Beatbuddy: Tales of the Guardians

7 Overall Score
Gameplay: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10

Excellent use of music | Amazing art style | Fluent controls

Vehicle sections aren't as fun | Puzzles are hit or miss | A few technical issues

Game Info

GAME NAME: Beatbuddy

DEVELOPER(S): THREAKS

PUBLISHER(S): THREAKS

PLATFORM(S): Wii U

GENRE(S): Action, Adventure, Music, Puzzle

RELEASE DATE(S): August 5, 2015 (UK)

We all love music in our games, right? Whether it would be the jazz influenced soundtrack of Mario Bros. or the epic score of The legend of Zelda, music is a part of the whole package that enriches the experience for the player. But this is where Beatbuddy changes things up. On the surface, Beatbuddy looks like a fairly typical adventure/puzzler, but you soon learn that absolutely everything in this aquatic setting follows the beat of the background music and is directly integrated into how you navigate this world. What is even more surprising is when you discover that the beat is actually being generated by the plant and animal life that inhabit the game and how you can use this to your advantage. For example: plants are named after various drums; the bassdrum will propel you at high speed into a certain direction, and this mechanic is used as a focal point for a lot of puzzles, but more on those later.

Beatbuddy_Screenshot2

Beatbuddy looks incredible, and the developer, THREAKS, has come up with a colourful art style that provides a treat for the eyes while your ears are being served  with excellent compositions from various artists. In fact, each level has a single song from each composer. Also, each level has a certain style of music to accompany the visuals; the first level starts off slow but soon builds into an energetic swing piece that will keep your foot tapping along, and that actually does help with your rhythm and puzzle solving. There are hazards that have to be navigated that change in time with the music and certain actions you do will affect the music. The Hi-hat crab is a hazard that crops up regularly and protrudes spikes out of the walls, making them impassable, but if you hit the crab, not only will the spikes retreat into the walls but the hi-hat sound will also stop in the music, which is a nice little touch.

Beatbuddy_Screenshot3

However, there were a few problems I had with the game; in every level there are vehicle sections where you drive the Bubbly Buggy. These sections I didn’t have as much fun with, mainly because of the odd movement. Beatbuddy swims through the water with fluency and ease. The Bubble Buggy stutters along because its movement is restricted by the beat of the background music. It does have a boost function; however, this is rather limited because it can only be activated on every other beat and when the action gets frantic you don’t really have time to sit and count the beats, which can lead to frustration. Another major problem is bugs: I encountered a few framerate drops in areas and the game crashed on me twice, leading to a console reset. I have also had a key not appear, meaning I was stuck wandering around ’til I died, and then it appeared. I’m sure these will be fixed with a patch shortly but, at the moment, it is annoying. Also, the puzzles are very hit and miss. Some are very clever and enjoyable to work out, while others are very tedious and boil down to basic fetch this item and then fetch another. Also a lot of the same puzzle elements are used over and over again. Remember I mentioned the bassdrum earlier? Well, get used to seeing it, because it shows up…a lot. The mechanic is overused.

Beatbuddy_Screenshot6

The Recommendation

Despite all the technical problems, I would still highly recommend Beatbuddy. It is very inventive, and the way it integrates music into the gameplay is remarkable. The game isn’t especially long or difficult. Also, it is let down by the puzzle variety slightly, and the story is very throw away, but other than that this is a very solid puzzle/adventure title and a welcome addition to the eShop library (UK only for now, though).

Summary

SHARE THIS POST

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Colin Crompton View all posts by
Colin loves all things Nintendo and considers them the greatest pioneers in the video game industry. He has been playing video games since he was very, very young and is a fan of most genres. He also spends far too much time on Monster Hunter.