PC Games

Published on March 22nd, 2024 | by Marc Rigg

Bears In Space PC Review

Bears In Space PC Review Marc Rigg

Summary: A fun, light-hearted entry into the now packed Boomer Shooter genre that does enough different to stand out from the pack. Its addition of bullet-hell style mechanics and use of comedy make this one worth a look.



After being in development for seven years, small Australian development studio, Broadside Games’ first release, ‘Bears In Space’ has finally landed.

Another new entry into the incredibly popular boomer shooter genre, only this time with a twist.

Bears in Space blends the classic, mobility-based combat of its contemporaries with bullet hell mechanics, resulting in intense, fast-paced gameplay.


The player inhabits the body of Maxwell Atoms, an astronaut whose DNA has miraculously been fused with that of a nearby bear, and their journey back to Earth. The bear, called Beartana, inhabits your consciousness and acts as a supporting character, quipping along to whatever is happening at the current moment. With the revelation that your support character is called Beartana, it’s probably time to address the tone of Bears In Space. If it wasn’t already apparent, this is a comedy game.

Jokes, references, and memes are abundant in the story. Most of the many optional side quests and objectives are themselves based on some sort of play on words or puns (not as many bear puns as you’d think, surprisingly.) Not all of them land, but I found myself chuckling along with it more often than not.

The story itself keeps up, and often exceeds the frantic pace of gameplay, moving along at a thousand miles an hour without staying on one particular topic of thread for too long. A lot of it doesn’t make sense in the grand scheme of things but it all kind of works, nonetheless.

For example, apropos of nothing, there’s a section early on that has our protagonists rampaging through a miniature cardboard city, to recover a battery at the end. The colours are desaturated to give the scene the look of an old movie, further exaggerating the point that we’re suddenly playing the monster in an old Kaiju movie. Why? I don’t know. It’s all in good fun though, even if sometimes it does come across like a bit of a fever dream.

It’s a surprisingly long campaign, taking place over more than 15 levels, most of which take between half an hour and an hour to complete. It clocks in at around 10-12 hours to finish depending on difficulty, individual skill, and how committed you are to finding the huge number of secrets and completing the myriad of side objectives.

The gameplay itself is similar to DOOM Eternal, only with hundreds of projectiles on the screen. Movement speed is high, you can double jump, and dash and there is a lot of platforming in between the actual combat. The platforming itself isn’t particularly difficult. There aren’t a great many tricky jumps that need to be made and the penalty for making a mistake is usually very small. If you’re not into it though, there’s an option to reduce the difficulty of the platforming sections, by adding in new platforms to make jumps smaller and more manageable. While I didn’t find it necessary to use myself, it’s a nice addition and a great accessibility option for anyone who may need it.

General game difficulty can be tweaked to suit the player also. There are several presets ranging from very easy up to insanely difficult, with damage dealt and damage taken both being customisable.

Enemies are various flavours of robot, each one filling one of the archetypes you’d expect to see in a first-person shooter. The heavy, the one with the shield that has to be broken first, the small annoying ones that rush you en masse (with an even more annoying subcategory that explodes when it’s close).

Each of these threats can be dealt with by one of the large array of available weapons. There’s the standard pistol, shotgun, machine gun, bigger machine gun, and rocket launcher that you’d expect as well as a suite of weapons that are a little more out there, such as a robotic arm that is thrown, and returns like a boomerang.

All of the main weapons has two flavours of upgrades available. The first is a straightforward increase in ammo capacity, purchased with cash found in the many crates that litter the environment. The second is a full upgrade to the weapon, obtained by simply using it. This upgrade changes it visually as well as upping the stats in some way, be it damage, fire rate, etc.

The weapons themselves sound okay. Most of them look like they’re manufactured by NERF or Mattel, so realistic firing effects and impact noises were likely out of the question. That said, none of them sound or feel especially weak to use, they’re mostly satisfying, just don’t be expecting anything to go as hard as DOOM 2’s super shotgun.

At key points during the game, Maxwell can transform into Beartana, and is able to do massive damage for a limited time with a variety of different physical attacks.

Environments vary and change frequently to keep it always looking interesting, frequently referencing other games and media. There’s an arena section later in the game that is a replica of Facing Worlds from Unreal Tournament, with NPC’s before and after the fight chanting how it was ‘unreal!’. Coincidentally, winning that fight awards the ‘Flak Blaster 99’, which is a carbon copy of Unreal Tournament’s Flak Canon, right down to the alt-fire.

Things are kept even more varied by a host of mini-games to be discovered and completed. These range from simple shooting galleries to a ‘Time Crisis’ style on rails shooter – complete with ducking behind obstacles to reload, and even fishing and basketball games. They’re usually short enough so that they don’t outstay their welcome and are usually a fun distraction from the main combat.

Graphically it isn’t too demanding, it’s quite simple visually a realistic looking cartoon is probably the best way of describing it. Everything is quite basic with minimal surface details, however there’s a lot of implied texture to everything. Performance was great, running almost perfectly the entire time I spent with it, and has plenty of options to tweak things to get it running on your system.

Final Thoughts?

Bears In Space is my favourite type of game. It’s well put together, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and puts a lot of effort into keeping things interesting for the player. The story is often nonsensical, but it doesn’t matter, the gameplay does all the heavy lifting. Its comedy might not be for everyone, but I enjoyed it for the most part. It feels like it could be something put together for Adult Swim or Comedy Central in the early noughties and there’s definitely a Rick & Morty influence in there somewhere too.

There’s a demo available on Steam should you want to try before you buy. It’s one I can easily recommend checking out.

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