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iPad  header logo

Beatbuddy HD

For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Beat it

Product: Beatbuddy | Developer: THREAKS | Format: iPad | Genre: Adventure, Music/ Rhythm | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Beatbuddy iPad, thumbnail 1
The worst games aren't the ones with rubbish ideas and boring concepts. They're the ones that actually sound great on paper, but completely fail to capitalise on those ambitious promises.

Beatbuddy is one such game. Not a terrible game by any stretch of the word, but a disappointment - especially considering the fact that the concept behind the game is fabulously clever.

Each level pulsates to the tune of its unique song, so on every beat barriers strobe between blue and red, jellyfish march one step forward, and sea-snails spit out hot goo.

To get through these atmospheric underwater caves you need to get in sync with the soundtrack and exploit the tightly choreographed moves of the game's hazards and enemies.

But Beatbuddy rarely builds on the idea, and more often squanders it.

Drum roll please

Many of the mechanics ignore the musical cues entirely: the most popular idea, which involves bouncing off trampolines to break coral barriers, has almost nothing to do with music.

Another has you bashing on a limpet to monetarily retract some spikes. I like how you don't need to see some spikes to know they've retracted. You can hear it in the muffled instruments of the soundtrack. But aside from that clever aural feedback, it's hardly a musical puzzle.

These same concepts are reintroduced over and over again. New ideas - like a big white jellyfish you have to punch four times to the beat - are doled out slowly, and then become repetitive long before the next toy is delivered.

The more inventive puzzles, such as a clever conundrum where you have to turn the game's soundtrack on and off to keep a bubble of energy alive, reveal that Beatbuddy can offer some great puzzles. But they just aren't used often enough.

Guitar solo

Also, the rhythmic hazards start to grate. Those snails that spit out red-hot goo and the strobing strings of orbs quickly become annoying barriers that serve only to slow you down as you must stop, retune your brain, and then strike when the beat is right.

The controls can be a roadblock, too. They're mushy and unresponsive, and sometimes lead to you getting stuck on scenery or fired in the wrong direction. All of which is a pain when trying to do very specific movements to the music.

There's also a big submarine you ride in certain levels but I can't figure out how to drive it properly. It jerks about all over the place, and there was a pop-up tutorial about how to get a boost but I forgot what it said.

Sing star

This all sounds horribly negative but there is a lot to like about Beatbuddy. For one, the game is drenched in charm and heart - like Beatbuddy's head banging idle animation and the fact that all the characters talk in b-b-b-beatbox.

The soundtrack, too, is amazing. Sabrepulse's dancy trance beat and Austin Wintory's haunting operatic theme make every level feel alive and vibrant, and completely different from the one before it.

The song also seamlessly morphs and mixes as you wander through the level and is muffled - like you're stood outside a night club - as you stand upon the precepice of the next action set piece.

But that soundtrack can't drown out an often boring and repetitive game. And that's not to even mention the fact that I hit two points where a bug completely broke the level.

Ace of bass

And not in an obvious crash-the-iPad type way. But in a way that you don't notice what's happened until you try absolutely everything and explore every nook and cranny before finally figuring out that something has gone hideously wrong.

I had to restart the entire level to overcome these issues. The first time I marked it down as bad luck and started the stage from scratch. The second time, I wasn't quite so charitable.

Until those bugs are fixed, at the very very least, you'll be better off skipping the game and just buying the soundtrack.
Beatbuddy HD
Reviewer photo
Mark Brown | 2 October 2014
Beatbuddy HD is dripping with charm and good intentions, but repetitive ideas, annoying controls, and frequent bugs lead to disappointment
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