When watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Leatherface chase down innocent teenagers with a chainsaw, haven’t you always wondered how he would look if he were a stuffed bear? Your dream is now a reality in Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise, the sequel to 2010’s Naughty Bear. Having never played the original game, I wasn’t tainted by the mistakes made in its execution. I was able to stay objective and chose to encounter this title with a fresh and open mind.
A relaxing vacation awaits the peaceful bears of Paradise Island, and unfortunately, it seems Naughty wasn’t on the invitation list. Resentment drives him to sneak around this beautiful island resort to stalk and murder the partying bears.
Naughty Bear’s goal is to scare, kill, maim, destroy and terrify any bear having a good time. There are 36 targets on Naughty Bear’s kill list, spread among 11 different regions. From the very first moment, you can kill bears by beating their heads in with wine bottles and slicing their throats open with a garden rake. The naughtier you behave, the more points are awarded towards upgrading your character. Wreaking havoc with a weapon while free-roaming is just as fun, and certainly challenging, but not as rewarding. Emphasis is on hiding in the bushes and stalking unsuspecting bears to either scare or kill. A fun way to accomplish this is to drag bears into the bushes by their throats; there, you can steal their clothes or kill them. I chose the latter, as this approach gave more XP and the opportunity to dress like a murderous bear bell-hop.
Wearing a costume keeps the other bears unaware of naughtiness, indicated by a heart icon over their head, as long as you behave. Each costume is unlocked for purchase at the store between levels, using the coins you’ve acquired. Be warned that applying certain masks and weapons can alter Naughty’s health and stamina, so keep your eye on the load-out meters. You should plan carefully before engaging your next target.
If your stamina is too low, you won’t be able to run or scare other bears. Once a costume has been stolen off another bear, you are forced to wear it until you either steal another one or exit the level. There is no option to remove a disguise, which can be tedious when you’re stuck with one that slows you down and leaves you vulnerable. The other bears attack you the moment they recognize you. They are relatively easy to take down alone, but can be dangerous when they gang up and swarm you. They absolutely will block you from trying to hurt them and will put up a fight. If they are successful in fleeing, they’ll alert the authorities, and you will have to take on numerous guard bears with stun rods.
Naughty points are awarded based on how you kill the bears, and throughout each level, there are numerous fun ways to dispose of them. You can use new level settings to your advantage when a crowbar or machete becomes tiresome. Scaring the bears awards you points, and you can terrorize them to the point where they will take their own lives. All of this rewards you with more XP based on how creative and brutal your tactics are. When assassinating a target bear, you are given an optional method for its disposal that will earn you more points, in addition to the three side objectives for each level.
Leveling up Naughty and his many masks and weapons is definitely fun. There are five different cup-ratings which add to the replay value, and reaffirm the player’s sadistic nature. Destruction of property is rewarded with coins, and many objects can be broken and sabotaged to Naughty’s advantage. Smashing every vase, crate, and innocent frog you find is recommended for leaving a level with a fat wallet.