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Bear in Venice

Bear in Venice


    The title screen.The title screen.
Developer: Instant Million
Released: 2018.12.16
Genre: Comedy
Graphics: Cartoon / 2D
Perspective: Third person
Gameplay: Point-and-Click









Bear in Venice. Wants to ride a gondola. In the game Bear in Venice.

"Think big" is a great advice. But sometimes it's nicer to think small, very small. Bear in Venice is one of the shortest and smallest adventure games. It's not a one room game, there are overwhelmingly two rooms to explore, but the scope is as straightforward as it can possibly be. The developer description of the game is as follows: "Bear in Venice is a very short adventure game about a teddy bear's desire to ride a gondola." That one sentence describes the goal, MacGuffin, and story of the game all in one.

There is no backstory or explanations about anything. One could wonder, how and why there is a talking bear in Venice among human (more or less) characters. No one ever explains why this game takes place in Venice of all places, other than the player being forced to make a circular unvoiced argument about it: the game takes place in Venice, because there are gondolas there, and the teddy protagonist wants to ride a gondola because he happens to be in Venice. Cute.

Teddy protagonist with NPCs.Teddy protagonist with NPCs.

The few minutes it takes to go through the game are quality time. The game is charming and has some funny moments in it. The comedy stems from absurd situations, like having a teddy bear in the game to begin with, and having an American saloon in Venice, and the bear having to clear a breathalyzer test for the gondolier so that the human (and totally not a vampire) cop will allow him to board his gondola.

Obviously the game is not the greatest moment in the adventure game history, but what's there not to like about the game? It's like a good, friendly joke. It makes the player smile and be amused for a short while, and then it's time to move on. The game is so small in scope that even people who have never played adventure games can probably finish it just by randomly clicking all hotspots that are labelled. The most challenging thing in the game is to make the inventory screen to pop up and choose an object from there to use. And since there are only two interactable inventory objects in the game, trying everything on everything should work just fine.

Funny conversations.Funny conversations.

The soundscape is just some guitar playing in the background, and as can be expected, there are no voiceovers for any characters. The graphical style is a bit rough, but still stylish and cute. The biggest complain is probably the lack of animation. Yes, the protagonist is animated, and there are some animations for other characters as well. But doing things in the game, like picking up, taking or giving objects have no animations for any actions. And all NPCs stand, or sit, in one place which makes the game world appear a bit more frozen than it needs to be.

Adding just a little bit more content would have benefitted the game. For instance, making the shop accessible that is visible in the game but is closed and inaccessible would have made the scope just a little bigger and given some depth to puzzle solving too, assuming that some items could have been picked up from the store. But the game is, like said, a two room game and as such it works quite well. Part of the charm is that nothing gets explained before, during, or after the gameplay, the bear just is in Venice and wants to ride a gondola. And that's it. Cute and charming. Come to think of it, it does make more sense than a tentacle trying to take over the world or whatever.



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