When Symphonia’s musical essence suddenly becomes threatened, the ancient ethereal guardians that dream music into the world are awoken from their eternal sleep to restore balance. Harmony, Melody and Beat, who are collectively referred to as ‘The Buddies,’ must put an end to Prince Maestro’s dastardly plan to steal all the music for himself.
Cast as blue impresario Beat, Beatbuddy‘s award-winning musical adventure takes players through six worlds, each painstakingly hand-drawn and left to exuberate their own individual charm as you effortlessly glide through their tricky terrain. Awakening in a cavernous mine, that journey will see you progress through jungles and ruins before the tale comes to a close at the temple that has long brought music to the world.
Threaks has worked tirelessly to integrate the music penned for Beatbuddy by artistic luminaries that include Parov Stelar, Sabrepulse, Europa Deep, Curtis Newton, Austin Wintory and La Rochelle Band. That’s evident right from the opening tutorial, where players are slowly introduced to elements in their underwater surroundings such as bass drums, snare streams and hi-hat crabs. Implemented in a way that they are all performing along to the music that accompanies each of Beatbuddy‘s many chapters, it’s a real treat to see music permeating throughout the entire experience.
But, it plays a more integral role than simply being visual trickery. Beatbuddy relies on the rhythm to challenge the player with puzzles, whether that be whacking hi-hat crabs to open new pathways, carrying devices to activate snare streams to unlock doors or rotating deflectors to bounce you into breakable terrain. These become increasingly complex as you progress through the game’s later chapters, with the only variance coming in the gun-toting Bubblebuggy. Moving in time to the beat, this introduces standout moments where the camera shifts as the Bubblebuggy redirects the orientation.
The hand-painted worlds lend much to Beatbuddy‘s unique visual style, but such chosen technique results in those that are observant soon realising that the assets are repeatedly recycled which is a shame. Each level consists of several chapters and will take most players around 40 minutes to complete. That will see the adventure’s conclusion rock up at between 4 – 5 hours, although completionists can sink in plenty more time trying to gather every relic and Beatpoint – red crystals that unlock extras in the game’s main menu.
Threaks promise that there is “more to come,” with downloadable content to deliver new songs and ways to experience the game. But one element that should have had more consideration was the Wii U GamePad, which is once again relegated to only providing the option for Off-TV Play. Otherwise, Beat dances along on-screen but it isn’t particularly noteworthy implementation – especially when it has been available on iOS and Android touchscreen devices.
Beatbuddy thunders to the sound of its own beat, resulting in a memorable experience that will be enjoyed by many.