In most games, if not all, music plays a very important part. Whether it is to set the eerie scene of a horror game or make you feel that little bit more in a heart wrenching scene, music has the ability to do many things to a player. In games like Guitar Hero and Rockband, music is the sole aim of the game and you must play with the beat in order to progress. Taking this idea and putting it into a platformer is a unique and exciting idea that has been experimented with in Beatbuddy: Tales of the Guardians.
The game sees you take control of Beatbuddy in the underwater world of Symphonia, where the evil Maestro is causing havoc that you have to set right. This involves navigating your way through 6 different levels set in 6 different locations, swimming your way through enemies, obstacles and puzzles. These underwater adventures aren’t your average platformer levels though, as the enemies and obstacles you have to get past each move in time to the beat of the song playing in the background.
There’s also an underwater vehicles that moves exactly with the beat, which you are given control of in different chapters during each level. You have to especially pay attention to the musical beat whilst you are in this because you can only dash on every second beat, as well as moving in between bigger enemies as you are taking up much more space than just Beatbuddy on his own.
The level designs are fairly similar, but they are long enough so that you don’t get bored of swimming through them. With plenty of side paths and secret areas to explore with clumps of beatpoints to collect, you’ll be swimming through each level at least twice most likely to find them all. These beatpoints unlock “extras” in the form of pictures telling the story of the creation of the game, and with achievements attached there is extra incentive to find them all.
This is made that little bit easier with both a level and chapter select, to get you at the exact point you want to be. Unfortunately, the game leaves you to find your own way around the level pretty much on your own, with no map or mini map to be seen. Whilst this isn’t needed for the most part, there may be times when you get stuck in a level not sure of the way out. There was also a couple of parts for me where the game itself completely glitched and wouldn’t let me continue, and whilst this was eventually fixed with a few game and console resets, the game feels like it could have been polished up just that little bit more.
The whole game itself has a very bright and bouncy feel to it all the way through, and all of the music, graphics and gameplay fit in with that. The beautiful watery colours fit the games underwater setting, so there is plenty of blues mixed in to a game that is nice to look at as well as play. Obviously the sounds in the game are very important, and there is a interesting and unique soundtrack to go with the gameplay. A different song for each level keeps things different, but if you get stuck on a level for a while, the music can start to get a little irritating.
The game is a fairly decent length, despite only having the six levels in total. The concept of Beatbuddy is a very exciting idea that is well executed, but there is the feeling that more could have been done with it, whether that is through more levels with slightly different puzzles, or different unique levels where you have to work around the music beat in a different way. The puzzles in the game come in the form of moving an item such as a door key to a different location avoiding enemies and turning bouncing panels in order to break through obstacles. Once you know how to work out the puzzle the first time around, it isn’t too hard to figure out the rest, but each one is slightly different enough in order to keep you guessing.
The game’s few achievements offer enough of a challenge that you will come back to play the levels again, to collect all the beat points as well as defeat enough of each of the enemys for their appropriate achievements. Beatbuddy overall is a fun and interesting game that will challenge both your eyes and your ears. The game brings a new concept to the platforming genre,that is experimented with but feels like it slightly misses the mark. Aside from a couple of flaws, Beatbuddy is an unique platformer that uses music in a new and interesting way, that just finishes a little too soon.