Kickbeat: Steam Edition
I’ve played more than a few rhythm games and more than a few games with martial arts themes but this is honestly the first time I’ve come across both and while many things could be done to have improved the quality of the game there is no question that what we have is fun.
The game will take two characters through seven stages each with four levels, all spanning across the globe. The mechanics are simple enough: enemies come from one of four cardinal directions to which you press the corresponding directional key. If they have a bonus (which floats above the heads of your foes) pressing the same direction again quickly collects it. Those icons are either points, multiplier, shields, boost or health. Enemies come in three kinds each keyed to a colour: yellow (attacks on full beats), blue (attacks in pairs, triplets or quintets that attack on half beats) and red (attacks in pairs on full beats requiring you to press two directions at once).
If I had to list things I liked, the story and music selection were both solid for myself although I’ll note that tastes in music vary from user to user. Luckily the game does allow you to use your own music although that’s a feature I had not tried. Leaderboards, high score tables and a wide variety of unlockables and achievements can keep someone playing this game for a very very long time although I’m not sure I could see myself going much further myself.
The level structure, however, was so static the game needed more. I’d count three boss fights in the game at the ends of the first, sixth and seventh levels. I’d have held the game back to add a boss to each of those. Secondly, there is a high amount of repetition in ‘set ender’ moves. Essentially, when a long chain of foes finishes off, you get an animation IF you hit the final character. These animations are about three per colour type, resulting in nine highly repeated animations. Lastly, every level is structured in a circle and while I appreciate that from an ease of access point of view, I would have had the characters running through a level. Hallways, rooms, grabbing stuff and hitting guys with those things, like a scene out of the Netflix Marvel shows. Even if it is just one sequence per stage, it would break up that visual monotony.
If you’re thinking about grabbing the game while it’s on sale some time, I’d recommend it. The full price of the game isn’t so high that it should scare anyone away but I question the longevity for most players.