Gaming Review: Biped

Review: Biped

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It’s an odd feeling, learning to walk for the first time again. Every step is clumsy, wild and unsure; with each leg flailing about in the air trying to gain bearing. As the game progresses your steps become more sure, a little smoother, but doesn’t lose the adorably clumsy look. I had a lot of fun dancing around awkwardly, getting a feel for the movement.

From developer NExT Studios comes a cute little 3D adventure that reinforces the values of teamwork and communication. Biped is a fairly simple game; the objective is straightforward. Beacons lighting the way on earth have gone out. It’s up to you, or you and a friend to restore them

In Biped each analog stick controls a leg, hence the name. That’s it, no other controls nothing more to memorise or map. This makes the title extremely accessible to anyone; from kids, to their grandparents. I was even a little surprised when I first started the game up, I found myself used to a jump button at the very least. However, here all one needs to learn is how to walk. The deeper mechanics come in the well-designed puzzles and obstacles.

In Biped your legs are not only used for walking though, you use your feet like hands; and holding both analog sticks on a smooth surface allows you to skate. You can pull levers, paddle a raft, swing on a rope from point to point.

Your legs are essential to solving the many puzzles in the game. None of these puzzles were ever too hard, figuring out what to do was the easy part, the challenge mostly came from the execution. Timing movements, turning platforms and opening up pathways played a big part in moving forward each level. There were however, a few obstacles that threw me for a loop, taking me several tries to get through. One of them took me as long as 5 minutes to figure out, which in Biped is a long time. 

The levels here are very short, my quickest time in one of the earlier stages was around 11 minutes. I was pretty impressed with myself until I noticed the target time of 4 minutes. This is where longevity and replayability come into play. Each stage has a target, a maximum amount of falls(deaths) and a target number of collectible stars. Yet I couldn’t help but feel that this wasn’t enough. Not everyone wants to replay stages over and over to meet those targets. This leaves you with a campaign that could be completed in a single sitting, it took me about 3 hours give or take.

Visually the game is generally appealing, with a polished look and feel. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel in its design and art style, but that’s far from a necessity. In future though, I’d love to see the developers to take some chances and go for some more varied design choices. Perhaps underwater areas, circling the analog to propel yourself forward; or finding a beacon in the sky, your biped bouncing off of clouds. It’s got a cute aesthetic, but the standouts have to be the bipeds themselves. While relatively simple in design, each area brings bipeds with various adornments on their heads; such as pirate and pith (archaeologist’s) hats. You can also spend whatever coins you collect in game for your own accessories. 

The music is another pleasant addition, never intrusive, blending in nicely with the theme of the level. The training area is a lighthearted track which holds a sense of machinery at work, while still maintaining that key tone of adventure in its piano and cello notes. Cactus Valley, based on a wild west style desert, comes along with a banjo number, including a sample of an eagle’s call. The bipeds here even have cowboy hats on. Classic.

The emphasis on cooperation is vital to the gameplay of Biped. So much in fact, that even in single player there are NPC bipeds appearing occasionally that require your assistance to get across obstacles. As much as they need your help, you need theirs. You cannot get across without working with them, timing your steps with each other, or alternating your movements. I think it’s a stellar addition to include the teamwork aspect of the co-op campaign with its solo campaign. It shows that the message and gameplay of working together is paramount in this story.

Overall Biped is a wonderful, if short experience, incorporating positive values with fun and responsive physics based gameplay. Through its music, biped design and methods of traversal it ensures a memorable experience. It never overstays its welcome, if anything it leaves you wishing for more. If Bipeds ever gets a sequel, I’d love to see more maps added after release or perhaps a mode with up to four players at once, in teams of two. 

Highly accessible and fun, there will never be a moment of silence with this one running.

SUMMARY

+ Excellent couch co-op experience
+ Fun puzzles/obstacles
+ Wholesome message of teamwork
+ Good music
- Too short

(Reviewed on PS4, also available on Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch)
Jonah Ehlers
A lover of films, dogs and cooking, even though I'm terrible at it most days. Ever since my first console (the legendary PS2) I have had an immense love for Video games. It has given me some of my favourite memories, my closest friends and countless hours of fun.

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