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Bugsnax: Isle of Bigsnax tops everything I love about Bugsnax

Bugsnax is back with a new expansion, the Isle of Bigsnax, adding an all-new, additional island full of secrets, puzzles and, delightfully, big Bugsnax to the mix. The main addition to this new update is that players will travel to new title islands, which includes some more promising puzzle solving, a better chance to meet some of the wonderful ensemble cast, and more creative Bugsnak hunting.

But having picked up a small chunk of the upcoming free DLC, one of the biggest surprises is how developer Young Horses is also filling the experience on the adventure game’s original hub, Snaktooth Island, with a few new gameplay hooks. It’s shaping up to be a worthy reason to return to the clever world of Bugsnax, and should offer an even more immersive experience for those new to snake hunting.

Bugsnax: Isle of Bigsnax screenshots

super big

The upcoming expansion (which hasn’t announced a release date yet) has three main components to explore, but let’s discuss arguably the most prominent ones first. Players can sail to a separate, small island to investigate alongside Shelda (Jedi Fallen Order’s Debra Wilson), Chandlo (Marvel’s Spider-Man’s Yuri Lowenthal), Tiffany (Haviland Stillwell), and Floofty (Casey Mongillo). If you’ve already defeated Bugsnax and haven’t returned yet, saving the endgame will essentially throw you back right before the final sequences highlights.

The Young Horses devs who oversaw my demo explained how the combination of Snaktooth residents allows the player to spend some time with late game characters like Floofty and Shelda who may not have as much player time as others. Tiffany’s leanings toward archeology make her an ideal choice for investigation, and let’s face it, Chandlo makes everything better. The hilarious but impressively emotional writing of Bugsnax was a highlight of my first experience, and it seems the cast is as fun and endearing as ever.

The island is home to several larger Bugsnax, and my first encounter with a giant bunger proved that you can’t just catch these larger bugs like you would their smaller counterparts. You’ll need to find a way to shrink them to their size, and luckily the island has mysterious pots scattered around that will temporarily shrink them when thrown onto a larger snack. You’ll then need to perform any combination of traps (e.g. getting a bunger in the path of a tripwire thanks to the delicious smell of ketchup) in order to be able to capture it.

These souped-up Bugsnax are as intimidating as they are amusing to encounter, and while I’ve only seen a handful in my short time on the island, the extra steps required to catch them can make catching even a single enemy a more complicated and make process more engaging . Also, the puzzlers I encountered in this new location (which you can quickly travel back and forth to Snaktooth from if you wish) were significantly more involved as well. While on the island you essentially follow the quest lines for all four of your companions, and I saw part of Triffany’s while we were exploring a mysterious ruin on the island. It led me down a path of some environmental puzzles, like lighting a torch to open a door while battling Bugsnax trying to extinguish the flame, but I rather enjoyed a series of mazes found around the island. You’ll use your Strabby in a Ball, one of the earlier pieces of equipment unlocked in the main campaign, but these trials are far more complicated and satisfying to solve than previous uses of the item, and require a lot of precise timing while maneuvering my traverse up and down falling pillars, spinning platform wheels and avoiding the occasional bugsnak in the way.

The Strabby Puzzles are a fun challenge on the Isle of Bigsnax.

The Strabby Puzzles are a fun challenge on the Isle of Bigsnax.

These puzzles felt a step up from the original campaign in terms of their pleasing complexity, and I’m hoping what I’ve seen is a sign of what’s to come in each questline in the DLC, as these puzzles have managed to be played with witty dialogue, endearing characters, and hilarious Bugsnax encounters while maintaining a fairly high pace. Young Horses said the DLC will take three to four hours to complete, and at least from what I’ve seen, Bigsnax Isle’s content didn’t miss a beat to evoke what I loved about the original campaign, and adding depth to the hunt and exploring at the same time.

A home for your snackcation

But the additions for Bugsnax aren’t just found on these new shores – a key new element is a customizable home for your character. While the residents of Snaksburg had custom-made huts, the player character was never treated equally, but instead of speaking for each player, Young Horses lets you build your own dwelling.

Filbo will introduce players to their property, which starts as an unfinished building but grows in scope and even expands to a second floor. (This will happen over a longer period of time for players starting from scratch.) You will collect new items via a new mail system – letters sent to the player contain new items (many themed based on who sent them Has). . And while you’ll get some of these by playing through the existing campaign and completing the side quests already present in Bugsnax, you’ll need to get over 100 letters, and that means you’ll encounter new challenges and objectives to complete for more interior decorating purposes. The more you do, the more furniture, wallpaper, lighting fixtures, and more you’ll have to edit, and the developers estimate that these new quests will add a few more hours to the experience for players.

Players will finally have their own Snaktooth home.

Players will finally have their own Snaktooth home.

It’s nice to finally have a place in Snaksburg to call home, but the team has come up with some very clever decorations (including an adorable knitted mayor doll, a Chandlo-lier and more) that allow for some wild combinations should. It’s a nice extra layer that either makes playing the whole game more robust or gives players a reason to explore the whole island of Snaktooth instead of just sailing to the new island.

Last but not least, Bugsnax can now wear hats! Yes, you’ll find Bugsnax headgear all over the island (it’s practically like chasing a Shiny in any Pokemon game), and they can be returned to Grambles’ Bugsnax stable. There you can see your hats, get hints about what you might be missing, and toss a cowboy hat or strabby hat at whatever creatures you currently have in the exhibit.

While Bugsnax in Hats is an instant hit for me, I’m impressed with how thorough an overall supplement Young Horses has put together for his memorable, surprisingly deep adventure. As with Bugsnax’s main campaign, there’s a lot more to it than you might expect (and the developers have unearthed some additional secrets they don’t want to reveal just yet), and that seems absolutely true of the Bigsnax expansion. I was expecting a new area and hopefully a big Bugsnax, and that hope was definitely fulfilled. But the surprising addition of the letter system and its new quests and rare hat hunt for Bugsnax adds even more layers to a charming, fun and unique world that I’ve already come to love.

Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior Features Editor, PlayStation Lead and Host of Podcast Beyond! He is the proud dog father of a boy named Loki. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbusch.

https://www.ign.com/articles/bugsnax-isle-of-bigsnax-dlc-expansion-preview Bugsnax: Isle of Bigsnax tops everything I love about Bugsnax

Fry Electronics Team

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