Some of the best parts of any PAX convention are stumbling onto little indie gems you otherwise might not have heard about. Beatbuddy is one such game. Executive editor Yamilia Avendano and I were aimlessly wandering the expo hall, trying to kill a few minutes before an appointment with a big studio about a big AAA release when we walked by dev team Threaks’ unassuming little booth. Read on for our time with this great little game, and to check out some exclusive gameplay.
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Beatbuddy doesn’t cleanly fit into any genre of game. If I had to try, I would say that it was a rhythm based puzzle/platformer/music/action game. The game has you controlling this cute headphone wearing amoeba creature that dances along to the music playing in the background and navigates his treacherous underwater world. The demo was only one level, but we were assured that the were multiple music types including chiptunes and electronica. The music plays an important function by setting cues that help you solve puzzles and progress through the game, while enemies move along in time with the beat. As you take damage, the beat gets washed out and fades back. If you can chain together movements properly, you find the beat getting amplified and getting more exciting.
The dev team at Threaks have done a great job adding new playing mechanics frequently but yet keeping them simple enough to where you can figure it out and implement it quickly. Within minutes of starting I was zooming along underwater tunnels, fighting past crab-like enemies and adjusting mirrors to burst through obstacles using a bubble launchpad that pulsates along to the beat in the background. Certain parts of the demo had us piloting a vehicle which looks like a coconut with engines and chrome exhausts strapped to it. The vehicle shares the enemies’ limitation on only moving with the beat but helps you traverse through otherwise impossible areas.
The demo that was on the showfloor is available right now on Steam and the full game is slated for a summer 2013 release. This is honestly one of the best games at PAX and you should definitely check it out.