So ya got a bug problem, eh? Gigantic, ugly, multiplying critters bringing you down? Are your scientists being consumed by spider-venus flytrap hybrids at an alarming rate? Well, fret no more, good citizen! Simply pick up your phone and dial The Bug Butcher! One of our trained professionals will rush down to your outpost/science lab/space station/elevator in no time at all. If you’re not completely satisfied—well, that won’t matter will it? No refunds…
The Bug Butcher for the Nintendo Switch is absolute fun in its purest form. The game resembles classic arcade “panic” games like Pang, TumblePop and Super Buster Bros, but takes the concepts of those older titles and reinvents them in spectacular fashion. It’s frantic, fast-paced and loaded with content.
Players begin the game with a cutscene outlining the minimal plot and a basic tutorial demonstrating the primary moves the player will be using. The tutorial is a side-scrolling adventure section where the scientists who hired you prep you for your dangerous mission. The scientists look conspicuously like Nintendo Game Boys with arms and legs. It is uncertain as to whether they’re alien or human.
Following the quick tutorial, you enter the lab facility. Against the backdrop of a huge machine, the bugs commence their attack! The A button fires your weapon and can be held down for continuous firing. The interesting thing about this built-in turbo feature is that it isn’t always the best way to battle the infestation. Certain weapons—the chain lightning immediately springs to mind—function better with a single button press. It’s a subtle nuance, but it dramatically improves the gameplay. The B button controls a limited dashing ability that comes in handy throughout the missions, especially in later stages where obstacles seek to prevent successful eradication of the bug menace.
Stages are timed, ostensibly to provide a panic challenge. Plot-wise, the timer indicates when the scientists will gas the lab to eradicate the bugs on their own. The game’s “mission” mode is 30 stages of non-stop action. Each room has several stages and stage-based obstacles that alter the gameplay and provide additional challenges. For instance in the Steelworks level, a hammer pounds up and down in the center of the map. In the final stage, lasers randomly block your movement. In between each set of courses, there is an elevator ride devoid of power-ups that is effectively a boss battle. It’s a nice touch that adds a decent challenge to the game.
The enemies range from round, pink bugs that break apart when fired upon to giant insect monstrosities that shoot lasers in all directions. The variety of the bugs is amazing and makes for a well-rounded gaming experience. They come in waves during each level, with different attacks and patterns.
The challenge is consistent as well—only in the final area do things heat up to a point of frustration. Power-ups are provided throughout your quest by our Game Boy scientist friends and include weapons like a lightning gun and a gatling gun, double damage modifier, missiles and a sweet laser. It also helps that there are three game modes (easy, medium, hard) that change the amount of hits you can take before dying. The player can also revisit any stage after it’s been unlocked during the regular arcade mode. The game is a blast to play, perfect for short play sessions and tightly balanced to keep you coming back for more.
On top of the superb graphics and gameplay, the sound effects are excellent, evoking a vintage sci-fi film or radio drama. The music is nice and atmospheric, blending well with the action on the screen. The tunes aren’t repetitive and have a techno feel to them.
In addition to the Arcade Mode, there is a Co-op mode and a Panic Mode. Co-op is twice as fun as the main game and Panic Mode harkens right back to those old arcade games by throwing wave after wave of bugs at you while you attempt for the high score. There’s even an online leaderboard so you can go for bragging rights. Both additional modes offer their own unique challenges.
The Bug Butcher is available right now on the Nintendo Switch, which really is the perfect platform for a game like this. You can easily hop into a short session while on the go or hunker down in front of the TV when you have the extra time. I don’t mean to bug you about it, but I recommend you try this game today!
The Bug Butcher Review
Final Thoughts: EXCELLENT
Gorgeous graphics, combined with explosive—and addictive—gameplay make The Bug Butcher the perfect addition to your Nintendo Switch library. Grab a buddy and rid the world of those pests once and for all.
Based in Colorado, David Buck is an author, musician, and media specialist. In his spare time, he composes music, writes science fiction, and builds scale models, mostly starships and movie cars.