The Cub mentions on its Steam page that it was inspired by the classic platformers of the 90s, and that rings true across a lot of its design – especially with some of the set pieces that reminded me of the games that I played in my younger years. However, it also manages to stand out as a unique and exciting experience on its own merits, with the varied gameplay, entertaining set pieces, and beautiful visuals ensuring that the game will be a real treat for fans of the genre.

Check out some screenshots down below:

The Cub takes place on Earth following a devastating event known as the Great Ecological Catastrophe that saw humanity wiped out… well… with the exception of those rich enough to move to Mars, that is. It turns out there was also another survivor: a young child who has been raised by wolves. You take on the role of said child, with what remains of your surroundings essentially acting as your playground. All good things can’t last forever though, which is evident when some of the humans come back from Mars and want to take you away to experiment on.

What follows is a rampant platforming escapade that’ll see you traversing across a wonderful 2D landscape full of tricky jumps, vines to swing between, obstacles to climb, hazards to evade, enemies to escape from, and creative set pieces that challenge your skills in a variety of ways. There’s a whole lot going on throughout the adventure to keep players completely engrossed in the journey, whilst the platforming challenges faced along the way feel like they could have been lifted right out of a 16-bit classic. Perilous minecart rides, evading rockets on a jetpack, or outrunning a vicious threat are the sort of tasks that I completed in platformers in the 90s, but they’re still just as fun now and have been implemented wonderfully here. It felt like a blend of a 90s Disney platformer and Another World (which is one of my favourite games from my younger years), which will ALWAYS be a good combination to me.

“There’s something beautiful about the remains of this post-apocalyptic Earth that make it feel special to be a part of, with the wonders of your surroundings really shining through when nature gets the chance to take over.”

They help make The Cub a varied and exciting experience that never slows down, with players always given something different to do despite the fairly simplistic platforming setup. It is worth noting that it isn’t particularly long though, with it beatable in under three hours. It isn’t too difficult either – don’t get me wrong, you’ll suffer plenty of deaths, but the forgiving checkpoint system helps ensure that you’ll rarely make the same mistake twice (well… with the exception of the minecart section…).

I was a big fan of the gameplay of The Cub, but there were a few little issues that stood out. For one, the jumping in the game can take a little getting used to, with it often difficult to judge the exact distance of a jump. This isn’t a problem when you’re simply traversing the environment but caught me out on a few occasions during its more fast-paced moments where I’d have to make a perfect manoeuvre to evade an incoming threat. Maybe it’s a ‘me’ thing, I don’t know, but as someone who is relatively experienced with 2D platformers, it did feel noticeable. There were also a few occasions where a lack of clear signposting made it hard to work out what areas were optional to explore and which would push you on in the story, causing me to accidentally miss out on on some collectibles when the game wouldn’t let me backtrack on myself. This didn’t happen often enough for it to feel like a big issue so I don’t hold it against the game too much, but it was a shame to miss out on some neat little goodies because I accidentally moved on to the next part of the game – but again, it could be a ‘me’ thing more than anything.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Neither issue stopped me from having a blast playing The Cub, whilst the gorgeous visuals make the world feel mesmerising to explore. There’s something beautiful about the remains of this post-apocalyptic Earth that make it feel special to be a part of, with the wonders of your surroundings really shining through when nature gets the chance to take over. It’s very, very pretty throughout, whilst the fluid animations help bring the vivid world to life.

Big shout out to the audio design too, not only with the game’s music and sound effects, but also with the radio station that plays during your adventure. Besides playing a variety of songs that manage to fit the tone of your journey perfectly, it also adds more context to the narrative with nuggets of lore regarding the plight humanity has faced since it’s departure from Earth. It’s a really effective design choice that makes the catastrophic event that hit Earth all the more believable.

The Cub Review

The Cub is a very exciting platforming romp that never slows down thanks to its rich variety of gameplay and manic set pieces. It looks gorgeous too, whilst the radio station that plays throughout your journey adds a dash of realism to the catastrophic plight that Earth faced prior to your adventure. It isn’t perfect, with a few little issues with the controls and the occasional frustration here and there, but I found myself completely hooked in from start to end.

You’ll probably beat it in one sitting, but those few hours playing will be a hell of a lot of fun.

Developer: Demagog Studio
Publisher: Untold Tales, Gamersky Games
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch