Bite-sized Review:
The Cub

Developer: Demagog Studio

Release Date: 19 January, 2024

Platform: Windows, Xbox One/S/X, PS 4/5, Switch

Genre: Adventure

By Chris Picone, 26 January 2024

I've played a few of these "visual storytelling" games lately but this one is easily one of the best out there.  The artwork is - as expected - gorgeous. But The Cub also feels  more interactive than most of its peers, and that helps it stand out.  What really takes it above and beyond, however, is the addition of the martian radio, which adds another layer of story-telling in addition to some sweet reggae tunes. 


Just look at those screenshots.  The Cub is a truly beautiful game, with absolutely lovely detailed parralax backgrounds, tons of objects and platforms and other things to interact with, and cave art style paintings for the cut scenes.  Each of these are "par for the course" for the genre, but The Cub really is high quality.  What I loved the most, though - and this came as a surprise to me - was the soundtrack.  At first the game's quiet, just a few animal sounds and some leaves rustling, until you pick up an alien helmet.  That lets you tune into "Radio Nostalgia," a radio station emitting from Mars that has some sweet pirate radio vibes.  It plays music for you, delivering perfect ambience for each level, but it's also responsive to the gameplay, becoming quieter or cutting out as you go underground or inside buildings (or underwater), and then louder again as you resurface. It also plays interview segments between songs.  They are presented perfectly, coming across as very genuine, and really helping add layers of lore to the game by giving you some real insight into the lives of those on Mars.


Most "visual storytelling" games are a little lacklustre in this department but I found The Cub remained solid.  There were plenty of plenty of platformer elements - I gather the dev team were aiming for a "parkour feel" - but also a surprising variety of enemies and traps.  And much of your time is spent evading hunters, adding a much-needed feeling of pressure and urgency to the game that deters you from lingering in any location for too long even though you will have a strong urge to explore to try to find all the hidden collectibles scattered through the game.



If you're looking for a fast-paced, intense, difficult platformer, this ain't it.  But if you're a fan of visual storytelling games, this one's really high quality, an easy choice. You'll love it. I haven't played Golf Club Nostalgia (by the same developer - it looks awesome) but I gather The Cub is also aimed at those who have.