Editorials

Review: Biped

For my review of Chinese game developer NExT’s Biped, I am going to be honest about my time spent playing this game. In my time spent with the game, I only managed to get through four of the eight levels. As I finish my review, I’ve run into a “Simon Says” puzzle that I’m struggling with. My current abilities are overloaded by the speed of the puzzle, and it’s done me in for the time being. From what I have read on Steam, the adventure in Biped is a bite-sized one, with most players reporting completion in two or three hours, and most hours spent in-game readings clocking between two and five hours. Now that’s short even for an indie puzzle game, but the objective here seems to be challenging yourself, and there certainly are enough challenges to keep replayability high. Each stage has three challenge metrics for you to complete: finding hidden stars, beating an optional time-limit, and dying less than a set amount.

Simply put, Biped is great but the lack of accessible controls leaves me in a lurch to complete this game in a timely manner for review. I’ve mentioned my issues with the accessibility before and I’ve done my best to finish the game but it’s left me unable to do so, I’ve done my best to get out a thorough review.

Biped is a cutesy coop action-adventure game, where the story goes that a race of advanced, yet handless robots must travel to The Blue Planet (seemingly Earth) to reboot several beacons to save the planet from going dark after a cosmic anomaly shut things down. Each of the courses offers a unique biome and beautifully bright orchestral track to keep you calm. The puzzles shouldn’t give you much trouble unless you struggle with dexterity or vision — as most of the ones I played through will require proper attention to timing. There’s some initial indignation to the walking element of the game as it can take a few moments to get a grip on how to control your Biped. I struggled a little with the idea of timing my steps, especially when it came to puzzles with moving rams trying to nock you of the edge! But after you develop a rhythm, actions become almost natural.

Biped intends for you to play it through couch-coop or over an online connection as many of the puzzles require two sets of feet. However, solo mode is quite enjoyable as it offers you the help of AI Bipeds to walk you through how to do the puzzles. I found that playing with another person added a different level of emotion to this short adventure. You’ll want your partner to be someone you get along with because it’s highly likely they’re going to plunge you off a platform at some point. Playing solo, I felt like a robot — pun intended! The AI-controlled Bipeds help you solve puzzles in co-op, but it’s a pleasant experience having to sort out the puzzles with a partner.

Along with the puzzles, there’s a classic adventure game element that NeXT does so well: coin races. Along the way, you’ll run into bluish-green coins that give you ten seconds to race across a line of the coins without missing a single one. If you can do so, your reward is a handful of shiny gold coins that help to purchase cosmetic upgrades. These coin races are straight from Super Mario and offer a nice break from the monotonous walking puzzles for a brief few seconds. I enjoyed that the races allowed me to use the skating feature in a challenging way, and it felt great when I completed them!

Verdict

Overall, Biped is a cute and short adventure title that is a good way to keep a couple of people busy. It’s certainly not an experience for everyone, but for $15 bucks, you can scarcely go wrong. NeXT does exactly what they intend to do by providing an experience that will bring gamers together in the pleasant act of puzzle-solving, and for the most part, does a good job at delivering that experience. Some accessibility would be welcome for those of us who need it but I can hope this is addressed in some way in the future.

[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]

Recommended
Recommended
The Good
  • Co-op is fun with a friend
  • Cute robot design, reminds me of Astro Bot
  • Satisfying to solve puzzles and races
The Bad
  • On the short side
  • Can be an overload at times (at least it is for me)
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