Cute and cuddly are not the first words that come to mind when you think of a horde shooter, but they perfectly sum up Cornwall based Waving Bear Studio’s newest game… STUFFED. This has been doing the rounds for a while now, being in early access on the PC and also being shown at a few expos, it first popped on my radar when I got to play it a few years back at an EGX. It’s finally had its full launch and looks to put a more friendly vibe on the standard horde mode title, but don’t be fooled by its visuals and tone, as under that fluffy exterior there is a very challenging FPS.
STUFFED is a procedurally generated affair, with the game taking place in the dreams of a little girl called Ellie. You play as one of her teddy bears, with one simple goal – fight off the endless waves of her nightmares, that are trying to break down her bedroom door. If you have played a CoD Zombies or Gears of War horde mode, you’ll know what to expect here. Fight your way through waves of enemies banking points that you can then spend on new weapons, upgrades, shortcuts or buffs to tackle the next wave with. Interestingly there is no trap system in the game, meaning it’s a bit of a horde throw back, as you can only upgrade yourself and not any defences. If you make it through 10 waves, you’ll complete the night and be transported to the following night complete with all your kit and gear to do it all again.
Enemies come in a number of forms most related to toys; like tin robots, rubber ducks and garden gnomes – which are all easy to dispatch. It’s when the shadow men (Slenderman in all but name) come to town, things really ramp up with these giants taking a real beating to stop. They also attack with a number of the standard enemies, so crowd management sort of comes into play, though not as much as you may hope, because the AI has a one-track mind… smash the door at all costs. Weapon-wise STUFFED has a very unique arsenal, as each is made from household objects, but fit into the standard weapons types you may expect; like the popcorn grenades, cola cannons and jelly bean shotguns. One issue I had on the weapons front was you just don’t quite have enough ammo sometimes to get the job done and I often found myself rushing away to get more mid-fight, which was a bit of a pain.
Customisation also lets you make your mark on your fluffy hero, with there being a healthy number of new outfits and furs for your teddy bear and you can often mix and match them to fully personalise their look. Worth noting though is there is no online modes in the Xbox build, though there is on the PC – which is a real shame, given that there is also no couch co-op options as well as the game feels like its built around 4 player co-op. Beyond that however there isn’t much more here, it’s a game that aims to do one thing and does it well. Yes, there could be more elements and layers to the combat and has a few difficulty spikes too, but overall it’s a solid little title. Youngsters will have a few hours fun, while FPS fans may get caught off-guard by the level of challenge it delivers too.
An Xbox review copy of STUFFED was provided by Waving Bear Studio’s PR team, and the game is out now on Xbox and PC for around £10, and there’s a demo available if you want to try before you buy.