Bipedal Co-op Robot Fun!
Platform: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Windows PC, Nintendo Switch
Developer: NEXT Studios
Publisher: META Publishing
Release date: Out now
Tl;dr: Action-Adventure co-op fun with bipedal robots
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When I was growing up, couch co-op games were the norm. I had an N64 and so games like Perfect Dark and Rainbow Six were what my best friend and I spent much of our free time playing, staying up all night drawing up plans for the level we were currently stuck on then spending the whole of the next day trying to enact those plans sat side-by-side on my mom’s old couch, only to end up screaming at one another when our tactics went awry before rolling around with laughter at the style our demise, often quick and down to someone’s *ahem* ridiculous decision to move left instead of right, right instead of left. Biped isn’t a game from back then but it certainly succeeded in rekindling much of the same emotions, and both myself and the game are all the better for it.
Biped, if I’m honest, is wonderful. Wonderful is not a word I often throw about when reviewing a game, but I can’t think of a better – or more fitting – adjective for it. With it’s instantly lovable pair of robo-protagonists, its sweet and simple story, and an art style utilizing primary colours like a kid in kindergarten, Biped is hard not to love, and love it I did. The game begins with a short cut-scene: Speeding through the darkness of space, a ship. Emblazoned with the name Onion, we head inside to find it populated by a crew of biped robots, headed to earth on a rescue mission. It seems all the beacons on the planet have inexplicably gone out, meaning space travellers will be unable to find their way. You’ve been sent to fix them, orders from the Onion corporation. However, not soon after you’ve landed on the surface you discover that the beacons are not that easy to find, and to carry out your mission you’re going to have to navigate some increasingly difficult courses, solo or with a friend.
This is where the game really shines. Solo’s great but if you’re lucky enough to know another human being (and own a decent couch), get them round and play the co-op mode – it really is that much fun. Right from the get-go, my teammate and I were in fits of hysterics, laughing at one another’s misfortune as we grappled with Biped’s innovative two-stick control system. In theory, it sounds incredibly easy: the left stick controls the left leg, the right stick controls the right. Push them in the same direction at the same time and you slide. Simple, right? That’s what we thought, and it’s where much of the hilarity comes from. Just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of walking, someone puts a foot wrong and you plummet off a cliff. Or someone treads on the wrong colour on a platform and you plummet off a cliff. Or someone mistimes their step-throw and you plummet off a cliff. In fact, there’s a lot of plummeting to be had. Which leads me to the puzzles.
As you progress through the game you’ll encounter numerous puzzles, all of which vary in difficulty. Some might ask you to walk across a moving colour-changing platform that quickly vanishes if the foot that’s set down doesn’t correspond to the colour of the platform; others may ask you to fling each other, by means of a rope, from one crumbling platform to another, where if you take too long you’ll both take a tumble. No matter the difficulty though, all of them require some form of teamwork, whether it be in timing, movement, or, as is often the case, both. As you’d expect, certain puzzles are trickier than others; we certainly fell foul of breezing through a few and thinking we were unbeatable, only to then get stuck for half an hour on one, my partners inability to coordinate the taking then tossing of a log into a chipper proving both frustrating and hilarious in equal measure.
Design-wise, I really like the world that NEXT Studios have created. It’s a bright and colourful, cheerful place, and the robot characters that dwell in it I found to be surprisingly animated, especially when you consider that many of them just resemble little TVs with legs (meant in the nicest possible way, of course). Honestly, I found myself truly enamoured with Biped, really wanting to help the little guys sort out those beacons and get the interstellar highway back on track. There are a load of levels to get through, and if you’re hungry for more in the way of challenges you’ll be happy to know that the completion of a level will not only unlock the next in terms of world story, but will also unlock the next in terms of that zone’s puzzle-style. For example, if you’ve just completed a level in which the puzzles were based on using a rope, then you’ve the possibility of unlocking two further levels from the same zone with emphasis on rope-based puzzles. This is a nice touch and adds a bit more depth to the game. If I had to nitpick I would say that at times the camera angle went askew, which made it difficult to see exactly what you were doing, but those moments were few and far between and would sort themselves out quickly, and they were never enough to ruin the overall experience.
Overall, Biped is a thoroughly enjoyable, well-worked gem of a game that I would recommend to players of all ages and genres. On the surface, it seems like such a simple concept, with such an easy and intuitive control system. And yet, when put in practice it quickly becomes obvious that it’s far from it; in fact, at times it’s downright difficult and is frequently frustrating. But it’s always, always fun – and funny, for that matter – and there’s a lot to be said for that, especially in these times.
- Wonderful world of Bipedal robots
- Variety of puzzles to challenge yourself and a friend with
- Couch co-op
- Innovative control system
- Camera can occasionally wander
Biped is rated PEGI 3 and E for Everyone by the ESRB. Suitable for children and adults alike, the control system may prove a little difficult for children of a younger age.
This review is based on a code provided by PR for the purposes of this review.