Developer: Next Studio
Release Date: April 8, 2020
Reviewed On: PS4
Publisher: Next Studio
I’ve always been a sucker for co-op games, but most of the time, I’m stuck waiting for Nintendo to deliver a quality family-friendly experience in this genre. Well, that’s just not the case with Next Studios’ Biped, which brings a playful and challenging experience to consoles. However, the challenging part of it all might make this seemingly adorable game tougher for some younger family members to get through.
Biped stars a pair of robots who are tasked with opening beacons across several stages and helping their robot buddies along the way. The story, if you can call it that, is almost nonsensical, but it doesn’t add or take away from the experience. The things this game has going for it are its adorable characters and cartoon-like environments, and that’s enough for me.
Players can choose either local co-op or solo campaign modes. While the stages are similar in themes, the puzzles vary across each mode. That said, the game’s focus is co-op gameplay, and this is proven through its design and additional levels for the two-player mode. The solo campaign offers a few ways to perfect your movements and interactions with the levels, but the entire single-player experience can be completed within an hour or two. The co-op mode, on the other hand, is where this game shows its charm. Each puzzle will require players to work closely with one another across the entire level. However, before I get too ahead of myself, let’s go over the controls.
Biped will give your analog sticks and thumbs a workout across every stage. Players must use the right and left stick to move the robot’s legs. At first, this takes some getting used to, but it does end up feeling more natural in the later levels, which encourages you to go back and test your skills in the early stages. Some areas also allow the robots to skate, which requires both analogs sticks to be pushed in the direction you want to go.
The puzzles demand you understand how to move the robots. Each level has you learn a new style of puzzle, but the game rarely repeats its designs. For example, the first stage has you balancing and taking turns stepping across a colored platform, but later levels have you grappling, or even controlling a boat. The game’s variety of puzzles is a bit overwhelming because right when you think you’re getting good at something, they introduce a new element and rarely return to the skills you’ve gained along the way.
For me and friend, the puzzles were challenging, in a fun way. However, I can’t see younger children finding enjoyment in some of the challenge levels that really test you. The game’s adorable robots and worlds don’t reflect the trial and error nature of the puzzle designs. I felt that the developers didn’t fully consider children gamers as completing a level will tell you how many times they think you should die, versus how many times you did, and their goals were demanding.
Biped is an exceptionally charming game with some beautifully themed levels and enjoyable complex puzzles. This is paired with a relaxing soundtrack that kept me calm through some of the more frustrating moments. When it comes to replayability, there’s enough reason to return to each level since you probably won’t achieve the goals that the developers have created. Given that the levels are each relatively short, it’s easy to jump back in one of the tougher milestones.
Collectables in levels include Stars and Coins. Coins can be used to purchase cosmetic items, while stars are given for completing puzzles. There’s also the beacons that are acquired at the end of each stage, but just going through solo mode will only unlock a little over 50% of the beacons. Meaning the game requires the completion of the co-op mode to 100% it, just something to keep in mind. At this time, it doesn’t look like the console release will support online play, which is kind of a bummer.
Biped might have the visual appeal of a children’s game, but it is most definitely a challenging and demanding co-op experience. Working together through each stage will put your thumbs to the test as you move these little robots across each environment. The replayability is there for those that want to meet the high expectations of the developers, but for most, this will just be a fun way to spend an afternoon.
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