Biped is a cute co-op puzzle game with protagonists Aku and Silo who embark on an Earthbound adventure. Their mission is to activate the beacons that are located at the end of various levels. But before players can dive into the levels, they are taken through a nice little tutorial where players learn the extremely basic controls. Once players start to play through the levels, they realize the challenge it can pose – especially on the bonus levels. After playing through the entire game with my boyfriend we both found it to be quite fun and enjoyable.
Biped is a fairly easy game to understand. If played in single-player mode, the levels are challenging but still doable. These levels are very much the same as the co-op ones but done with AI bipeds. Some of these bipeds are non-functioning characters that players need to pick up and place, while others are sentient and move at a set speed. As a result, I found that certain instances of the single-player mode were harder at times. Where human players can zip through levels with ease, AI characters don’t think outside the box, forcing a specific method of completion. Therefore, the single-player mode was more frustrating to me because the AI doesn’t make up for my shortcomings ( ^.^ )
In co-op mode, the mode that players are meant to experience, the game reminds me of Overcooked where it requires cooperation and mayhem at the same time. Biped is cute and made me laugh ridiculously, especially when watching the devs play through some of the levels. No one ever said Devs were the best players at their own game!
Anyways, I found the levels to be easier to complete with another person. Players can accidentally kill their partner and can have some hilarious missteps in levels. However, coop mode has its own challenge because the two characters have to stay relatively close to each other. If not, as players move further apart from each other, a bar appears that tells players that they are steering too far from the course. Some of the levels that require players to step on platforms of their color will end up with a large distance between the players. In the water rapids level, players are tied together by a rope, which ensures that they don’t stray too far off course – especially since that typically meant falling down a waterfall!
A fun feature that Biped has is a clothing/apparel store. Players are able to customize their characters with hats, wigs, or even sunglasses. These are purchased through coins collected in each of the levels. It should be noted that coins carry over from the single-player game and the co-op game. Once a purchase is made, the outfit can be applied to either character without having to buy it again. When players have completed enough of the levels, they have enough coins to buy all the outfits! Personally, I love the pink and blue hair.
Controls and Puzzles
Players enter Biped Training before they progress. It is here that they learn how to walk, which is not done in a way that players expect.
Unlike other games where the left analog stick is used for forward or backward movement, where the right is camera vision movement, Biped uses the analog sticks individually. The left analog stick is used to move the left leg and the right analog stick for the right leg. Picking up items requires the player to be positioned close to the object and lifting one leg up. By doing this, players will ‘attach’ to the object they which to pick up. It is at this point where players can do all kinds of things like swing around on one foot, pick up carrots for coins, or open lockboxes. Another thing is that Aku and Silo are able to hold onto objects that need to be carried to other locations on the map. One might ask how that is done, well, when a player is on one foot, they can slide on it. Just don’t forget which foot is being used! Sometimes this leads to interesting situations and possible death, so be careful.
Each level has different challenges. In the first set of levels, the Dense Forest, players are learning how to move in unison, as well as basic movement. Once they reach Cactus Valley, levels will require more cooperative tasks like both players need to grab onto certain containers to unlock them. Later on, players go through Snowy Peaks where snow and ice play an interesting role in puzzle solutions. My favorite set of levels is the Blue Rapids where players are bound together by a rope. This was important because one of the objectives is to save the stragglers that are stuck along the waterways!
Once players complete a level set, they unlock challenge maps. I found some of these to be rather easy and some of them were painful. In each level set, there is a ‘Pro A’ and ‘Pro B’ group which will test players’ cooperative abilities. Each of these levels can seem deceptively simple, but require a lot of coordination. Sometimes this leads to hilarity. Often my boyfriend and I managed to complete areas with PURE SKILL (re: Luck). In other cases, I’m proud to say that we were able to complete the grab and pass tree chopping level faster than the developers did. In other words, while the game is fairly short, Biped provides a lot of entertainment.
Four-Footed Final Thoughts
Before I talk about my overall impressions, I have to address a couple of minor issues about Biped. The first is that in some of the menus, there is no back button! In order to exit out of the game, players have to leave a level to fully back out. But if players are in the lobby, there isn’t a way to leave. While this doesn’t do much when it comes to the gameplay, it was something that I noticed.
The second thing has to do with the controls. At times when my boyfriend and I were playing, the character wouldn’t always execute an action. Since the whole game is played with analog sticks, sometimes the controller dead zone would think that the player was holding onto an object when they had already let go. Now, I realize this might not be a dead zone specific issue, it was something that made it challenging to complete certain puzzles. A controller dead zone is the only thing I could think of for this type of in-game issue.
The final issue I have with the game are some little grammar and spelling errors. Since the dialogue is sparse and often short, I found that the errors were much more noticeable. When porting a game to the English audience, hiring an editor or a proper translator goes a long way.
To add to the final issue, I noticed that when players progress through the game in solo mode, none of the dialogue changes. When players begin the first level, the Biped addresses both Aku and Silo when only one of you stands before him.
However, my minor grievances about Biped are just that, minor. The two robots Aku and Sila are too cute to be mad at, and the ‘store’ that players can purchase adds character. Sure, one could argue that Biped is a little short but perhaps in the future, more levels could be added or perhaps a player-created section could be explored. Who knows what the future might hold?