I know that I am old, but when I launched The Bug Butcher for the first time, I was immediately transported back to the early 1990s. Why? Because from the very first scene, I could not help but be reminded of Doug TenNapel’s goofball grub, Earthworm Jim. With a massive blaster, powered suit, and ego to match, facing a host of grossly shaped adversaries, The Bug Butcher’s titular character, Harry, is just as out of his depth as Jim. Yet, that charm brings something truly special to the table. This is our review of The Bug Butcher for Nintendo Switch.
The Bug Butcher is a 2D arcade-style action shooter that originally launched in 2015, finding its home on MacOS, Windows, and Linux. Eventual ported to iOS and Android, it migrated its way onto modern consoles, including the Nintendo Switch. Placing you in the protective gear of Harry, The Bug Butcher sends you on a mission to the planet Zoit to do what you do best: killing bugs. Armed with “Ol’Reliable” – Harry’s favorite energy-based machine gun – and a bag full of tricks, Harry enters a science facility to rescue helpless researchers stuck in the midst of buggy bedlam. But, Harry does have one fatal flaw: he can only fire straight up. Here’s hoping he knows a good chiropractor…
As you kill bugs, you will earn bonus point multipliers, collect coins, and fuel Harry’s special attack gauge. As stated before, Harry has a bag of tricks to use at just the right time against his foes. Supply drops will appear as you nuke the nasties along with bonuses and power-ups. Unleash the fury of “Thousand Suns,” Harry’s laser attachment, through supply drops or strut your stuff with “Harry’s Babe,” a bombshell barrage of homing missiles. These bugs never stood a chance.
Each level has you clearing wave after wave of various bug beasts with different traits. Some explode into smaller versions of themselves which with spit lighting. Some bugs leave the researchers well enough alone while others see them as Swiss Rolls: soft, sweet snacks in a thin plastic wrapper. Whatever you do, save the scientists and don’t get squashed.
As you kill more bugs, you will earn point multipliers that will persist until you get hit or the timer runs out on the multiplier. Points earned during a mission will give you bonus coins to join the cache collected during each round. These coins collected during missions can be spent to upgrade Harry’s arsenal and enhance his natural abilities. Enhance damage output and extend the duration of specific abilities as you choose.
The Bug Butcher provides an entertain, engaging, and challenging experience with little to pick apart. Between its story-based Arcade mode and time attack Panic mode with single and co-op options, it plays off of some classic sci-fi tropes while feeling fresh. Harry’s quips while unloading havoc and the panicked screams of scientists being slurped up from the ground capture to moments of joy and panic you will feel doing each level. My only real critique is that there is no option for switching control layout. However, the controls are well laid out and easy to navigate as they are.
The Bug Butcher is currently $7.99 USD on the Nintendo Store.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by PR.
COMPARE TO: Earthworm Jim meets Alien Hominid