,”really”….?! lol

davepoobond: 😉

davepoobond: so whats your favorite kind of doughnut

DonutLover: Jelly filled…what about you

davepoobond: old-fashioned

davepoobond: as long as it doesnt taste like carrots

davepoobond: ive had one that tasted like carrots, it was very confusing

DonutLover: carrots?…were you high?

DonutLover: Kidding kidding

DonutLover: 🙂

davepoobond: no, it was the morning, so might as well have been

DonutLover: hahaha….

DonutLover: So…how was your monday

davepoobond: it was a normal monday i suppose. went to work and then came back home and watched some netflix

davepoobond: how about yours

DonutLover: well..didnt have to work..apparently its a presidents bday or something..but i did have to go fix some major paperwork mistakes i hid earlier in the week

DonutLover: what do you do for milk money kiddo

davepoobond: well uh Martin Luther King wasn’t a president, but i guess that’s close enough haha 😛

DonutLover: im glad you get my sarcasm..o.0

davepoobond: just makin sure!

davepoobond: i do video editing for an investigations company and freelance video editing as well on the side

DonutLover: sounds….entertaining…..

DonutLover: dot dot dot..lol

davepoobond: very. i’ve always been good with computers, and i love to act smart about things people dont know about, and no one knows anything about video, so therein lies where i make money

davepoobond: and i can rub it in people’s faces too and its easier to act like i know what im doing

DonutLover: arent you charming…hah, i must say i am jealous of tech geeks…there so useful..them and wilderness firefighters..

davepoobond: are you around a lot of fires in the wilderness?

DonutLover: no..but i mean..knowing me..im pretty sure..itll happen

davepoobond: guess it’d be good to keep a pocket fire extinguisher then

DonutLover: they have those?

davepoobond: sure. imagination makes anything possible.

DonutLover: hmmmm….itd be less weight if i just brought a wilderness ff along though

davepoobond: but how would he fit in your pocket

DonutLover: obviously gamers dudes dont use logics much..eh davebond

DonutLover: id carry him on my back

DonutLover: dah

davepoobond: how long have you had a profile for

DonutLover: not sure..i made it along time ago.and havent been on in a while…

davepoobond: into any movies at all?

DonutLover: classics…what are you into

davepoobond: everything

DonutLover: agh…thats specific

davepoobond: i was a film major, so there isn’t a movie that i can’t or won’t watch

davepoobond: the absolute worst movie i have ever seen was Da Hip Hop Witch

davepoobond: and i almost turned it off it was so terrible

DonutLover: haha…awkward

DonutLover: why were you even watching it?

davepoobond: whats your favorite classic movie then

davepoobond: cause i heard Eminem was in it, and that it was supposed to be a parody of The Blair Witch Project

davepoobond: and i thought he was going to be going through the woods with some middle schoolers

davepoobond: but it was nothing like that at all

DonutLover: hahahaha…goodness….i like how that appeals to you..well my classics are not the norms of the designated, i just prefer black and whites, anything with spencer tracey and older war flics..

davepoobond: spencer tracey huh.

DonutLover: for some reason i have no interest in modern comedy..like those bachlor films

DonutLover: tracy gable wayne..i know im a patriot

davepoobond: touch of evil and philadelphia are a couple of ones ive seen that i like

davepoobond: citizen kane until the end was great. i thought the ending was dumb

DonutLover: ive never seen citizen kane

DonutLover: what happens at the ending

davepoobond: geez i cant spoil the ending for you

davepoobond: there’d be no point in watching it

DonutLover: exactly

DonutLover: help a stranger out

DonutLover: odds are….youll enjoy it

davepoobond: enjoy what?

davepoobond: spoiling a movie?

DonutLover: haha….fine ill google it

DonutLover: goodness

davepoobond: at least im not the catalyst

DonutLover: you and your big words

davepoobond: indubitably

DonutLover: i concure

DonutLover: cure

DonutLover: hah

davepoobond: making up words now? awkward

DonutLover: awkwardly awesome

davepoobond: that was actually an inside joke.

davepoobond: cause i’ve made about oh i dont know… 6000 words

DonutLover: and how far has that got ya craphead

davepoobond: i dont know, ill let you know when it gets me somewhere

DonutLover: haha…so i guess well never know then

davepoobond: i found this one girl’s profile where she says she wouldnt mind sleeping on a grave for a first date

DonutLover: shes a keeper

She leaves the chat. Apparently she wasn’t very interested.

 

Joke #9226

In a small Southern town there was a “Nativity Scene” that showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it. One small feature bothered me. The three wise men were wearing fireman’s helmets. Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left.

At a “Quick Stop” on the edge of town, I asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets. She exploded into a rage, yelling at me, “You damn Yankees never do read the Bible!” I assured her that I did, but simply couldn’t recall anything about firemen in the Bible. She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and ruffled through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a passage.

Sticking it in my face she said “See, it says right here, ‘The three wise man came from afar.'”

 

Joke #8868

Three guys were on a trip to Saudi Arabia. One day, they stumbled into a harem tent filled with over 100 beautiful women. They started getting friendly with all the women, when suddenly the Sheik came in. “I am the master of all these women. No one else can touch them except me. You three men must pay for what you have done today. You will be punished in a way corresponding to your profession.”

The Sheik turns to the first man and asks him what he does for a living.

“I’m a cop,” says the first man.

“Then we will shoot your penis off!”, said the Sheik.

He then turned to the second man and asked him what he did for a living.

“I’m a fireman,” said the second man.

“Then we will burn your penis off!”, said the sheik.

Finally, he asked the last man, “And you, what do you do for a living?”

And the third man answered, “I’m a lollipop salesman!”