Well here we are with a Wii title with the b movie sounding name of "Escape from Bug Island." Look around the internet and you'll see not one professional critic give this game a good review. They slam it for it's controls, sound, graphics, gameplay, everything. Despite all this, the thought of being trapped on an island with gigantic creepy crawlers and other icky beasts and being able to wack them with my Wii remote was just to appealing for me to ignore. This game has been getting a bad rap, and the complaints some people have with it are justified, but the flaws did not get in the way of the fun I've had with it. Okay, onto the review.
Story: There isn't much story in the game. You play as Ray, and you have arrived on Beelzebub island with your friends, love interest Michelle, and show off Mike. I won't go much into the story, except to say you will eventually find out why there are big bugs everywhere, and there are no twists or big revelations. Pretty much straight forward stuff. Just kill bugs and get off the island. You'll find notes around the island from someone who was there before you, but they don't really contribute to the story, though they do offer clues that can help you and, it's neat to read about somebody elses experience on the island. The dialogue in the game, as well as some of the notes you read, is cheesy sometimes. Whether this was on purpose or not I don't know. Most of the time when people talk you have to read the dialogue, and a handfull of times, usually during an important cutscene, you'll hear their voices.
Graphics: I really liked the graphics in this game. Some have compared them to PSONE games. This is wrong. The graphics are more like an earlier PS2 title. This is not a big budget game like Gears of War so don't go expecting that. The graphics get the job done. The characters, insects and other creatures you fight are well designed in my opinion and look really neat. The forests, river, and caves you explore look really good, and is very foggy. It's hard to see far ahead of you in the levels because of the fog, but turning on your flashlight helps a whole lot. It's especially creepy to run around and flip on your light, only to see a creature a bit aways that you coulnd't see before. The lighting from the flashlight is really good, though don't expect shadows or anything like that. Overall really good graphics.
Audio: The audio is well done too. Only about five or six pieces of music in the game, and one of those only plays during the movie that is shown before the title screen. But what music is there is pretty good. You have the heart pounding music that plays when a big creature spots you, and the dramatic music that plays during cutscenes. As I said before there isn't much spoken dialogue, but the voice actors do a pretty good job.
While you are running around you won't hear any music, until you see an insect to fight, but you will here the sounds of the island. You'll hear birds, other insects, as well as the big insects you fight. In fact, sometimes you'll be able to hear the enemy before seeing it, and be able to tell what kind of creature it is just from the sounds it makes. I especially liked the screams each creature made when they died. Overall, I liked the audio in the game.
Controls: This is a slight problem area here, and can turn many gamers off. The controls are wonkey. But I was able to get used to them for the most part. You have to use the nunchuk attachment, or as Nintendo likes to call it, "Nunchuk Style"! Let's start with the nunchuk. The stick moves Ray. Push it a little bit and he walks, a little more and he jogs, all the way and he runs. The C button turns the flashlight on and off, and the Z button switches weapons. Now, Ray controls like a tank. If you are running and want to change direction, you cannot just run left or right. You have to stop, turn the direction you want to go, then run. You can step back and move forward, but no strafing. This is awkward but I got used to it. Though it did make dealing with some enemies a chore. Being able to strafe, or at least having a 180 degree turn move would have helped a lot.
The remote is used for your weapons. You'll get melee weapons like a machete, and scythe, as well as other weapons. Thrown weapons like rocks and grenades. And a handgun and shotgun later in the game. To swing your melee weapons you have to hold down the B button and then swing. While the B button is pressed, you cannot move, which means you cannot run and swing at the same time. Again, I got used to this but it would have helped if you could move and swing at the same time. Oh well. Ray doesn't mimic your arm movement or anything, he has his own animations so regardless of how you swing the remote, he will swing it according to his animations. While holding the B button and pushing up on the control stick, Ray will swing his weapon higher, pull the stick down, and he'll swing low. Letting go of the stick will make him swing at his regular height.
To throw a rock or grenade, you have to press and hold the A button, which brings you into first person mode and brings up a crosshair, press and hold the B button to lock your crosshair into place, then flick the remote to throw. This takes some getting used to but it is fun once you get it down. Same with the guns excecpt you don't have to lock your crosshair in place. Just point and pull the trigger to shoot. Also, you can use the nunchuk and remote to dodge roll left or right. Shake the nunchuk to roll left, the remote to roll right.
