BEEP – An Indie Game Review
|Platforms:||Windows PC, Mac, Linux|
|Publisher(s):||Big Fat Alien|
|Developer(s):||Big Fat Alien|
|Genre(s):||2D Platform, Action, Adventure|
|Release Date:||April 1 2011|
BEEP is a high-definition, physics-based platformer coming soon to PC/Mac/Linux.
- CONTROL a small robot with ultimate precision.
- MANIPULATE a physics-based environment.
- ENCOUNTER a variety of AI robots.
- EXPLORE an entire solar system.
All while enjoying:
- SMOOTH gameplay running at 60hz.
- STYLISH HD graphics presented in 16:9.
- RICH sound effects and spectacular music.
What We Think
Picture WALL-E on an intergalactic quest for anti-matter, only with a sassier attitude, a scaled-back color palette that remains sharp and stylish, and a far feistier approach to foreign policy.
The Brave Little Toaster
BEEPS are all-terrain robots designed to scour the cosmos for bits of antimatter. The BEEP ship can fly through the solar system towards planets. Fly the BEEP-ship to an accessible planet, deploy a BEEP and traverse the landscape in search of the illusive material. Planets other than the first one are locked, only opening once a certain amount of anti-matter chunks have been collected. Despite the ability to traverse the cosmos, the planets and the levels on those planets will still have to be taken in a specific order, which is a shame as it nullifies the point of being able to fly around.
On each of the planets, sentinel robots will attempt to thwart BEEP’s efforts. Fortunately, BEEP is designed to adapt. At his most basic, he is armed with a projectile firing cannon and a tractor beam like cannon. The former can be used to dispatch basic enemies: just aim the reticule by using the mouse, and click the left mouse button. Fire until the foe is felled.
The tractor beam may not be as offensively sound as the projectile arm, but it is far more useful. Aim the reticule over an item and click and hold the right mouse button. BEEP has the ability to lift almost anything not bolted to the backdrop. These objects can be hurled at enemies, or used to stack items, thus allowing access to otherwise unreachable areas. The section of the object the beam attaches to will determine how the object travels as it is moved. This makes for some ingenious level designs, and some wickedly tricky puzzles to solve.
To say that BEEP is an all-terrain robot is a gross understatement. The physics engine that powers this game separates it from the bumper-crop of 2D platformers currently competing in the indie market. Treacherous Mega Man-like leaps of faith are made far easier to handle using BEEP’s thrusters. Even if he doesn’t stick the landing, the ATV wheels will kick in to turn a near miss into a safe landing. BEEP can also run right up many walls. Finding a fuel pad will allow BEEP to super charge his jets and take flight, but keep an eye on the level of remaining rocket fuel.
Angry Bot is Angry
The worlds of BEEP are a treat. Each planet is divided into two hemispheres, both of which sport a dominant climate type (some lush and green, while others will require BEEP to travel underwater). Though not dripping with detail, the art design compensates with sugary cartoon backdrops.
The sound effects, while not overly diverse, are humorous and charming. Hearing BEEP talk smack in tinny synthesized tones after dispatching an enemy is great the first few times, but it can get old. A greater range of responses would have been appreciated.
The enemies that BEEP will encounter will keep literally him hopping. The initial, slow-moving drones will pose little threat as their attacks are easily avoided. Fire a short volley of the standard projectile attack, and the grunt drones are done for.
It doesn’t take long for more advanced drones to appear. Some are heat-seeking kamikaze drones packed with explosives. Some drones can’t be damaged by projectiles, and others must be taken out from a distance. Hear the Jaws theme, and a shark bot will make an appearance. There is a great amount of diversity in the the enemy designs, and they all sport fairly impressive AI.
Edit: I had mentioned a glitch encountered in the game, but the developers have pointed out that the current build of the game has solved it. I graciously remove the complaint, and bump up the review score. Thanks! CB
Use caution with the menus that appear after losing a BEEP. The option to return to the space map doesn’t come with a “are you sure?” option, and it’s possible to lose all progress in a level if one isn’t careful.
Though linear in the way it asks players to progress, BEEP offers up a decent level of difficulty. Most impressively, the entirety of the game was developed by three people. The USD $14.99 is a fair price to pay for the finished product, but head over to Big Fat Alien’s page to download the free demo.