Strange Fun and sincere adventure Bugsnax launched in November 2020, becoming one of the first games to be multiplayer on PlayStation 5, released on the same day. Almost a year later, Young Horses, the game’s developer, announced during Sony State of Play the game would receive a new DLC. Summon Bigsnax Island, the expansion will be free for players who already own the base game. In addition to a refreshing story, which according to the creator will take three to five hours to complete, fans can expect a bunch of new content. And while it’s set to release in the first half of 2022, we got an early hands-on look at the game at GDC.
Adding hours of gameplay to the original game, Young Horses announced players will receive their own in-game house to renovate. You can now feel part of the Grumpus community. The hut began as a glorified pile of sticks. However, by completing requests from the villagers, the player gains access to options for furniture, paint, decorative items, and even an upper deck. Many objects received reflect the giver. Exercise-loving Chandlo can gift the players a weightlifting trophy, while Mayor Filbo of Snaxburg can gift an adorable stuffed Grumpus.
New players were transported to their new home immediately after entering Snaxburg for the first time. However, returning players will be given a tour of their shack when talking to Filbo and find their mailbox already filled with retroactive rewards for any requests they unwittingly complete. The developers at Young Horses explain that the new pile of quests and objectives will give players a good reason to keep exploring Snaktooth Island and interacting with its inhabitants.
With this goal in mind, Young Horses’ latest expansion will also feature your favorite premium Snax hats. Ever wondered what happened to the jewels on your Grumpus companions’ heads after they transformed into their Bugsnax form? Well, it looks like the delicious inhabitants of the island have found them, and it’s up to you to track them down. More than just a simple and silly cosmetic feature, the player must find each hat in a search that resembles a scavenger hunt. Hats can be found on some Bugsnax in the wild, and catching them grants access to a new hat. There are about 25 pieces in total and include Chandlo’s chef hat, wizard hat, and “Snax” baseball cap. The developers hope this gives players a fun challenge that makes revisiting previous locations worthwhile.
I get a chance to practice the upcoming DLC and, from what I’ve played so far, the expansion will be another fun adventure through an unfamiliar world. Isle of Bigsnax gives players more – and bigger – Bugsnax, content that builds on the original experience, and the opportunity to dig deeper into the relationships and stories from the original game.
The demo starts right before the point of no return in the original story and takes me to a beach with muscular Chandlo, scientific Floofty, skeletal archaeologist Triffany, and psychic Shelda. The large island had appeared in the middle of the ocean, and once we reached the beach, we were now out of reach of the rest of the villagers. The experience boasts plenty of puzzles and is mostly built around my arsenal of unusual add-ons. The first puzzle asked me to close the gap by lighting a torch. In another example, I discovered several mazes with moving pillars and winding corridors that were too small for any Grumpus to enter. Still, it’s the perfect size for my ball-bound Strabby, which I guided through obstacles to hitting the door opener switch.
Players can also look forward to some larger-than-life Bugsnax encounters. My first new sighting, a giant Bunger, sent Chandlo flying into a pile of jars that happened to contain dust that made Bigsnax smaller. But even when thin, this creature still needs to be stunned to be caught. So I took the tripod and then gave my reward to the weakened Chandlo, giving him the strength to keep going.
Then the team set up camp and the story began to take shape. This archaeological odyssey may spark an accepted belief in Mother Naturae, whom Shelda worships, because of the Bugsnax dust collectors found at her shrine. At camp, I had a choice between four different missions. However, I was instructed to follow Triffany’s backstory for this preview. She asked me to do my Snax guide magic to open a few blocked areas. This includes a puzzle that can trigger a large rock just like the Bigsnax rock that popped out to us, a nice reference to Indiana Jones that accentuates the game’s comedic tone.
I ran into a lot of other Bigsnax during my short adventures, though I didn’t have any miniature dusters handy to capture them. Each magnified Snax has a form of entertainment, like a sentient celery plant carrying distinct, chocolate-like creatures on its back. I found the lobster made from macaroni noodles very fond of cheese. And one of my new favorite Snax treats is called Millimochi, which is made from a group of deli items lined up to create a creature of multiple snacks.
Isle of Bigsnax is scheduled to launch on April 28. Including a new hut, hat and adventure, the new content is about 80% as big as the original game, according to the developers. So if it took you 10 hours to complete the base experience, it could take around 8 hours to explore everything the super-sized expansion has to offer.