The "Space Race" is on and it's never been cuter … or more literal. Astro Bears is an extremely basic all-ages arcade game with a heavy multiplayer slant. They say that in space, no one can hear you scream, which is good because the game takes its simplistic formulaic gameplay and stretches it until you do. The game's reminiscent of the classic TRON light cycle races, with players running around the screen, leaving behind brightly colored trails that can't be touched. The 3D twists here are that the matches take place on spherical arenas and the players, adorable bears in spacesuits, can jump or even fly for a short time over obstacles. It makes for a different feel than your basic platformer, but it also leads matches to descend into claustrophobic chaos thanks to awkward camera angles and crowded arenas. Players can adjust the size of the planets they compete on, but even the largest size quickly get packed with obstacles.
Solo play gets stale fast, with players chasing tiny rocket ships, or "Jetfish," around while trying to avoid double backing on their own trails. Co-op play isn't any better, as trying to work together while navigating the sphere never seems to come together. On the other hand, while the frantic gameplay and constantly shrinking real estate might be major irritations in solo and co-op play, they strangely make the competitive multiplayer that much more fun. Because rounds rarely last more than a minute or two, especially in full four player matches, it makes for a great bite-sized party game. It's here, when trying to outdo your friends and getting into the competitive spirit, that Astro Bears truly shines and makes it's hard to say no to "just one more match."