Starting up a new game means a lot of things. We typically sum up whether or not we love a game based on the first 10 minutes of our experience with it. While this seems like an unfair judgment, it’s something everyone tends to do at some point. Well with Beatbuddy: Tales of the Guardian, it was easy to tell within those first 10 minutes that it was a game unlike any other.
Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians is a 2D sidescroller by Threaks based entirely on rhythm and music. The art style is somewhat similar to Castle Crashers, as is the dialogue and humor. But how exactly does the game integrate music to create a unique experience? Well, every level is based on a theme (jungles, mines, etc.) and those themes have musical counterparts (rock music, techno, etc.) Each level brings something completely new so that the game never feels repetitive. Certain levels will require you to listen for hidden beats, while other levels feature long portions in a tiny submarine. One of my personal favorites was the jungle, which featured fast-paced swing music and lush, green visuals. The music also fits every level and obstacle perfectly. All of the wildlife create different sounds and every sound matches the music playing in the background. If you’re the type of person who needs to listen to music while playing games, you’ll thoroughly enjoy being able to pause your playlist and tap your feet to the Beatbuddy beats.
Your journey in Beatbuddy begins with learning of someone’s devious plot to steal all of Symphonia’s music. In a world powered completely by rhythms and beats, it is your duty as Beatbuddy to ensure that this evil mastermind can’t go through with his plan. The game takes place in various underwater locations, and you swim through the levels accompanied by your buddy Clef who provides both assistance and comic relief. Most of the gameplay is completely dependent on the flow of music. Certain obstacles may require you to dash on an off-beat, others to turn the music off momentarily and change the flow of pipes and bubbles. As you progress in the game, the puzzles become more difficult but more rewarding every time. The challenges were never particularly daunting, and everything scaled well while maintaining a certain level of simplicity. The beats are always there to help you along, and the ever-present background music adds another dimension of entertainment to an already great game.
That all sounds great, but how good is the game? Beatbuddy is consistently fun all throughout. It was honestly more difficult to find fault within it than individual merits. It ties in all of the elements of an adventure game that make it fun as it is, so even without the music it would be great. The musical gameplay is truly what pushes Beatbuddy above and beyond any other game you’ve ever played. I’d never really considered myself a fan of sidescrollers, but Beatbuddy was certainly able to captivate me for the whole time that I played it.
The only real downside to Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians is the relatively short story mode. It’s not too difficult to beat the game in about 7 hours, which may not be enough for some people considering the $14.99 price tag. In spite of that, the entirely unique experience Beatbuddy offers is definitely worth it and I would recommend it wholeheartedly. If you’re interested, you can pick up Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians on Steam.