Bear Paw Review

By , on January 14, 2010

Bear Paw
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • Excellent physics simulation and graphics.
  • Score multipliers and achievements add more depth.


  • Gameplay is very "hands off".
  • No way to end runs early either to reset or move on.


Bear Paw isn't terribly unique in its style and content, but as a whole the game is polished and well executed. From the eye shattering special effects to the smooth as silk physics, there's a lot more going on underneath the surface.

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If there's one word to describe Bear Paw by Neil Balharrie, it's "elegant". Simplicity is the key to this orbit physics simulator and with its basic controls and basic gameplay Bear Paw is more about enjoying the experience than beating it.

Like other orbit simulators, the goal is to stay alive for a set period of time. Each level is played the same way with players setting up their ship with a touch and giving it a trajectory and power with a slide of the finger. After this control is placed directly into the hands of the physics engine until the ship is destroyed. Having all control removed can be frustrating, especially when the art of predicting a complex set of gravitational pulls isn't a common talent, but sometimes you're rewarded with spectacular orbits that are just enough to get you to the next level.

Bear Paw uses a neon filled light show for the special effects which is quickly becoming fairly standard for space oriented games lately. The special effects spit, flare and burst with life, which is a saving grace for a game that relies on these graphics as one of the only ways of entertaining players once you've launched the ship. For an extra challenge there are achievements available to help set gameplay goals beyond just surviving.

From the grinding synth track to the colorful explosions, Bear Paw is a feast for the senses. This doesn't make it a great game, but as an experience it's more than enjoyable. A great game for physics fans and casual players too.


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