Beatbuddy Review: Moving To The Beat, Faults & All

BeatBuddy Title Card GraphicBeatBuddy Quote Graphic

iconBeatBuddy Info Graphic

What it is about:  Awakened from his slumber, Beatbuddy journeys through lush hand-painted environments on a quest to save his companions and his own immortality.  Beatbuddy interacts with the living-breathing environment that pulses to the beat of an original soundtrack, aiding him as he unlocks new paths and solves puzzles.  An action-adventure game which incorporates music into every aspect of the uniquely hand painted beautiful world. You will interact with the environment and a variety of creatures to open paths and solve puzzles throughout your journey.

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The Looks:  Uniquely hand painted levels and characters that ooze with originality and beauty.  Great looking when you are whizzing though a level but also wonderful to stop listen to the music and admire the backdrop.

What You Hear:  Original songs composed specifically for the game by known artists including Austin Wintory, Parov Stelar, Sabrepulse and La Rochelle Band.  Each characters speech is an unknown language that sounds like the characters are beat boxing.  This was a funny twist to the Starfox form of speech.  The music is wonderful to just stop and listen to.

Controls/Gameplay:  The controls for Beatbuddy are that of three options.  You can control him with the keyboard using the directional keypad and F and V for grab and punch and Space for a timed dash.  Or you could use the mouse, moving the mouse around Beatbuddy would place a dot around his body showing the direction of his movement should you move the mouse in that direction.  The dash and punch were mapped to the mouse buttons with the grab still located on the keyboard.  A third option is the use of a controller.  I did not have a controller available, however that being said, I can assuredly tell you that the best option is most evidently the controller.  The fidelity of both the keyboard and mouse options made moving Beatbuddy around more than a chore as neither option allowed me to move in a way that worked well or felt natural.  Plus the keyboard option made my hands ache for some reason.  If you play Beatbuddy, Threaks and I recommend the use of a controller.

The gameplay itself has you moving Beatbuddy through area to area solving puzzles, punching crabs, bouncing though crustacean walls, and using your vehicles turret to shoot holes though the underwater creatures, and avoiding a big fish creature.  The gameplay is fun and simple, when everything works, and the music allows you to really lose yourself as you solve puzzles.  The entire world moves to the music even your vehicle.  You must punch some objects that block reflectors by attacking them in sequence with the music’s beat.

The Enjoyment:  My time with Beatbuddy was a roller coaster of enjoyment and disappointment.  My early reactions to the game were one of wondrous immersion in its beautiful artwork and music.  The game takes such care to create immersive hand painted environments that twirl and beat to the music.  As well, to have created such a character as Beatbuddy, cute and cuddly in his uniqueness, was enjoyed.  It is this care and attention to detail in the music and the characters and environments that makes this game so wonderful, when it works.  It is so disappointing that it is mired by technical glitches, and painfully unresponsive secondary controls.

I must state now that I did not finish the game for my review.  This is due in fact to these glitches, that through my playthrough were abundant and devastating to my play.  It started with only a few, the main character would be immobile and I would have to reset from the last checkpoint, a mild inconvenience I thought since most checkpoints were well placed, though it did not stop there.  As I progressed through the game, more and more glitches were had all similar, all fixed by resetting to last checkpoint.  It was till I was approximately halfway through the game when the worst glitch came.  The game would not allow me to punch or dash, which was necessary to progression.  I contacted Threaks, and to their credit they tried to help, resetting and trying different control methods did not work.  I then took it upon myself to start the game over.

Some time later, though faster the second time, as I knew the puzzle solutions, I came again to the area I had come to previously and all abilities were intact and I could progress as normal.  I later encountered more of the same glitches as before, resetting the checkpoint and playing it again.  I later encountered a glitch where I had to maneuver my vehicle through a path, with falling debris then the background and large segments of the falling debris would disappear leaving much of the screen blank.  It was not terribly hard to progress through this section, as the segment was short, and the path followed conventions much like other games.  Later again, I hit yet another glitch that no amount of resetting could fix, as the checkpoint was in the very same area.  In this hub area there were three puzzle areas to solve whereby I needed to collect goo.   I had solved two of them before I had to walked away, and when I came back I had forgotten where I had gone so I went to a section, which I had previously solved and the game would not allow me to return to the hub area.  Thus I was stuck, and the last checkpoint was activated in that area so I could do nothing, fortunately I could reload just the level and did not have to restart the game.  It was at this point, with many hours spent on this game, which supposedly is pretty short(think 3-5 hours), I said to myself I am done playing this if I hit another glitch, as I had already spent well more than enough time with the game(11+ hours).  Then just to my luck, a bit further into the game I hit one more.  I had to clear some health spheres from the pathway of bubbles that would unlock the next door.  However when cleared the game did not register that the spheres were gone, and so the bubbles would continue to pop which kept the door closed.  No amount of resetting would fix the problem.  It was at this time that I succeeded to the game and called it quits, as I had spent over eleven hours on a game that should not have taken more than three or five.

BeatBuddy SS5It is a true shame that the game contained all of these glitches, though I should point out that this has not been the experience of all other reviewers and could be addressed later in a patch.  The game, when it worked was a wonderful experience, mired by glitches.

Despite the glitches the puzzle design did wear thin towards the end.  The repeated solutions to progress through the puzzles began to feel as though you were doing the same thing over and over again with only vehicular shooting sections to connect you to the next area of nearly identical puzzles.  Though I must state that its simplicity is not necessarily a bad thing, as it aims towards a more casual audience, and the soundtrack and visuals helped with this.

BeatBuddy SS4It pains me to have to give the game such a low score as I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game in the beginning of my journey.  That being said had these glitches not been there or are ever patched the game would definitely receive a higher score.  However, the game for me became unplayable, and as such the score reflects my overall experience.  Plus I must say that this review is only now published nearly a month after I had completed my journey.  Playing this game and trying my hardest to wade through its barren land of glitches, put me into a spell of uncaring, perturbed by games I was emotionally sucked dry.  Hence why I now have chosen to publish it and am productively reinvigorated and reinvested in games and the site.

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The Good:  Beatbuddy creates a beautifully hand drawn environment that pulses to the beat of original music that is wonderful to stop, listen and admire.

The Bad:  The puzzles are not varied enough, and become a chore and a bore.

The Ugly:  Mired by bugs and glitches, some inconvenient, others will break your enjoyment and the game.  A control scheme that disappoints, as its best version of control requires the addition of a controller.

Who is the game for?  As a casual musical platformer, anyone can enjoy this, if the game functions.

Beatbuddy Verdict GraphicOfficial Website http://beatbuddy.com/

Purchase The Game Here http://store.steampowered.com/app/231040/

Have you ever played a game that was so broken for you that you had to put down the game because it demoralized you?  Let me know what you think in the comments.

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