Lord of the flies — Bug Academy preview

They say there’s strength in numbers, and that concept has been used very well in plenty of video games. So why not combine that with some goofy and charming gameplay? Bug Academy is currently on Kickstarter trying to get its full funding, but the demo that’s available shows what kind of quirky game is in the works.

Bug Academy’s demo has five levels available, each with their own goal to complete if you want to finish the level. There’s the tutorial, cows, fridge delivery, mines, and tower. The tutorial is pretty much just a short level that gives you a chance to test out the controls and move your fly or flies. I’d say it’s worth taking the time to try, especially so you can get the hang of the controls. The controls boil down to moving up, down, left, and right, sprinting, and grabbing. Moving is done with either the WASD buttons or the arrow keys, sprinting is done with the space bar or the left mouse button, and grabbing is done with Ctrl or the right mouse button. Sprinting involves giving your bug a little burst of speed, and grabbing is important in order to move various objects around.

The game has a colorfully comical look and feel to it, which is boosted by the kazoo-like background music. The cartoon style of everything makes it appealing to gamers of all ages that appreciate a cartoonish style. The physics are a little wonky at times when carrying some objects, but that is kind of to be expected when a small swarm of bugs are trying to fly with a large object. Running into objects or obstacles has a decent amount of force to it, which is good when you’re trying to break through a wall or door, but bad when you’re trying to slip by something that you just placed. It takes a little maneuvering, but I still had fun playing.

In the demo, you get to play as regular flies and fireflies. You always start with one fly, and as you explore the levels, you can find sleeping flies that you need to get near in order to wake them up and have them join you. Obviously more flies means more strength and a better ability to move objects so you can complete objectives.

I liked the variety of the levels in the demo. For example, cows tasks you with flying around to collect ten cows and drop them off in a fenced in area. It isn’t hard to find them, but keeping them in the area is tougher. The cows will bounce around a bit and if even one moves too far, the exit closes and you have to put them back into place. It was fun but got a little annoying. Fridge delivery gives you two buildings with rooms that need either a fridge or a washing machine. You need to find the area containing the fridges and washing machines, then start dropping them all off in the designated areas. Once you drop your appliance into place, it stays there unless you push or grab it. This was a better level to me, especially getting to smash through walls in order to reach your destination. Mines lets you control fireflies as you search through the mines and bring back gems to fill up your minecart on the surface. Tower gives you a bunch of different blocks and wants you to build a tower that reaches a certain height in order to complete the level. This is the hardest level to me, and it can be frustrating, but also satisfying when you finally succeed.

As stated before, Bug Academy is on Kickstarter as of writing this preview, and is hoping to be released later this year if it gets the funding. The demo is short and takes only about a half hour to an hour depending on how well you play and how much you goof around. That being said, if the rest of the game is anything like what I’ve experienced, then it is sure to be an entertaining and challenging physics-style game. I’d definitely be interested in checking out more of what Bug Academy has to offer. If you’re interested, make sure to check out the Kickstarter page and even see about getting access to the demo yourself. Until then, remember that you can teach some old bugs some new tricks.

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