Platformers have come a long way. From Mario to Crash Bandicoot and even Little Big Planet, the genre has introduced fun and innovative gameplay throughout the years. When talking about innovation, Ape Escape easily comes to mind for the creative use of the PS1 dual analog sticks.
Enter Biped and its cast of sentient two legged robots called…. well, Bipeds. For the most part, Biped flew under the radar due to the game sharing a similar release window with arguably bigger titles. Inspite of this, Biped manages to stand tall in a crowded genre with its simple mechanics and engaging gameplay.
Here’s our review of Biped.
The premise of Biped is interesting but at the same time very straightforward. Basically, in another time where the Earth isn’t populated by humans, you are part of a team of Bipeds that was called to reactivate beacons on Earth that serve as a guide to space farers.
I did say straightforward, didn’t I?
Those looking for a story driven platformer like Celeste would be left high and dry because Biped does not really highlight that. Instead, Biped focuses on other aspects that make up for the lack of a good plot.
Biped is a platformer game where you control one of these titular robots. They really just consist of a body and two legs, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this will just be a simple game. Armed with just your limbs, you’ll need to traverse the various levels that the game offers, all while solving its cleverly designed puzzles.
Like how Ape Escape was innovative for its time, the unique feature of Biped comes from that fact that your Playstation 4 Dual Analog sticks control your Biped’s two legs. No shoulder buttons, or any other buttons for that matter. All you get are your analog sticks. If you’ve ever experienced participating in one of those three legged races, then you’ll know what it feels like to step in the shoes of one of these robots. Walking is a matter of alternating between the left and right analog sticks and while the concept is easy to grasp, being efficient with it is another thing altogether. Luckily the game begins with a tutorial that will teach you how to walk, slide, other things things you’ll need to master to finish the game.
Apart from actually walking, there are a host of other actions you can do throughout your journey, including grabbing and activating levers, swinging, wood cutting, and even boat steering. Remember, you’ve got no arms, so everything will be done by your legs through the analog sticks. Left leg, left analog stick. Right leg, right analog stick. This simplicity is where Biped actually shines.
The challenges you will encounter are creatively done and really fun to tackle. You will be challenged by simple things like trying to walk over unstable platforms and memorizing patterns to more complex tasks like timing you movements while jumping from platform to platform. They aren’t the most mind bending puzzles in the world, but managing your way through them with limited resources makes it all the more satisfying, as you realize that all this is just from using two analog sticks.
Scattered throughout each level in Biped are collectibles, along with mini games like collecting a number of special coins within a time limit to get rewards. These rewards are coins and stars which you’ll want to grab as much as you can to buy cosmetics for your Biped (more on those later).
At the end of every level, you’ll be judged on how fast you activate the banner, the number of times you “died”, and how many stars you collected. This brings us to another aspect that’ll make you want to retry all of the levels – getting good.
If the thought of trying to finish all challenges is hard enough, try doing it in record time! On an average, we finished each level in about 15-20 minutes each for our first run. Imagine our surprise when we saw that the record time for some levels was anywhere between 4-9 minutes, not to mention the limited number of deaths you can have. The game is generous, at least, to give you unlimited tries whenever you make a mistake.
Overall, we really dig the challenge the game offered throughout each of the 8 story levels. It wasn’t too easy but at the same time not too hard either, with all levels featuring immersive visual and audio quality that makes the game very easy on the eyes and ears.
Another aspect where Biped excels can be attributed to its graphics. Beautiful and bright, you will be going through different kinds of levels that take you from rainy forests, snowy fields, and even raging rivers, all beautifully rendered with vivid colors and shapes that you’d think they were straight out of Little Big Planet or Tearaway.
Your Biped can be dolled up with various customization options in game. Don’t expect sliders and palette options here. Biped takes the simple route and allows you to dress your Biped up with hats, glasses, and other goofy accessories that can be purchased with the coins you collect from the levels, giving them a fresh new, albeit wacky look.
Everything we’ve said so far actually just covers the single player experience, but what if we told you that you can enjoy all of it with a friend? Biped’s shining feature is actually co-op play and it’s equal parts fun and frustrating at the same time.
The single player mode is very short lived. It took us around 2 and a half hours to go through the whole campaign since we didn’t bother to beat the records per level but the local co-op mode is a different beast altogether.
Some parts of the solo campaign will have you work your way through certain puzzles with an AI controlled bot but in co-op play, you’ll have to work together with a friend or partner to face the challenges. Coordination is key, and while it adds fun, we would be lying if we didn’t tell you that it adds a lot of frustration as well. Relationships will be tested and you may end up blaming him or her after it is all said and done, but completing the game with a buddy is extremely satisfying, especially some of the later levels where the puzzles are much harder.
If anything, it’s quite a shame that Biped doesn’t offer any online multiplayer option just yet. While it’s something that could be added in a future update, the opportunity to run through the game with a complete stranger is something that should have been there in the first place.
What we liked:
- Simple but innovative puzzles
- Catchy music
- Bright and colorful levels
What we didn’t like:
- Controls can sometimes be frustrating
- Fixed camera angles can get in the way of some parts of the level
- No online multiplayer yet
Verdict: Buy it!
Overall, Biped is a joy to play. Despite its very short solo campaign mode, this game really excels because of the co-op mode. To sweeten the deal, Biped is priced rather temptingly, justifying the cost with its innovative gameplay that’s as fun to watch as it is to actually play.
If you play alone, this is a purchase that will not be very valuable to you at the moment due to the lack of online multiplayer but if you’ve got someone to play co-op with locally, then it’s a title that we can easily recommend to everyone.
Biped was reviewed on a PS4 Pro via a review code provided by the publisher.