Beatbuddy: Tale Of The Guardians ReviewAugust 11, 2013
Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians is an inventive, imaginative music game with beautiful art direction.
When you think of music and rhythm games, titles such as Dance Dance Revolution, Just Dance, Guitar Hero, ReRave, and Karaoke Revolution spring to mind. They usually involve a timed sequence of lights, that you need to hit to a certain beat. Beatbuddy: Tale Of The Guardians bucks the trend and offers up a new style of music-based gameplay.
Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians was developed by Threaks and published by Reverb Publishing. It was released for Steam on August 6th, 2013. Beatbuddy is a unique action-adventure game, where the world dances to a specific rhythm, and music is built into the game mechanic. You take on the role of the eponymous Beatbuddy, on a quest to stop Prince Maestro from controlling all of the music in the realm.
The gameplay in Beatbuddy is interesting. Beatbuddy – an adorable, bluish-green-jelly creature – has the ability to move in any direction, dash, and use a simple slash attack. The controls are a bit sticky at first, and it takes some time to get use to. Beatbuddy doesn’t have that much maneuverability, especially while dashing – which grants you a burst of speed that shoots you in a straight line. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the levels are a twisted maze of obstacles, so it becomes difficult to move Beatbuddy through the stages without bumping into anything. It isn’t incredibly frustrating, but it does make it harder to avoid dangers.
There are a lot of puzzles, and you’ll need to explore and actually use a bit of critical thinking to make your way through this wondrous world of music. Most puzzles revolve around pulsing-beat-plants that knock you in a certain direction, usually towards a mirror. You can aim the mirror in any direction, using Beatbuddy to interact with it. Most of the time, there are shell-walls that can only be destroyed by bouncing off the beat plant, bouncing off a mirror, and flying into the shell-barrier. It becomes really complex later on, with various mirror and beat plants bouncing you through the level. It can get really intense!
At some points in the stage, you get to pilot a Bubble Buggy, which sort of looks like a walnut with engines on it. This has to be one of my favorite parts of the game! While you play as Beatbuddy, the world around you moves to the rhythm, but you are pretty much detached from the beat. It gives you some freedom, but you don’t really feel like you’re a part of the music. However, once you pilot the Bubble Buggy, the music becomes more upbeat, and your little walnut ship moves to the music. You have the ability to dash in this pod as well, but only on the second beat to the song, which makes it really fun! I always looked forward to playing these sections of the game.
The environments are absolutely beautiful. The art direction is highly stylized, the colors are brilliant, and each stage has a unique feel. Each of the five levels are hand-painted 2-D sprites, which light up the screen with vibrancy and imagination. Every stage has its own color, its own style, and its own presence. Artwork overlaps, giving a visual sense of depth to the huge levels, allowing for a lot of exploration. I found myself taking breaks from gameplay to marvel at the amazing artwork every once in a while.
Enemies are varied, and move and vibrate to their own beat. There are pulsing jellyfish creatures, snails with spikes coming out of their back, crabs that look like they’re playing the drums, snails that shoot flaming bullets from their back, and red and green pod plants that suck you up and spit you out in a new part of the level! You’ll never get bored seeing the same type of enemy. And since each type has its own rhythm, its own way it moves to the music of the world, you need to approach each one carefully. Beatbuddy isn’t a simple button mashing, hack and slash adventure. Everything you do requires timing, patience, and a sense of rhythm doesn’t hurt.
The greatest aspect of this game is, of course, the music. I found myself bobbing to the songs, dancing in my chair as I played. Every enemy, and most of the helpful objects, all help to create an orchestra of bass, snare drums, synths, and hi-hats. It’s a very enjoyable experience for the music alone. The soundtrack is all original, written and composed by some respect musicians, like Austin Wintory, Parov Stelar, Sabrepulse and La Rochelle.
Beatbuddy is a very inventive and imaginative game. It can be difficult, and maneuvering the protagonist takes a bit of getting use to, but it is more than worth the $14.99 price tag on Steam. If you enjoy music and rhythm, and would like to try something new and innovative, definitely pick up a copy of this game! It’s a feast for your senses.