“How am I gliding? I have no idea!” quips Bubsy as he sails through the air. It’s a relevant question and not even the hero knows how to answer.
Bubsy never made sense. Although the character’s notoriety comes from a rightfully derided PlayStation game, Bubsy’s original adventures tried for some personality. As a bobcat, he raced ahead and struggled to stop. He playfully bounced around, fleet footed enough to feel different.
Oh, and he liked yarn. It was one joke – he’s a cat you see, and aliens stole his wool. Bubsy wanted it back. The rest was entirely derivative. Woolies Strike Back is worse still.
There’s no energy or enthusiasm in Woolies Strike Back. Bubsy traipses through bland environments, bounces on alien heads, and yes, glides for reasons unknown (because he’s a cat?). Most of the items look strewn about randomly. Level design is jury-rigged. There’s no logic in any of this. There’s none in Bubsy either, so the pairing works in the wrong way.
If there’s any nostalgia for the starring Bobcat, it’s more for hype than anything. GamePro ran a multi-part series back in the ’90s detailing what a revolution this mascot platformer was turning into. They were wrong. Bubsy became a character made up from pieces of others – the smarmy eyes, the dry exclamation point t-shirt, and addiction to yarn balls (instead of rings or coins); Bubsy brought them all together into a pile of cliches.
By license alone, Bubsy isn’t given a personality, just a collection of things that other characters have and do better. This mis-mash – down to the oddball music mixing ’80s sax, ’70s disco, and tired rhythms in a noxious composition – represents Bubsy as a whole.