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The Cub Review (PS5) – Stylish Apocalyptic Jungle Book Is Short But Very Sweet

The Cub Review (PS5) – Untold Tales and Demagog Studios best known for indie darling; Golf Club: Nostalgia formerly known as Golf Club: Wasteland, are set to release their follow up title, The Cub.

Little did I know before playing it, it is not just a follow up, but a sequel to the beloved indie game, expanding on the world they created back in 2021.

Harkening back to those classic Disney SEGA games of old, combining the apocalypse with Jungle Book, is The Cub a worthy successor?

The Cub Review (PS5) – Stylish Apocalyptic Jungle Book Is Short But Very Sweet

Energetic And Vibrant Platforming

Demagog Studios’ The Cub is a fast paced platformer with some straight forward environmental puzzle solving. Moment to moment, The Cub always feels great.

Moving across stunning backdrops, jumping and double jumping as the music pumps through the space helmet feels thrilling and energetic.

The protagonist is stylishly animated and moves a lot like Mowgli from The Jungle Book, an inspiration that they wear on their sleeve.

There’s no combat from the players perspective, but the humans visiting from Mars will hunt you, which offer that aforementioned environmental puzzle solving.

Those very same humans who come back to earth to play golf will often chase you, or appear in the foreground and background to target you, and you’ll be tasked with implementing your platforming prowess to avoid them as best you can.

Riddled with beautiful animations, and an exhilarating soundtrack makes The Cub a joy to play.

On occasion, due to the nature of dying once you take a single hit, there is some trial and error, but it never really gets all that challenging.

You’ll progress through its short run time at a steady clip, flipping through the pages of its wonderful storybook-like aesthetic.

Climate Crisis Focus Narrative

As with Golf Club: Nostalgia, the overarching narrative of The Cub focuses on an ecological disaster that saw the richest flee to Mars, leaving behind the wasteland that would become of Earth.

Naturally, like its predecessor, it approaches the subject in an almost satirical manner, with storybook interstitials between chapters.

The Cub is charming, and atmospheric. Details such as being electrocuted next to a light, briefly sparking some life to its apocalypse backdrop, may bring about your death, but the animation is worth it, and really lends itself to the charm of the game.

Early on, The Cub will find a space helmet and put it on. Upon doing so, the player is reintroduced to Radio Nostalgia which featured in their previous game.

This allows for the soundtrack to play, and stories to be told, reminiscing of the world they left behind, so long as you’re above ground, which again; is a really nice detail.

Its narrative expands on Golf Club: Nostalgia nicely, and tells a great story within the confines of its own game, where the returning humans try and capture The Cub so they can figure out how he manages to live in this new ecosystem.

My only criticism, so to speak, is that the ending is abrupt, and feels like we’re very much in the middle of the greater narrative that Demagog Studios are telling, which I’m now completely sold on.

Beautiful Storybook Aesthetic

The Cub’s pastel backdrops are colourful, and especially vibrant when it makes use of its more neon palette, particularly when you see its city landscapes.

Combining its excellent use of colour, and it’s stop motion-esque animations make for a beautiful storybook aesthetic.

Quite often, you will notice plenty of pop culture references, whether that’s satirical versions of familiar company names that will be instantly recognisable to most, or references to famous post-apocalyptic PlayStation franchises for fans to enjoy.

The voice work is more than serviceable. The Cub’s narration during the interstitials capture his more primitive nature well, and the radio host does a great job of engaging you in stories of reminiscence whilst you take on the parkour challenges in front of you.

Everything works in tandem to create the vibe that Demagog Studios were going for. There’s a real sense of nostalgia to it.

They mention in the game description that The Cub is the apocalypse meets Jungle Book, and that describes it perfectly.

Short But Sweet

When it comes to replay value, there isn’t much to speak of. There are some collectibles that you might want to jump back in for.

I only happened to miss a handful on my first run. I’m definitely going to play it a second time regardless, as the experience is thoroughly enjoyable.

With the runtime coming in at just around 4 hours, this game absolutely begs to be played, especially for fans of Golf Club: Nostalgia. Not to mention, fans of platformers and games such as Inside, Far Lone Sails, etc will absolutely find a lot to love here.

Potential players shouldn’t be deterred by the short runtime nor if they haven’t played Golf Club: Nostalgia, as this game is a wonderful experience in its own right too.

I ran into no bugs, crashes, or glitches during my time with The Cub. The whole experience was as smooth as could be and an absolute joy.

Demagog’s fun thrill ride might be the first sleeper hit of 2024. I implore you, not to let this one pass you by.

The Cub is available on PS5 on January 19, 2024.

Review code kindly provided by publisher.



The Final Word

The Cub is a brief, energetic and beautiful thrill ride that already has me jumping back in for a second run. Expanding on the world introduced to us in the indie darling Golfclub: Nostalgia, there is so much to love about this charming, apocalyptic storybook platformer.