4 ways Bugsnax: The Isle of Bigsnax is bigger, better and weirder
The free update seems far more significant than many expected, so getting it on Xbox and Switch as well is just icing on the cake.
I enjoyed my time platinuming Bugsnax back in 2020. Young Horses' game charmed me with its weird universe, goofy humour and simple but fun gameplay, so I was pleasantly surprised when the studio announced the free The Isle of Bigsnax update last October. The thought of catching a few extra creatures, making them even cooler with hats and building my own hut sounded fun enough to maybe make me reinstall the game. Getting to see around 45 minutes of the expansion has changed the tune. Not in a negative way though, as I'm now definitely downloading Bugsnax again. Let me tell you four reasons why, and one extra reason why even more of you should be very excited.
New island with new Bugsnax
Sure, we already knew The Isle of Bigsnax will let us explore a new island on the hunt for the tasty creatures, but it's far more expansive than I thought. Not only is the island big enough to have a few different biomes that can be explored seamlessly without the base game's loading screens, but it's the home of eleven new types of Bugsnax. These won't just be bigger versions of the ones we already know either, like the giant Bunger called Bunger Royale, but also completely new kinds I at least won't spoil the fun names of here. That's far more than yours truly expected from a free upgrade, but the treats don't stop there.
More options and a ton of improvements
Because having new areas to explore and Bugsnax to catch wouldn't be all that interesting if we were doing the exact same things as before, which is why the talented developers are adding some new gameplay mechanics and improving upon the ones we already know. An example of the latter is using the Buggy Ball in new ways. It's not ground-breaking, but the poor Sprout inside the plastic ball can finally be used to navigate vertical mazes to open locked doors and stuff like that.
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That's one of the smallest improvements. Some of the bigger ones take advantage of the bigger Bugsnax. We won't be able to catch these by using the traditional methods because our equipment is made for scales like that. Instead we might have to shrink them by throwing special containers at them and/or solve puzzles. Many of these will require mixing different abilities and gear like luring a new kind of giant Bugsnax with a trampoline on its back to a specific place by splashing its favourite treat on the Buggy Ball then jumping on it to reach an otherwise inaccessible area. Another example I saw had the developer cracking giant eggs by shooting some ketchup on them to make a flying old friend grab it and fly it to a very conveniently placed ancient egg-cracker. Simple and fun, just like the base game.
Top that with improvements like finally being able to fast travel, and it's clear Young Horses has taken the feedback from the base game to heart. This also shows when building your hut.
Doing favours rewards you with a secret ending and cosmetics
Many games have proved that people love building and customising their own place, but only if there are enough options. While I obviously only got a small taste of how many different ways we'll be able to customise our hut, it seemed very impressive. Those of us who've already done everything in the game won't even have to play much longer to get a ton of different chairs, tables, pictures, shelves, statues, plants, carpets, paint colours and motifs, ornaments and so much more either thanks to the new letter challenge system. These are basically favours and challenges the other villagers leave in your post box. These can be everything from the classic finding and feeding them Bugsnax to making them do something special or finding secret areas, and will reward us with new customisation options for our hut, the aforementioned hats for Bugsnax and more. These will work retroactively as well, which is why many of us will have a bunch of goodies to choose from straight away. In fact, calling it a bunch might be an understatement, as the new story will apparently take between three and four hours to complete, while completing all the challenges, gathering all the hats and such will add two to three hours on top of that. Which brings me to one final small change.
The last part of Bugsnax's story caught many of us completely off guard with its tone and themes, so Young Horses has made absolutely sure that I'll do absolutely everything in The Isle of Bigsnax by revealing that it'll affect the ending. They're careful to specify it won't be drastic changes, but that's enough to peak my curiosity.
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And it's coming to Steam, Xbox and Nintendo Switch
Bugsnax's The Isle of Bigsnax can be downloaded completely free for the Epic Games Store, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions on April 28. "But, Eirik, why do you specify the platforms when those are all the ones Bugsnax is available on?" That's of course because Bugsnax (including The Isle of Bigsnax) will launch on Steam, Xbox One, Xbox Series and Nintendo Switch the very same day. None of them will offer something unique (the Switch version will as an example not support gyro-controls), but it's still great news if you're interested in this. Especially on Xbox, as it'll be available on Game Pass from the get-go.