So, you play as an underwater blue blob thing, your Beatbuddy, to solves platforming puzzles that conform to, or create, the games’ oh so prominent music. Sounds pretty reasonable to me. To be fair, one of the most popular games ever is based on a plumber killing a dinosaur to save a princess named after a piece of fruit. With that crucial analysis complete let us begin.
German Indie developer THREAKS where kind enough to let me try out their new tittle, Beatbudy: Tale of The Guardians. Right from the word go you’re introduced to the unbearably catchy beats that will accompany you, and your Beatbuddy, on your journey. I challenge anyone to play Beatbuddy and not get caught up with the beat. The entire world and its puzzles revolve around the music. Even your cool little Beatbuddy starts dancing if you leave him alone.
Not to say the music is just regurgitated generic background music but is in fact rather different and unique, utilizing all sorts of genres and sticking a nice bass beat behind it. The music is cleverly layered so that different obstacles in the world contribute in different ways to the music. It must have been painstaking to create such intricate and challenging environments and then make sure they’re accurately timed to the music.
The hand drawn environments are artistic and frankly gorgeous. The underwater setting adds nicely to the slick feel of the game ensuring your character moves smoothly at all times. It looks nice, it sounds good and it’s actually challenging at points too. You can often get by relying on good old fashioned platforming ability but for times when that doesn’t work you can call on your musical timing to help. Most of the puzzles can be solved, or at least made easier, by moving to a certain beat; which is clever and more importantly requires good level design. There’s enough variety and complexity in the puzzles that I found myself wanting more when I finished.
The only problem I had was that I found some of the more challenging sections a little tricky to complete on my keyboard. There’s only so much finesse and accuracy that four buttons can provide you with. Switching to a gamepad allows for much more precision and I found it much easier to get my Beatbuddy to go where I wanted him. Maybe I’ve got a crappy keyboard (or maybe I’m just not very good with it) but if you’ve got a pad spare I’d use it. Beatbuddy does feel like it would be at home on a console but unfortunately doesn’t have a scheduled console entry. Hopefully the XBOX ONE and PS4 will put an end to indie developers been unable to get their titles to a console, or at least make it more appealing to do so. But for now here’s Beatbuddy’s new trailer.
So long as THREAKS provide us with enough well designed levels and interesting music Beatbuddy will be challenging, addictive and refreshing. The only problem now is getting that beat out of my head. Dum dum dum dum.
Beatbuddy: Tale of The Guardians is due for release on August 6 2013 on Windows PC, MAC, and Linux.