Bugsnax released originally on the PlayStation back in November 2020 and become something of a cult phenomena at the time. Its colourful visuals and its sorta-Pokémon gameplay resonated well with many players. The biggest surprise was that it was a PlayStation console exclusive at the time, with seemingly no Nintendo version inbound.

A year and a half later, and not only do we have a Switch version but it ended up dropping onto the eshop seemingly out of nowhere. I never even expected to see a Switch port, so I’d managed to avoid pretty much everything about the game around the release due to not really caring that much about an exclusive for a console I didn’t own. As such, the sudden release of the Switch version had me quite excited as it gave me the opportunity to go into the game pretty much fresh.

After receiving a video message from the explorer Lizbert Megafig, The Journalist (that’s you!) sets off to snag an interview with her about the discovery of a new species of creatures dubbed ‘Bugsnax’ – half-bug, half-snak creatures that are not only edible, but causes your body to transform into food. After a brief stumble, you run into the (deputy) mayor of the town, Filbo, who regretfully informs you that Lizbert has disappeared and all the residents of Snaxburg have fled under his rule  – mainly because Lizbert was the only one who who could capture their main source of food: the Bugsnax.

After discovering your innate talent to capture small helpless creatures for food, it’s your job to try and reunite everyone, as well as find out what happened to Lizbert. Every inhabitant has their own distinct personality, and their interactions with each other are a delight due to the great writing. On the surface they appear to only have a singular trait, from grumpy shopkeeper to egocentric singer, but there’s also some added depth to them which becomes more apparent as you spend time with them. Your main quest may revolve around pleasing people enough to return to town and find out what happened to Lizbert, but there’s a plethora of sidequests too that you can do to help out for some minor rewards. These sidequests are worth doing just for the additional interactions as each and every resident of Snaxburg are endearing in their own way.

Bringing someone back to town will allow you to interview them, not only to gain insight but also gather clues as to what happened with Lizbert. All of this is stored in your journal, along with many other details about the world including a map and – most importantly – a ‘SnaxDex’ of sorts giving you important information about the creatures. This provides extra lore to the world of Bugsnax for sure, but it may also give you some hints on how best to trap them. It’s a compelling world for sure, and one that you’ll want to uncover every part of. It all culminates in a spectacular finale that far exceeds what I had expected, despite the whiplash-inducing tonal shift.


The main gameplay loop of Bugsnax is all about finding and capturing the titular creatures. There are over a hundred in total, and each are themed around some kind of food or drink item. They’re all lovingly designed and adorably chant their own name as they plod around. Some may just be slight variants of another, but many of the creatures require their own unique methods to capture.

The most important tool at your disposal is your camera – but this is no Pokémon Snap. Pretty pictures aren’t important here, as your camera will instead scan and provide important information about the creature: if it’s your first time, you’ll get access to a new page entry in the journal detailing lots of important information about the Bugsnax, including its typing (in a nod to Pokémon, perhaps) and some basic details that can give you some insight on how best to trap it. More importantly, the camera will also identify the creature’s patrol path which is vital when planning your capture.

With the trap and the net being your main capture tools, you need to figure out how best to use them. The small Strabby will run and hide at any sign of danger, but will return when the path is clear – giving you ample opportunity to set up and retreat to a safe distance to catch your prey. Some aren’t so easy and may require the use of additional gadgets: one such example is the Big Bopsicle, whose freezing hide makes it impossible to even touch and will charge you on sight, This can work to your advantage however, as it makes it easy to lure out into the forest region where the flying fiery Charmallow hangs out. With the latter’s chocolate addiction, you can use it to melt the Big Bopsicle by splatting it with chocolate sauce making it a far easier catch. A lot of the creatures act as mini puzzles, and some can be a real head scratcher to get your paws on. There are even a small number of boss creatures that you can encounter, and these provide particularly intense battles with very fun methods of capture. There’s just enough variety to encourage you to fill out the journal and capture them all, but having a few more unique captures would definitely have been appreciated.


There’s a variety of locations on Snaktooth island that surround Snakburg from beaches to frosty mountaintops, and each have their own types of Bugsnax roaming around. Importantly though, this is where you’ll also find the lost inhabitants who you then have to tempt back to town. Predictably, these typically just involve doing some minor favours for in order to get them back – usually involving catching some type of Bugsnax or other. For those worried about it being the same repetitive tasks, you needn’t worry, as there are other tasks involved too. Whether you’re training a Bugsnax in a Ball around a course using a pointer, or grappling and chucking basket balls into a net to test a new device, there’s certainly enough to keep you interested. 

It’s a fun setup, and was enjoyable enough to keep me wanting to play and even complete all the extra sidequests too. In addition to fiilling out your journal, there’s also a house that you can decorate and achievements that you can unlock too to keep you going. The sidequests you receive in the mail have some interesting missions, including platforming style challenges to collect lost items and scanning Bugsnax doing interesting actions, but there’s also a lot of padding too. Whilst it’s nice to have extra things to do, completing all of these can feel lie a bit of a grind. Beating the main game may only take you around ten hours or so, including new the Isle of Bigsnax area, but that increases dramatically as you start getting into all the side content. It can feel a little bit like padding at times, but the vast majority is well worth experiencing. 

The Isle of Bigsnax, or Broken Tooth as it’s known in game, in particular is a great addition to the game. While very few of the new creatures offer much in the way of new capture mechanics, it does contain some pretty fun questlines and a decent sized island to explore. It may not be particularly groundbreaking, but it’s a nice addition that makes the overall package feel even meatier.

If there’s one criticism about this port, it isn’t to do with the graphics, which are still colourful and pleasing despite being obviously inferior to the PS4 version. Even the pop-in that people have commented on was hardly an issue for me, since it has a cartoony flourish that fits the aesthetic of the game rather well. No, the issue I have is with the lengthy load times. Each area will trigger a load screen, and these can take up to 30 seconds or so to get through sometimes. If you’re spending a long time in one area, you probably won’t care, but if you’re traipsing through several areas for random sidequests then it can pretty old. Perhaps it is something that can be improved down the line with patches, but otherwise that is the main tradeoff for playing this on the Switch.


It’s clear to see why Bugsnax has the reputation it has: it’s a delightful game, with a unique twist on the monster catching formula. It obviously doesn’t look as nice as the PlayStation release, and the loading times may be a tad on the lengthy side, but there’s a lot of fantastic content here in an extremely enjoyable package. It’s definitely one of the standout releases of 2022, and Switch owners should definitely experience the wonders of Snaktooth Island.