Bear With Me, developed by Exordium Games, is one of the most delightful calls back to childhood you can find on Steam. You will be filled with childlike imagination, where you can create your own world with your favourite toys. I invite you to come through time with me in this noir special.
Bear With Me is a noir inspired adventure that is episodic in its nature. We come along with Amber, a little girl who has awoken from her nightmare to the threat of someone called “the red man”, so she must partner up with her ‘Ted E. Bear’ detective to uncover the plot. The game is a typical point and click adventure with many treats and puzzles hiding in the environment. While some of these types of games can be too easy or tedious, Bear With Me does a good job at making the solutions practical and in some cases quite challenging. While the episodic nature may not sound too exciting for everyone, the episodes themselves pace very well and allow you to complete one within around 1-2 hours. The two currently released episodes were within around six months of each other which can be a while to wait for a story to continue, but if you pick up the games now you can get a decent amount of playtime before having to wait for the next one. That’s enough about the technical details for now, I want to start looking at the amazing atmosphere of this game that had me laughing for hours.
Bear With Me does a brilliant job at creating a Noir atmosphere with characters and sounds that help to immerse yourself in the story. The game is incredibly self-aware and takes this to the extreme when it can. At one point, I was simply looking at a key hanging from a cupboard and Ted E. Bear says a pun about it hanging around, facing the camera with The Who playing in the background. It’s one of those moments where you stare blank at the screen for a moment while you realise what happened, and that’s why I must give the game credit. It remains cute while having serious tones in the right places. It’s already cute enough when everyone is an animal or toy of some form, but then you get to know the range of characters.
The voice acting is also equally as brilliant as the writing. Characters like Ted fit the role they are meant to play as a quiet, daring, detective character who spends his days in the office with a glass of whiskey. The voices of all the extras are done great as well, two thugs I encountered made me laugh and feel like I was watching an all Noir film. Our main character Amber also sounds like a scared young girl who just wants her parents, she is motivated to be scared as the red man asks questions about her and strikes fear into all her friends.
While the game does only have a few hours of game time now, there is no way you can fault the quality of what you’ve got. Someone could pick this up as a quick mystery game to pass the time, or you could get into the story and investigate your surroundings and figure out the universe. It offers room for players to interpret what is going on themselves. While I won’t give spoilers to the story I will say that I can’t help but see Amber as someone with a massive imagination, as she imagines this story as a coping mechanism for something in her personal life. But then that’s just how I see the universe that the developers have created. It’s an almost childlike feel of seeing these tropes and toys you remember as a kid and having a connection to that. I’m certainly sure that I’m not the only one who went on space adventures with a trusty monkey teddy when I was younger.
Bear With Me does an excellent job at setting a rich universe with a fitting atmosphere. The developers love to make jokes about themselves with some clever fourth wall breaks. They have also said that they plan for a total of 5 episodes, with one releasing every 2-3 months. Despite a wait, it’s safe to say the game is worth investing in. I wouldn’t be put off by lack of total game time as it manages to tell an interesting story within such a small space of time. The next episodes are on my buy list when they come out, and I would encourage you do the same.