Links on platforms, regions & where to buy (selected Retail & Digital where available) can be found at end of review
About The Game
Help Beatbuddy and his pals restore harmony to the mystical world of Symphonia in Beatbuddy, a beautifully composed musical adventure for Nintendo eShop on Wii U.
Prince Maestro’s conducting an evil plan to steal the planet’s music all for himself. You’ll have to help Beatbuddy drum up support from a vibrant cast including Clef, Treble, Quaver and more to settle the score and save Symphonia.
Featuring an original soundtrack with songs composed by known artists including Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory, in Beatbuddy the soundtrack is your aid to exploring this unique underwater universe.
Journey through six hand-painted 2D worlds, pay attention to the unique rhythm of each level, and learn to play to the beat to overcome the challenges, open up new paths and solve puzzles. Each enemy you attack and object you interact with will remix the beat and song of each living, breathing world.
Can you keep in time with Beatbuddy's puzzle-platforming groove?
Every game I review gets at least 4 hours or game completion status, where possible I’ll always try to give games some extra review time though that can be a hard task dependant on the number of new releases, and other planned reviews / features going up during the week even before taking personal life into any consideration or private gaming time.
Sometimes though a game I’m reviewing drives me to see it through to completion regardless of the gaming hours it might take (within reason if I suspect a 20+ hour game I wouldn’t make the review wait)
Beat buddy was one of these games.
It comfortably passed the 4 hour review marker but left me with a will and desire to stick with it as I knew the end wasn’t too far from view (or so I thought it did end up being double my time)
I’ll be getting to what gave me the desire to stay up until 5am to make sure I beat the game later but I’ll start with the few things that didn’t make me come back for more first?
The game has a story line in there somewhere but it’s barely explained and makes such little sense to begin with you’ll never have the need to be all that interested in what’s going on.
It could be summed up by saying a bad guy has taken some of your beat buddies and it’s up to you to travel through the 6 levels (each with multiple chapters) to get to the end and put a stop to him.
Something that somewhat disappointingly ended on a bit of a low note.
A couple of other issues also rear their heads at times the on a couple of occasions he frame rate became a mess and lasted for almost a minute at one point.
Strangely enough it was at a time not a whole lot was going on the screen so it didn’t cause me any deaths or major issues but still these things don’t look good.
I would like to point out I did later go back and replay both areas the issue occurred and it didn’t happen again so while it does has happened twice to me it doesn’t seem to be area specific.
The screen looks a little messed up when you die (especially in the final level) it’s as if it tries to reload you where you died then changes it’s mind and takes you back to the last check point.
It’s not a major issue nor does it affect game play but it does look a bit messy.
Finally the biggest problem is game crash.
During my 8 hours the game completely locked up on me 3 times once after I died, once after I tried to return to the main menu and right after I beat the game and watched end credits .
It’s far from the first game on my Wii U to do so and I never lost any data from my crashes but these are all issues I’d be neglectful not to mention.
I don’t spend much time delving into the graphics of a game while some obsess about such things no matter how good it does or doesn’t look it’s game play that makes or breaks most of them.
However BeatBuddy is a beautiful looking game.
Everything is hand drawn and shaded perfectly.
The only issue I ever had graphically other than the after death glitch explained above were a couple of the text conversations were so tiny even with the game pad right in front of my face it was impossible for me or anyone else in the house to read it.
This only happened twice in the entire game so perhaps it’s another glitch.
It wasn’t a main conversation so I’m sure I didn’t miss too much.
The music is well suited and as you might expect given it’s name has plenty of beat to it.
The game isn’t primarily a rhythm game but does involve some minor rhythm action at times.
Certain enemies must be hit to the beat 4 times to be destroyed for example.
The music and the beat do have a general tone on the game enemies largely move or dance to the beat.
While we’re on the subject of enemies it should be pointed out there isn’t the greatest of variety when it comes to them.
In fact you wouldn’t even need 2 hands to count them all.
Only two are truly out to get you a snail with machine gun like lasers and some screechy little creature that lunges at you before becoming temporarily immobile so you can take it out.
My personal biggest killer was some form of death spike coral.
Beating it’s composer into submission (which only takes one tap but I always gave it an extra beating for good measure) gives you a limited amount of time to swim between the would be death corridors that are often small, narrow and bends enough to ensure you’ll get stuck or die if you mess around (not in an unfair way but you’ll need a reasonable hurry up)
Leaving behind the games whimsical if somewhat badly explained story it was the overall game play that won me over reasonably quickly and had me coming back for more.
While the path you take is pretty much liner and A to B in nature it never really feels like that is the case.
There are plenty of off the main route tracks to follow many of which will lead you to special large beat points.
Every level has 10 of these special points hidden throughout out their chapters and every time you find a new one it unlocks a new entry in the developer diary.
These are both interesting and at times reasonably funny.
A varying number of regular beat points are spread across every level too while collecting these doesn’t unlock anything special I’m one of those gamers that likes to look at end game stats and see 100% status finding all regular and special beat points will give many more hours of play to those that desire such things.
After 8 hours and game completion I’m at only around 50 / 60% finished and while during that time I saw beat points I missed (for various reasons) most my little buddy is yet to lay eyes on.
One of the challanges that will put some off attaining this is that the points are spread across every chapter in a level.
While you can go back and play individual chapters the game only tells you how many you have for the entire level so even when you know how many are missing they could be on any of the chapters in that level and given how well hidden some are I can see red mist and frustration setting in when say you only need one or 2 points but have played every single chapter in a level more than once trying to find them.
These things drive me on for many I suspect they’ll call it a day.
The game is littered with puzzles throughout some are clever some are a bit more basic none ever came across to me as absolute brain stumpers but a few might spend a few minutes trying to work out exactly where they are going next or how to get there.
A few of the puzzles become a little repetitive as time moves on but it was never much of an issue for me personally.
They did try to add new features to various levels to keep it freshened up, it would have probably benefited from a couple more ideas but it’s still a good effort regardless
Finally the controls of the game work very well as your swimming around under water your little buddy moves largely as I’d expect him to and controls are always very responsive to my actions.
Chapters are alternated between controlling your buddy and swimming around then in the next chapter your controlling some sort of big bulky submarine type ship.
Again it helps to keep the game fresh and offers alternative game play using the subs machine gun to shoot everything in sight was of particular amusement to my kids.
Be warned though the gun will over heat and take a few seconds to cool back down again.
As soon as I started the game and the music began to beat I liked the game. (And I have zero interest in music too)
I’m not a graphics guy but they quickly caught my attention with the hand drawn details and bright colours.
I enjoyed the puzzles while after the first few some weren’t as tough to work out more were added in particular latter in the game to give new challenges.
I’m one of those guys who likes 100% status and the challenge of getting that status.
When I have the free time to add this game to my 100% list not only will I be proud to do so but I know it will have taken some effort to do so.
I look forward to taking up the challenge of obtaining the status with both determination and dread (when I miss one or 2 beat points it will really get to me)
Just before the final push to rescue my friends at the end of the game I had already decided on the score I’d be handing out.
Then the end just ended not even a mini boss battle that disappointed me a little followed by my 3rd Wii U crash and hard reset as soon as the credits finished I just had to knock a point off the score below.
A review copy of the game was provided by Threaks and reviewed in accordance with the review policy.
iPhone , iPad