Despite Bugsnax’s adorable art style, cute characters, and catchy theme song, the whole game has a mild undercurrent of body horror, as you transform characters’ body parts by feeding them Bugsnax. An early concept posted by developer Young Horses shows the studio almost leaned right into that horror element, requiring players to peel and prepare the adorable Bugsnax before feeding them to characters.
The video is more than a little alarming, showing the player pulling the wings off a pair of flying olives and yanking out the creature’s long tongue in order to plate it up. The video also shows the capture of a Pinkle, with preparation requiring the player to pluck off its pickle legs one by one.
It’s not surprising that the developers decided to can this mechanic, as reviewers would have been far less likely to recommend the game for kids with dismemberment as a core part of the gameplay.
The finished game struck the right balance between cuteness and wackiness, with GameSpot’s review of Bugsnax scoring the game 8/10. “Bugsnax’ best qualities are its cleverness and charm,” reviewer Mike Epstein explains. “The surprise and delight you feel when you see a Bugsnak wiggling around or watch someone eat one and change their arm into food never goes away. That alone would make Bugsnax worth your time, but creative puzzles and thoughtful story give it the body and depth to make a Snak feel more like a meal.”
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