Bugsnax: The Isle of BIGsnax Review (PS5)
Gotcha ya little bugger.
Publisher: Young Horses
I loved Bugsnax when I was able to play it last year. It was one of the first games I played when I finally got my hands on a PS5 and I absolutely loved it. So much that I wanted more as I came to love the characters and the universe, as well as wanting to figure out the mystery that still hung over the game’s narrative. So when I heard that we were getting free DLC I was all for it and counted down the days. It’s finally here!
The Isle of Bigsnax takes place before the end of Bugsnax. For those of us that already finished Bugsnax, it will be available when continuing your save, otherwise you have to progress through the story until the characters that come along with you and complete their side quests (from what I’m guessing and understand). If it’s unlocked, it acts as an extra quest and Snorpy will request to talk to you. This is what jumpstarts the events of this DLC.
Recently, Snorpy has been getting some concerning readings around the coast of Snaktooth Island and he asks you to accompany him and Chandlo to Simmering Springs to investigate and maybe make sure nothing goes wrong. Of course, you go to check it out and something even stranger happens. Two earthquakes, or what seems like earthquakes, happens side by side and it doesn’t seem to cause any harm to Snaktooth Island or anyone there, but it causes another island to rise up from the ocean. What?!? There was another island hidden away? And how…what…caused this to occur? Why did it sink and how does it seem to be perfectly fine? What’s on that island? So many questions, and we can at least answer what was on the island.
With a new island, which is dubbed as Broken Tooth, suddenly rising from the ocean, of course you and the other Grumpuses are going to investigate. Other than Chandlo and Snorpy (though Snorpy doesn’t end up actually setting sail to Broken Tooth), you recruit Triffany, Floofty, and Shelda to partake in the expedition. Once you talk to them all, you’ll be able to set sail for Broken Tooth Island.
Soon after you arrive on Broken Tooth do you realize why the DLC was called The Isle of Bigsnax. Every single Bugsnax here are huge. Like boss bugsnax huge. Like with the main game, you can catch all of the new bugsnax here, but you do have to do a bit of extra legwork. You, first, have to figure out how to get the chance of capturing them, whether that being in stunning them, taking them out of the sky (or tree), and extinguishing/melting their outer layer so you don’t go up in flames or become a Grumpsicle. However, they are too big for you to catch, so how is this solved? Well, it seems that the civilization that lived on this island made a shrink powder. You only have 30 seconds to hit a bugsnax before it explodes on its own, but if it hits a bugsnax it will cause it to shrink down to the size that you’re familiar with. However, this only lasts temporarily as well so you have to act fast. Either you have to figure out how to stun them and then get them shrinken down before they get unstunned, or set up your traps before they grow back to their big size. Not to mention that strangely one of the new bugsnax has a protective cover. It was pretty fun trying to figure out what to do and then the satisfaction of finally catching them.
We also get puzzle doors which requires the use of your Buggy Ball and you guide it to the end. This sounds easy, but these do get hard as you’ll have to time it so it gets on the rising platforms and dodge the bugsnax that will throw out the buggy ball if caught, causing you to have to restart. Personally, I’m neutral on these puzzle doors, but they don’t show up enough to really annoy you (though some of the puzzles can be annoying to guide the Buggy Ball through). ANd of course, Broken Tooth has a Legendary Bugsnax there with its own boss fight which acts as a puzzle. Which, I have to say, I enjoyed though I was like “how many times do I have to hit you” haha.
Of course, there is a storyline connected to the DLC and it’s about investigating Broken Tooth Island. Of course, Chandlo, Triffany, Floofty, and Shelda don’t really gel well together (even if it’s just two of them) and you’ll be helping out each of them individually and hopefully get them to talk to someone else that would help them more in their research. You also get a look into how these guys see the others, how they think about how the others problem solve (or whatever else), and what they think about that. Chandlo wants to see if eating these bigsnax will make him bigger or stronger, and Chandlo does handle some turmoil from his worries over Snorpy. Triffany wants to investigate the civilization that lived on Broken Tooth and see if there’s any evidence on how they died, as well as maybe see why the island sunk in the first place. Shelda, being as spiritual as she is, wants to find out what the significance of the Mother Naturae statues bring and why she seems to be in favor of bugsnax (where Shelda always preached how Mother Naturae was against them). And finally, Floofty wants to put some research into the mysterious shrink powder to answer his questions like on what it’s made out of and how it interacts with the bugsnax.
I did really like the questlines we got here, and we got to learn more about these Grumpses and the game’s universe. I do wish we could have gotten more, but that’s mostly due to me loving the characters and happily savoring every conversation. Other than that, I do feel like this focused more on Chandlo, but you do get to see the others setting aside their dislike for each other at the end of their questline, even if it’s just to trade what they know and expand on their individual research.
Broken Tooth isn’t the only thing that was added to Bugsnax. You finally get to have a hut of your own in Snaxburg, or well for players returning as it does seem this unlocks fairly early on. There is an empty hut spot and you get to take it. At first it’s a more shabby version of Shelda’s hut spot, but it soon builds up to a glorious hut that may or may not convince you to stay longer. You can even decorate your hut with various decorations you’re gifted with. How do you get decorations you ask? Well there is now a mail system where the Grumpses can send you requests for you to complete. Some are for you progressing through the game and completing each Grumpses’ storyline, but the rest will call you to find lost items or capturing and donating certain bugsnax or scanning bugsnax doing a specific thing that you have to figure out how to make that happen. You can only have five at a time, but once you complete it, your reward will be in your mailbox, with the rewards being decorations for your hut. Though, it does seem some of the mail requests are glitched and won’t complete and the requests can feel repetitive.
You can also find Bugsnax with cute little hats on them and if you catch one, it’ll be available for the Bugsnax you donated for Gramble’s Farm to wear. You do have to find the first one on your own, but after that you’ll get a hint at where the next hat wearing Bugsnax is in the form of a picture on the side of Gramble’s farm. Depending on what Bugsnax the hat will spawn on, spotting it can be hard as the hat size depends on the size of the Bugsnax. In addition, it seems like fast travel has also been added to the game, which is pretty helpful and does save time having to walk through each area.
There also may be a secret area that you can find. After finding and playing through it, I do hope this means that we’ll get more DLC or a sequel.
While I do wish there was more, which isn’t surprising considering how much I still love Bugsnax, I really enjoyed my time with the Isle of Bigsnax DLC. It was nice returning to Snaxburg, talking to the Grumpses there again, and being able to experience something new from the game for the first time. I also liked the new Bugsnax we got and seeing how big they were, especially when you’re right up against them, as well as trying to figure out how to not only capture them, but to time it so I could shrink them down so they’re small enough to catch. If you loved Bugsnax, the Isle of Bigsnax brings in more of what you love. And hopefully, sometime in the future, we get some more Bugsnax content.