Contrary to popular belief, video games don't often come easier than Bugsnax, which is precisely why we find ourselves falling back to it time and time again for every moment we scour the Game Pass library. It's easy on the eye, unusually charming, and above all, compelling enough to make you want to come back and scurry up a few hours of collecting various snack-related creatures and entities. It's harmless fun, and we're all for the point is stands for.
Of course, Bugsnax isn't the only game in the world to feature unusual creatures on alien planets. If anything, it's just one of the many, which technically makes our roles as researchers a whole lot simpler. And so, with that in mind, if you're looking to resume your position as an archivist on a system chock-full of otherworldly species, then be sure to check these five out after beating Bugsnax.
5. The Gunk
The Gunk is a platformer that opts for visuals over combat, which clearly seeps through its ultraviolet textures and pastel vistas. But of course, that's a major plus for those who just want to explore an alien planet, collect some research, and basically call it a day before the storm reaches its climax. And if you do enjoy combat in short bursts, then hey, it does have enough to keep you satisfied. Perhaps not enough to keep you on your toes from beginning to end, but on your knees…in a pool of quicksand.
Like Bugsnax, the goal behind The Gunk is to archive data on a new planet, a place which houses a lost alien species that has been in cryosleep for generations. After arriving, you begin to spot the tar-like material eating away at the forgotten utopia. Using a vacuum and a heart for adventure, you step out to return the world to its former glory, documenting everything as you go.
4. What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch won't have you looking into a lost species per se, but it will have you scrounging through an old family estate in search of clues that connect the deaths to the infamous curse that claimed each relative. Although on a different wavelength to Bugsnax in terms of visuals and tone, it does rely on data collection to steer its narrative towards a conclusion.
From the moment you cross the threshold and enter the famous Finch manor, you're invited to a thread of convincing stories that each vary in emotion and power. The more you explore, the more the dots around you start to become clearer and paint the whole portrait. Happiness, heartbreak—it's all connected, and it's your duty to write your family's story, however bleak it may be.
3. Pokémon Legends: Arceus
In spite of what Professor Oak once said, Arceus went on to prove that the first Pokédex was not, in fact, compiled by the celebrated figure. It was configured long before, during a time when Professor Oak wouldn't have even exited his mother's womb. Turns out, of course, that it is you, the overambitious Pokémon trainer of the Hisui region that winds up collecting the data for the first-ever Pokédex.
Of course, to acquire such a large amount of data, one must first step forth and embark on an epic quests of discovery and development. Along the way, you'll find not only worthy data, but life-long relationships, momentous battles, and a ludicrous amount of snapshot-worthy treks. Put together, the action-adventure hit transforms into a tale of epic proportions, complete with all the gadgets and gizmos from previous instalments to boot.
2. Viva Piñata (Series)
The hype might have faded since its golden days on the Xbox 360, but the matter of the fact is, we, among a few others, are still here to sing its praises. Sure, it isn't alive and kicking like it used to be, but when given a chance to shine on updated hardware, it certainly sparkles. And honestly, if you think Bugsnax is awesome just for the burger-faced critters alone, then you'll definitely find something to love with Viva Piñata.
On top of it being a city-building game of sorts, Viva Piñata is also a life management simulator. By that, we mean you can make species coexist with one another and, you know, make magic in the same habitat. And this isn't just your everyday ladybirds and worms, or anything of the kind. They are fluffy, adorable, albeit incredibly unusual beasts of nature, sprinkled in paper confetti and googly eyes. How's that for entertaining?
Biomutant may not be as cute as Bugsnax, but it does give you an idea of what it's like to live on a planet populated by unorthodox creatures. And, as luck would have it, you too are able to fill its roster as a customizable mutant with a moral compass, one which is calculated in accordance with your gameplay style.
The goal behind Biomutant is relatively simple, in the fact that you need to survive in a hostile world where bugs and beasts thrive in dire situations. As a lonely army of one, you must define your legacy by embarking on a quest of self-discovery. As you get to know your unusual home world, you'll come to understand which species are built to survive, and which are destined to crumble.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.