Music is such a powerful and engaging tool when used effectively, and moreso in games. It’s extremely fair to say that Beatbuddy uses music perfectly.
While at PAX we got called over by Denis from THREAKS, who was showcasing the game to the public. He grabbed me a set of headphones, told me how to play the game and when I asked what sort of game it was, he told me it was an Action Music game. I couldn’t put it better myself.
I started off in what seemed to be an aquatic wonderland. Before I even got the chance to move Beatbuddy, I was amazed and seriously impressed by how beautiful the game looks. The world is all hand painted, with everything moving with a fluidity and style reminiscent of Rayman Legends or Origins, but making it all it’s own. Everything is smooth and silky and it really made me appreciate the game much more knowing there was so much effort put in visually.
The meat of the game comes with how the gameplay and music combine into one seamless experience. As Beatbuddy floated along, I could see a weird rock pulsating along to the beat. My inquisitive side kicked in and I inched towards it. With a mighty thud, it smashes me into another rock, before I slam into a wall. It topples over and I continue to float along. The more I move on in this musical world, the more I want to continue and experience it. Every new element was blowing me away.
I swim along to what seems to be crabs, their spindly legs making noise and working with the beat, with a simple punch to what I think is one their heads, they all pull their legs back inside and I quickly dash through to safety. A second after I’m safe, they pop back out and the music is back in full swing. That’s an aspect I really fell for. There is a constant music track going, composed by some pretty well revered artists (like Austin Wintory from Journey!) but the ways the levels are designed, the elements that you can mess with allow you to sort of freestyle and mess with the track. It’s cool and engaging, as it makes you absorb your surroundings in a way most games can’t.
Eventually, after tackling some bubble barriers and unlocking doors through a variety of quick dashing and grabbing, testing my twitch skills and reflexes. I reach what appears to be some sort of ship. I jump in and get told that the ship moves along with the beat, and with good timing you can make it move faster. Sure enough, with somewhat impeccable timing on my part, I’m zooming around and tackling everything in my path. The whole time I’m playing, with the beat thumping through my head, I’m bouncing along to it. But all good things must come to an end and unfortunately for me, the demo is over.
I left the game extremely satisfied, craving more and wanting to see what else the game had to offer. I was able to ask Denis Rogic about the game. He told me that the game will be releasing on PC, Mac and Linux soon, August 6th to be exact! There are plans to release on console as well, but no details have been released so far.
I love music games, with a great example being my love of the Bit.Trip series. There’s something so satisfying and engaging about combining action and music together to create an experience. Beatbuddy was not something I had heard a lot about before PAX, but it’s something I will definitely be picking up when it releases. With a satisfying mix of music, gameplay and art, THREAKS have created a tightly woven and immensely satisfying experience that you need to take notice of.