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Treasurebear: A Goofy Bear And His Booty [An Interview with Robert Lopatto]

A game full of charm and loads of booty!
This article is over 10 years old and may contain outdated information

As we transition into the next-generation of consoles, numerous studios have shut their doors. As a result we’ve seen a rise in the indie front. With so many games to shift through, how do you know which dark horse to bet on? Well I happened upon a Kickstarter project named Treasurebear. The art design instantly grabbed my attention, followed by what is one of the most interesting and charming concept’s, with a great soundtrack to boot.

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The Story so far

To catch you up to speed, Treasurebear is a 2D side-scrolling action/puzzler/platformer, currently being designed by Bear and Boar for a PC release. Bear and Boar’s made up of 5 close friends. The game stars Barry the bear and Chester the treasure chest mimic. Yes, you read that correctly. As you hunt for treasure, tasty snacks, explore, and combat enemies in the name of revenge, you do it  with a box of booty strapped to you back.

The pair form an allegiance by happenstance. Barry was serving a prison sentence as a bi-product of his sensational hunger’s natural curiosity. Chester, a greedy mimic who belongs to a world renown guild, was set-up by some unknown entity. The gold grubbing Chester then gets tossed into the same prison as Barry. He then promise’s Barry he’ll get to experience the wonders of the world… and it’s food, if he helps find out who did this.

This story struck me in a very peculiar way, I had more questions than answers, and had to find out more. Fortunately I got the opportunity to interview Robert Lopatto, the artist, about this little gem sitting out there right now on a little website called One of the most important questions I had for him was, what sets Treasurebear apart from other side-scrolling, action, platformers? Lopatto responds:

“…we are really trying to focus on exploration. The player will be able to make a bee line for the exit, but we’re looking to pepper the levels with small puzzles, mini challenges and urge players to seek out all the hidden treasures around the level. 

We want the gold to really mean something, so it’s more than just points. That along with the story, a working naval battle system, fun upgrades and colourful characters we’re hoping to make a real memorable gaming experience.”
Oh really, tell me more

Part of what makes the game look so fun is the unique artistic style. The color palettes and characters seem very appealing to me, it just looks pretty and gushes charm. Considering you spend your entire experience with any game staring at the art, this is an integral part of any development process.  What inspired the art style? As an illustrator, is this the direction you wanted to take it? Lopatto says:

 “The art style is pretty much how I draw normally. But thinking about it now, I could say it was refined for games when I was doing concept work for CONSTORY – a game I was working on before Treasurebear. However the style is still evolving…”

Above is an old iteration of what Barry would look like.


And this is how Barry looks now! (is he holding a Gameskinny logo?)

Another level of immersion that rarely gets overlooked when done well, is a games’ soundtrack. Simply watching the trailer on the site got me excited for these pixellated tunes to blast through my stereo speakers. The songs help bring out the charisma and set the tone. I of course couldn’t pass up the opportunity to know, who’s the genius behind these simplistic yet wonderful chip-tunes? Robert reply’s:

“It’s done by a friend of mine who is just great at what he does. He helped me with the music for the original treasure bear and I loved it.”

So far we’ve got a silly story, a great sense of style, and a great set of tracks to bob your head to. But what about the gameplay, that’s what makes or breaks any game at the end of the day. What else do we have to look forward to in Treasurebear? Just jumping and swinging? Robert rebuttled:

“The best example at the moment would be swimming. Normally when dropped in water Barry will do his best to stay a float, using Chester as a crude flotation device. With the upgrade he’ll be able to dive deep enough to unlock new parts of a level and with that new profitable finds.”

It’s good to know there are elements that will add depth to the sense of exploration. When exploring you’re bound to run into even more trouble. Robert says you’re treated to even more variety in the ways to dispose of your enemies. From watching the trailer there’s a wide variety of upgrades to buy with gold. Mr Lopatto goes on:

“We also want to give Barry the ability to use Chester as a rocket pack, hammer, inhuman shield, and even a machine gun.” Robert continues “we are working on a naval battle system. A lot of the basics of it are still concepts, but I can say looting other ships is something I’m pretty confident we will see.”

Okay, well fighting other boats and raiding ships for loot, all while adorning a rocket pack sounds like a lot of fun. What makes Treasurebear so special is in its name – Treasure. As you roam these many and varied environments, “from silly to scary,” you’ll come across plenty of booty. And those pieces of gold are integral to upgrading everything. “Along your journey you’ll find maps which will unlock entirely new islands with small adventures on them.”

So what of these new areas, I understand the exploration, treasure hunting, and combat. A concern is maybe the formula gets tired, not enough variety or challenge to the game. Which brings me to why does this title belongs in the puzzler genre. It may seem like you’re doing some standard fare platforming, but Mr. Lopatto states:

“At first the puzzles will be simple enough and get harder with time, but later on you’re going to be faced with some real doozies. puzzles like those can be found on the optional islands but hold the greatest rewards.  Most of the puzzles will be for cash rewards and not so much story completion.”

For a game so innovative with its concept; a puzzler, platformer, an action/adventure game with an unmistakable art style, I was curious to see how they plan on unfolding this story. Will there be big plot lines that hint at hypothetical astrophysics? Or will this be bare bones and lacking? Robert points out:

“As a pixellated platformer we’re not looking to throw RPG levels of text at the player, but we do want a fair bit of dialog. Most of the text will be found on NPC’s that litter the levels supplying the player with clues, story elements or just horrible puns.”


Go ahead, do the right thing 

All-in-all this game seems like it’s shaping up quite nice. It sounds like a work of passion and joy for its creators. With such a small team this allows for great communication amongst themselves, but really breaks down the barrier to entry for supporters or fans of this project. (Myself being the latter of those choices). The art continues to pander to my eyeballs’ palette, a soundtrack that is reminiscent of classic titles yet unique in and unto itself. A concept that I’ve never really seen before – 2D treasure hunting, naval battles, and a wacky duo that oozes charm. What more could you want from a start-up project, what more could you want from a game.

It was an absolute pleasure to interview Robert Lopatto. To support or view the Kickstarter campaign, click here. To listen to these groovy tunes, click here. These guys are still pretty early, so make sure you’re able to contribute while you can before it’s too late.


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I'm a stay at home dad who writes about video games. I enjoy my family, video games, and music.