It hits, but it’s not a knockout.
I played the Steam Edition of Kickbeat for about 15 minutes, just long enough to do a video feature of the game. It was a novel idea, but for some reason I didn’t play much more of it after that. Now it hits the PS4 and have delved deeper into the Kung-Fu rhythm action game.
Players take control of a martial artist being surrounded by enemies in a circular arena. Enemies will attack in succession to the sound of the beat that is going on in the song that’s playing at the current moment. Each enemy will arrive at a location that is represented by one of the face buttons – up/triangle, right/circle, down/X, and left/square. Timing plays a big part in it all and getting it down will garner higher scores to post to the leader boards.
Platforms: PS4, PC, XB1
Price I’d pay: $5
Multiplayer: Online leader boards
Enemies line up for the beating.
On top of that, enemies come in a few different varieties. Yellow enemies are standard beat foes. They come slowly and methodically. Blue enemies will attack during half beats and usually come in pairs, and Red baddies will attack two at a time usually during a hard drum or crash. Paying attention to the song, enemy position and enemy color is the way to victory.
Some enemies will have power-ups or extra points over their heads. Double tapping the corresponding button will have the player obtain those items. Some power -ups include a shield to negate damage for a short time, a score multiplier, extra chi, extra health and a special wave clearing attack for when things get overwhelming.
The soundtrack of my high school years.
Now, with rhythm action games, the song selection is a big part of the game. In Kickbeat, if you’re a fan of rap-rock and Nu-metal, you’ll be in heaven. Now, I’m not saying it is bad, there are a few songs on there I am actually a fan of, Celldweller and Marilyn Manson to name a few, but get ready to hear some songs that will take you back to 2001.
The game itself is very colorful in both the look and story. Although the story is rather barebones, it does have a nice tongue-in-cheek feel to it. The flashy lights and movements of the game play all sync with the music and are actually very well done.
Kickbeat suffers from the condition of “you play it once, and you’re kind of done” mentality. Sure, there are multiple difficulties to try out that can be very challenging and each song plays different on a different difficulty, and there’s also an endless mode to try out, but in the end, it’s the same songs doing the same formula. It can get old after a while.
While Kickbeat is sound and technically works very well, and while the song selection can be questionable, there are a few standouts. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough here to keep many people playing after doing the full story once unless you’re looking for a big challenge. For a single play through of the story, it’s alright, but for lasting appeal, it really doesn’t have it.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.