- Fantastic fusion of game and sound
- Great soundtrack composed by you
- Variety of musical crustaceans adds increasing challenge
- Shorter than I hoped
I dare you. I dare you to not tap your feet and nod your head to the rhythm that resonates through Beatbuddy: Tale Of The Guardians. To fully appreciate the game, wack up the volume control to the highest notch and put on some Sennheisers. The synergy between how the game plays and how the game sounds is so interwoven, that to class the two entities and review them separately would be virtually impossible. What amounts to a simple platformer on the surface reveals a thumping orchestra of percussion and beats underneath, as you navigate the underwater chasms in 4/4 time.
You control the upbeat Beatbuddy, a mythical being living in the underwater world of Symphonia. Beatbuddy and his ilk treasure sound and music, but the world he once knew is torn asunder by the music thieving Prince Maestro. Along your travels, you are aided by your sister Harmony along with other dashingly musical friends such as Clef, Trebble and Quaver (thank god they didn’t use names like, half-note, quarter note). Your job is to navigate through six different worlds to try and stop the prince. Your first step into Symphonia is a note perfect introduction to how Beatbuddy works. Each oceanic life produces a rhythmic sound, some help you while some are hindrances. The further you progress, the more “instruments” are available and they are slowly introduced which gradually changes the game dynamic.
Each level is beautifully presented with pseudo 3D backgrounds which gives it a sense of depth. In turn, the levels are constructed cleverly to challenge the player at each turn, with more and more obstacles. My favourites are The In and The Out; these creatures open their jaws in time with the song that is being composed as you play, The In will suck you whole and teleport you to The Out where you are unceremoniously spat back into another part of the level. There’s Fire Snails, star-shaped Dancers and Soldiers, all out to stop you and making your life very difficult. The key to success is to keep to the beat; barging your way through these barriers will only end in death. Death is not permanent however and the payment for resurrection is the cost of pink gems which are scattered throughout. Thankfully after each difficult trial, rocks are nearby which can be smashed to top-up your health bar. Alongside dashing, smashing and weaving around your underwater world, you also get to drive a nifty spherical submarine. It’s cool because, it dashes in exactly the same time as the beats throughout all the levels, slowly regenerating health when not under attack. And it has a gun attachment later on for trigger happy folks.
There are bosses too, such as Bronko the big badass fish. I had particular fun with this, it’s gaping mouth slowly closing in as you dart, dodge and sprint your way through the level to avoid being eaten. Towards the end of the game, complete songs will have been composed, and they are all composed by you. Sometimes, you just want to hit that anemone one more time to add a few extra notes to your soundtrack. The development of the game is genuinely created with love and oozing with originality. Although the game is simple to play, the intricacies involved in creating music to work like this would be a development nightmare for some. It helps that musical geniuses from the likes of Journey lent a hand in its inception and created some catchy tunes along the way. Although the game is straightforward and fairly on rails, you soon forget the linearity because it’s so much fun and it sounds awesome.
Watching someone play Beatbuddy or in fact reading this doesn’t convey the nature of the game. It’s one of those, try and see for yourself, type of deals. The closest I can think of in comparison is Child Of Eden but the musical integration in this is rudimentary when placed alongside Beatbuddy’s composition. At £10.79 currently on Steam it sits under the 15 quid category which doesn’t break the bank and it’s a lovely game. The only downside is that the game seems short, and it’s only short because you simply want more fantastic symphonies to play with. Let the inner conductor in you have fun with some shellfish jazz.