Gameplay: The gameplay is pretty simplistic. You start the level and you have to get to the end, killing bugs and other creatures along the way. But each level is pretty big and will require you to explore. It is very helpful to explore because sometimes you will need to find certains items that will be required to exit the level, as well as finding many items that will make things easier for you. You can find a lot of weapons by exploring. The game will help you find certain weapons, but some I found on my own. In fact the best melee weapon I used was one that I only found because I explored. You have a map, though it is only fully revealed by exploring. I was never lost and never had trouble figuring out where to go. Hot spots on the map mark places of interest, and these appear on your map whether you explored that area or not, so that helps point you in the right direction.
Another benefit of exploring is you'll find food. The game has a minor survival aspect to it. You do not get health packs or first aid kits. Instead, you get health by eating fruit, mushrooms, and canned food you find on the island. To get fruit you'll have to knock them out of the trees, and mushrooms grow out of the ground. Canned food is usually found in some of the abandoned cabins you come upon. Some of the food gives you a small amount of health, others medium, others large, and some fully restores your health. I was never too short on food, and had a good deal left over after I beat the game.
Fighting the creatures is fun. Every hit I make with my weapon makes the remote vibrate which I like. Some times an enemy will jump on you and the camera angle changes while they have a hold on you. At this point you have to shake the nunchuk and remote side to side quickly to shake them off. While swinging at an enemy you'll hurt them enough and the B button will flash on the screen. Hit the button when this happens and Ray deals a death dealing blow. A lot of times you'll hurt a creature enough to where it falls on the ground. It's not dead but you have a few seconds before it gets back up, and at that point you can stab it with a satisfying splash of blood and death scream. Each enemy has a different color of blood. Some are red, some purple, others yellow and so on. There is a handful of bossfights in the game and they are fun, and a little easy once you figure out how to beat them. The save system uses the typical horror game save points. Resident Evil uses type writers, Fatal Frame used lamps, and Bug Island uses lamps, and at one point a big candle. The lamps are usually in the cabins,but before you can light them and save, you have to find a lighter at the beginning of the game. This is easy so don't worry about not finding it. No puzzles or anything in the game. Just pretty much go through the level, explore a bit,collect items, and kill, kill, kill.
Creatures: I don't want to get too much into the enemies of the game, because I don't want to spoil some of the surprises for you. You'll fight different kinds of gigantic insects, like Mantis' and moths, as well as other non insect monsters. You can sneak by some if you are far enough away from them and have your flashlight turned off, but if you have it on, they'll see you from far off and come at you. So sometimes you'll have to decide whether or not to leave the flashlight on. For the most part each enemy attacks the same, they see you, come at you and try to kill you. But each one still has some uniquness to it. Some will just rush at you, others will walk slowly towards you before dashing at you. Some get close and jump at you, while others can jump at you from far away. So the game stays fresh with the different creatures it throws at you, and how you approach them. I have to give special mention to two though. One is the swarm of small insects that are attracted by your flashlight. Sometimes they rush up out of the ground, and if they see you,they'll come at you and can kill you in seconds. However, you can run away, and they'll follow after you, but perhaps you can find something else to get their attention away from you. These could have been an annoying enemy but they weren't. I only died from them two or three times, once was stupidity on my part. The other I have to give mention are the giant flys. They are about the size of a puppy and don't hurt you. But what they do in the game is what they do in real life,bug the crap out of you and make you swap at them. In the game they usually appear when there are other monsters about, and will fly on Ray's face, not hurting him, but making him stop and slap them off, giving the other creatures enough time to attack you.
Well, that is pretty much it. I hope my review helps your decision about whether or not to play the game. It is a good deal for the budget price, and felt I got more than my money's worth. Again, this is a smaller budget game from Japan that was brought over here so don't expect a multi million dollar masterpiece. Its a fun game where you don't have to think too much, and don't have to have fast pace action reflexes. It's a short game, I beat it in seven hours and twenty mintues. And only died nine times, and most of those were from this one part where you had to cross a bridge over lava while boulders were falling down. Well, thanks for reading my long review here and if you play this game I hope you enjoy it.