You should play… Bugsnax, by Young Horses

Monster Hunter x Frog Detective x body horror? It's Bugsnax! Don't think about it too hard!
A Bugsnax screenshot featuring a grumpus holding a bugsnax.

Sometimes, we all need a little levity in your life. At ScreenHub, we often focus on the serious side of videogames — the industrial, artistic, and introspective. But sometimes, you just want to have fun, and that’s exactly what Bugsnax has to offer. Developed by Chicago-based studio Young Horses, this Playstation exclusive is absurd, gentle, slapstick fun for all ages. ScreenHub’s games and digital content lead, Jini Maxwell, recommends the game as the perfect antidote to the lockdown blues.

Read their thoughts below:

Are you looking for a game that pairs the aesthetic of Frog Detective with the gameplay of Monster Hunter? If so, Bugsnax is the game for you. In this candy-coloured adventure game, you play as an intrepid journalist who journeys to Snaktooth Island to discover the secrets of their endemic species, the bugsnax.

If this all sounds ridiculous to you, you’re totally right: it is ridiculous. And it’s a total blast.

Bugsnax are pretty much what it says on the tin. Part-bug, part-snack, these cute, edible creatures are named with the worst  puns you can imagine: think Inchwrap, for something that’s part inchworm, part lunchwrap, or Mothza Supreme for a creature that’s part pizza, part moth.

READ: Grace Bruxner’s Frog Detective is moving on

‘Body horror, but make it adorable and fun’ is weirdly a prevailing theme of Bugsnax. You hunt through the biomes of Snaktooth island, discovering the island’s secrets, and catching these strange creatures for the Grumpuses, who enthusiastically eat them, experiencing wacky transformations as they do.

The island is pretty, the dialogue is totally silly, and collective bugsnax fact in your journal is a delight to any collector. But the best part of the game is the hunt: you learn how to lure different bugsnax out of their hidey holes and crevasses with a variety of tricks and tools. For example, the bunger, a half-beetle-half-hamburger, is fatally drawn to the scent of tomato sauce – douse a different creature in the stuff, and the hefty beetle will run it down, knocking it unconscious in the process, and thus making it easier to catch. If this all sounds ridiculous to you, you’re totally right: it is ridiculous. And it’s a total blast. 

The game perfectly matched the energy of its theme song, a bouncy, pop-infused bop called ‘It’s Bugsnax!’ by the effervescent Kero Kero Bonito. If you’re looking for serious introspection, or complex, challenging systems, it’s not for you. But for pure, lighthearted fun? I can’t recommend a game more highly than Bugsnax

Bugsnax is available on Playstation 4 and 5, as well as PC and Mac.

Jini Maxwell is a writer and curator who lives in Naarm. They are an assistant curator at ACMI, where they also host the Women & Non-binary gamers club. They write about videogames and the people who make them. You can find them on Twitter @astroblob