Epic Dumpster Bear – Wii U Review

There have been some rather strangely named releases on the Wii U eShop. Just recently we reviewed games such as The Beggar’s Ride and Grumpy Reaper, and now we have Epic Dumpster Bear. As you’d expect you are dumpster diving bear that is enraged at his deforested homeland and so goes on a rampage to seek vengeance – or something like that. It’s ridiculous, intentionally and pleasingly so.

Let’s not beat around the bush though; Epic Dumpster Bear looks absolutely atrocious. While the premise of the game, the on going story and gameplay aspects I’ll cover later, are intentionally ridiculous, I’m not convinced about the graphics and art style. If it is, then they’ve gone just a bit too far. It looks like everything is a placeholder for the Alpha build before they put the real assets in, but they just forgot. It’s possibly one of the worst looking games I’ve ever played.

But you know what they say about books and their covers. It might look like a terrible game, but it doesn’t play like one. This might shock you, but Epic Dumpster Bear is actually a good game. Yes good. Not decent, not average, but good.

It’s a very simple 2D platformer, which are a dime a dozen on the eShop this days, but Epic Dumpster Bear does actually stand out as one of the better ones. Your bear plays just like your friendly plumber Mario. You run and jump. That’s about it really. Sometimes you’re required to do fancy wall jumps and even pick up weapon-ised power-ups, but that’s about as far as it goes. Ambition certainly wasn’t on the developer’s priority list but it didn’t need to be as Epic Dumpster Bear does the simple things rather well.

I will say Dumpster Bear is a little too slippery when running which occasionally lead to my downfall, but apart from that it’s pretty spot on despite its looks. It provides a solid, fun and challenging experience that I enjoyed.

In the game’s generous 70 levels you can collect normal coins, three red coins and receive a juicy salmon at the goal. Not all of the levels are part of the main game, in fact a decent chunk of them are optional, found by either very secretive hidden exits, or bought using the coins you’ve collected. There’s a lot of content in Epic Dumpster Bear and I think you’ll enjoy it.

As stated, the game can be quite challenging but very often in a fair way. I didn’t find any cheap deaths. If I died, it was usually my own lack of skill. The difficulty curve is nicely sloped too as each of the themed worlds gradually gets more challenging. The jumps become tighter the enemies become fiercer.

While the changing enemies are often just palette swaps of ones in previous they always add an extra threat to them. The startled cattle in world one became a charging wolf in world two, by world three it’s a face eating lion that’s much more aggressive.

What adds to the difficulty is your health. You can only take two hits before you die and there are no upgrades to improve this. At the halfway checkpoint of the stage you do have the chance to recover one heart piece and that’s your only hope for survival. It’s a little stingy for sure, and another health drop or two in a level could have made it better.

I think aside from the solid gameplay, the games charm won me over. I grew to like awfulness of the art style, the silly premise and story not to mention I couldn’t help but crack a smile to see the bear rail grinding. I haven’t even mentioned the best part. The ending of each stage is just magical. Just as each stage reaches its climax, Dumpster Bear is lead up to higher ground, only to then attempt to belly flop on to a target for points. The first time I did that was when the whole game started to make sense.

There is a little bit of creativity in here. Some of the bonus stages have really nice ideas in there set up. They use the Gamepad to manipulate sections of the stage. On the gamepad screen are four colours; red, green, blue and yellow. Pressing one of these will move something on in the level of that colour. Maybe a platform that is red will move or disappear if you press the red colour on the gamepad. This is when the game stops being a pure platformer and becomes a light puzzle platformer instead.

The game sounds fine. There are some weird sound effects thrown in (would you expect any less) and the soundtrack, while a little generic, is varied and there are plenty of tracks for different stages.

I’m willing to bet that the artstyle and graphics are enough to put off even the most enthusiastic of eShop gamers. It’s mind blowing how bad it looks. But I suggest doing your best to throw that prejudice aside and give Epic Dumpster Bear a try if you’re into 2D platformers. Yes it’s simple, but it’s actually really solidly made and will give you plenty of content with a nice fair challenge.


Good points

  • It’s actually quite funny
  • Really solid gameplay
  • Nice fair challenge
  • Lots of content

Bad points

  • It looks hilariously bad
  • Maybe the controls are a little slipper at times


Game provided by publisher

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