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Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians (PC) Review

Being a video games journalist means we get access to games most of you readers won’t play for weeks to come. Some think we just like getting game exclusives and being able to brag about them on the internet. While true to a degree, we also get to play games which we don’t expect at all and which surprise us as much as you readers. Beatbuddy is one of those games.

 

That being said, I had the pleasure of playing Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians. It comes from THREAKS, a German developer who specializes in creating games which utilize music as an actual game mechanic. Not like guitar hero mind you, but more like the bit trip series. Beatbudddy will be their first game and has already built quite a reputation among the indie gaming scene.

In its most basic description, it’s a 2D music puzzle game, where you control Beatbuddy, a blue gelatinous sea creature. Seeing as the game takes place underwater, you have 360 degree movement. He is a simple being and so are his controls, with only a swipe and a grab function and that’s about it. You must use both in order to solve puzzles to get him from one place to another though, and usually while avoiding hostile wildlife, such as spiky snails and giant blowfish.

The game’s story is basic enough. You are the brother of the ruling queen and must help her plan an important musical event. But as it turns out, there are some evil sea creatures who do not wish for this event to happen and thus delay you as much as possible. They lock you in an underwater mine and you have to get out and save the day. Typical minimalistic storytelling, which is perfectly fine for a platformer, not like you need an elaborate backstory to get from point A to B.

A very interesting aspect though was the Bubble-Buggy, a round submarine which can only move in time with the music.  This makes you focus on your movement timing, as a delayed button press means that you jam the buggy and are thus vulnerable to the dangerous sea. In one certain occasion, you find yourself amid a conga line of jellyfish. They move in time with the beat and as such you must coordinate your button presses as to avoid a catastrophic death. Also along the way you encounter some beat snails which would up the tempo for a few seconds which meant both you and the jellyfish had to speed up, keeping the experience from getting repetitive.

The art style in this game is fantastic. Even though it takes place underwater, you will notice that not everything is solely blue. It seems the sea is filled with colorful and beautiful sea life. Even the rocky walls as pretty, having detailed and jutting sides which help add a sense of depth to the experience. You will meet an elderly walrus with a hearing problem, who resembles the early 70’s punk rocker, even though he needs a horn to listen to you.

 

This being a musical experience, you will be happy to know that the music side of it is near perfect. It is the game’s most basic skill and you will learn to notice sounds cues and changes as you play. For example, you must hit a drum clam in order to pass through spiked snails in one section. Once you manage to hit the clam, the snails will hide in their shells; this allows you a few seconds of travel before the snails return to their normal function.

It’s tricky, and very addictive.

Final Thoughts 

Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians is a truly fantastic indie game. With the newly invigorated indie landscape, we have seen loads of games come out in the past few years like this one. Most play using the same mechanics yet different art styles, but it’s nice knowing that an indie developer can make something as interesting as Beatbuddy, a perfect blend of music and gameplay.

Threaks is up to something with this game and hopefully we will see more of them to come.

About Isaacmo

A young lad on a magical journey through the dark and terrifying world known to many as "the industry". From his hellish prison, Isaac can hear the cries of pain and suffering from those who came before him, only to hear their hearts stop in utter terror. Video games aren't all fun and games kiddies.

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