The Cub review

by on January 17, 2024
Release Date

January 19. 2024


The Cub proudly wears its 90s Disney platforming inspirations on its sleeve, and while it does remind me a lot of Aladdin and The Lion King on the Mega Drive, its best quality doesn’t require you to lift a finger to enjoy. For the most part, its gameplay is fun enough to make your way across the pretty apocalyptic levels, but it’s the radio that plays as you do all this, listening to a great soundtrack and some well-acted stories from those who left Earth behind, that makes this such a cool little title.

Following the events of something known as the Great Ecological Catastrophe, you play as a child who was left to survive in the wake of the disaster. The world has now crumbled and evolved, where the ruins of a city have become your playground. The rich who once fled to Mars to survive are now returning, and you’re goal is to escape being captured by them. While it does feel reminiscent of those older platformers, there’s also a distinct familiarity to Limbo and Inside.

These environments are barren and overgrown, but there’s also a beauty to them, thanks to Demagog’s love of all things neon. These subtle design choices make your journey across the various levels enjoyable, thanks to the detail and variety in the things you’ll see. Old abandoned buildings and junkyards, underground caverns and colourful flora. There’s a lot of beauty in the trauma of this new world, and it always makes venturing forth so exciting.

The controls for The Cub are generally decent, however, I always had issues when jumping off of a bouncy platform or while sliding down a ledge, as I couldn’t always get the right height. You also have to be quite precise when finding something to swing from and while climbing up ledges, and while the latter was less of an issue, it did frustrate from time to time. Running and evading enemies isn’t tough as such, but having these small issues did stop it from being a much more enjoyable experience.

Despite this, I really like The Cub. There’s a certain charm to the child, who’s been raised in the wilds and left behind, yet they still have an optimism that comes through despite never saying a word. Like last year’s Planet of Lana, it does so much through its environmental storytelling, at least when it comes to the titular character. When it comes to the overarching story about the catastrophe, Mars, and those who left the Earth to die, the radio station is superb.

It provides backstory to what happened, and some of the interviews and dialogue is so well written and acted. Not only that, the chill soundtrack and presentation feels so natural, and I genuinely couldn’t wait to hear more from it. It adds context to the story, but it also make The Cub feel so different to a lot of modern platformers. The story grabs you, and while the radio is an excellent source of information, there’s plenty scattered around to give you more detail.

While the traversal is relatively straightforward, there’s a ton of collectibles to find and check out in the pause menu. From books to data pods, and knick-knacks of all kinds, The Cub gives you a great reason to explore every nook and cranny you come across.  Once I knew just how many things to find there were, I made sure no stone was left unturned, giving me more of a reason to solve the simple yet fun environmental puzzles and see everything there was to see across the shattered civilisation.

If you’re after a gorgeous looking platformer that harks back to a time when Disney was king of the genre, you’ll not go far wrong with The Cub. Some of the controls aren’t as responsive as they could be, but more often than not you’ll have no issue swinging and jumping like a post-apocalyptic Mowgli. With tons of collectables to find and a story that’s interesting and poignant, it’s a great title to grab so early in the year.


Gorgeous environments
Cool soundtrack
Radio station is fantastic


Jumping is a little unresponsive
Climbing can be awkward

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

The Cub might not be as responsive as it should be when jumping and climbing, it's still a fun game to play with fantastic audio throughout.