The Bug Butcher

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
The Bug Butcher Game Poster Image
Retro-style shooter versus space bugs is just too short.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Saving your friend from attacking bugs highlights importance of helping others. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main character, the butcher, is somewhat glib at times, but he demonstrates self-confidence in his abilities to clear the station of menace. 

Ease of Play

Requires use of a gamepad. Simple controls; easy to learn.

Violence

Main character uses his blaster, power-ups to shoot lasers, fire, ice. Enemies explode into coins without blood shown. 

Sex
Language

"Jesus," "hell" used in same conversation, but that's all.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Bug Butcher is a downloadable side-scrolling shooter where players take on the role of a character named Butcher that must clear a space station of mutant bugs. Controls are easy to understand, and two players can play in a timed cooperative mode on the same machine, but the game requires a Windows gamepad controller. Each of the 30 levels is scored and recorded within the game, although each one can be replayed to either pass the stage or get a better score. Players will shoot lasers, fire, or ice at bugs, but there's no blood or gore shown within the game.

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What's it about?

THE BUG BUTCHER is set on a space station overrun with mutant bugs. "Harry," the bug butcher or exterminator, is called in to clean up the mess. Along the way, Harry gets help from a television monitor with legs that releases the bugs into the levels but can also release power-ups. The game can be played in a single-player story or timed mode,or a cooperative timed mode. Clearing a level results in a score based on coins picked up, as well as on how quickly the level was cleared. The game keeps track of the high scores for each level. If Harry runs out of lives, players can simply retry the level. 

Is it any good?

With viable ties to old-school 2-D side-scrolling shooters, this space title has a few smiles under its helmet but might just be a touch short on level numbers to warrant any kind of longevity. There are 30 levels, but many of the levels can be cleared in three to five minutes tops. The Bug Butcher does have several difficulty modes (including an easy mode for younger players experiencing this type of game for the first time) and three ways to play (single-player story, single-player Panic, and cooperative Panic), but each of the levels is more of the same.

Still, what makes this a nice little diversion is that the controls are easy to use and the game has a nice visual style. There's no blood splattering on the walls, and the power-ups are visually appealing. The price is also a nice selling point, but it stays in line with the amount of content (or lack thereof). The dialogue is text-driven, and the sound is serviceable. What sells it is that this feels like an old-school side-scrolling action game, with all those bells and whistles, and has a simple but nice feel. If The Bug Butcher were longer, with more levels or more modes of play, it would be one of those games that most true gamers should own. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about arcade shooters. What makes them fun and worth replaying? How can you use strategy to work through each level?

  • Discuss the importance of friendship. How can helping others be beneficial to both the person helping and the person being helped?

Game details

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