Report Card: Biped (REVIEW)

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Jonny CA number of months back, my 8-year-old son and I discovered Humans Fall Flat. It was the perfect game for us to play together. We would work together to solve the puzzles. We would laugh as we failed. We would mess with the other person while they tried to complete a task. Ever since completing that game, we have searched high and low for another one that could take its place.

Along comes Biped, a coop action game with physics developed by NExT Studio and released on basically everything except XBOX. The goal of the game is to use the two robots to solve puzzles and save the Earth. This sounds like a simple task, but there is a catch. The controls are what really set this game apart from so many others. The robots have legs but not arms. So, you walk. The thumbsticks control their respective legs and walking around is a task in itself. Move left stick and left leg moves. Move the right stick and right leg moves. Keep doing that one after the other and your little robot will awkwardly make his way across the terrain.

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Luckily, your robot can also glide along if you push both thumbsticks in the same direction. This is a much quicker, and less annoying, way to move, but it does come with its drawbacks. Moving too fast can get you past tricky obstacles and then send you flying off a ledge. Falling is the only way to lose a life. This happens when you are not careful near an edge, when you fail at certain puzzles, or when your 8-year-old son thinks it’s funny to kick you as hard as possible. When you move a thumbstick to walk, it lifts a leg in the direction you are pushing the stick. If you push the thumbstick in a direction and twirl it, your robot will swing its foot around just as fast. Let’s just say that hilarity ensues.

The game itself is not really humorous, but it’s easy to get a lot of laughs out of Biped. In theory, both players should work together. In reality, it’s very difficult to not screw with your partner. Many times, I would line up to do my part in a puzzle, only to have my son power kick me off a ledge. At one point, he pushed me into a woodchipper. I’ve never seen him laugh that hard.

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When you stop killing your partner and focus on the puzzles, you will find some great ones. The puzzles come in many forms. Some puzzles require players to flip switches, rotate platforms, catch objects, or make your way across a moving platform that your partner is controlling. These puzzles really are well done. The difficulty ramped up to where I was worried if we’d be able to complete them but never got so hard that I gave up. Every level brought a new style of puzzles. Each level felt new and exciting except one…

Except for AstroBot, I hate all water levels, and Biped is no exception. This level has you each control a pair of rafts, which are tied together. I won’t say the level is poorly made, but I hated almost every minute of playing it. I understand that the developers wanted diversity in the levels, but why did they have to make a water level?

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Dying is not a big deal in Biped, which makes it better for kids. Each level has a goal for the number of lives you lose. If you really want to 100% the game, you’ll need to be more careful. Other goals for the levels are based on time and the number of stars you collect. I never even got close to the required time. The stars are not too bad to find. Some are sitting out where you just need to find the path to them. Others require you to solve a puzzle to make it appear. After completing a level, you can go back and play a couple pro versions of it. These levels will use the same mechanics as the original version but make it all more difficult. Doing this allows players who want more challenges, or more playtime, to continue without forcing it on those who cannot handle it.

I played through the entire game co-op, but I wanted to know how the single-player works. The levels are basically the same. They make obvious changes so that one person can do both tasks. They also changed some of the level challenges. These changes do a good job of making the game playable alone, but co-op is still the best way to play.

Biped does not have stunning visuals, but its still a pretty game. The robots are cute and make funny sounds. They also show little emotions, in thought bubbles above their heads, when things happen. When my son would slam into me, my robot would have a frown pop up above him. When I went sailing off the edge, I’d reappear with a broken heart above me. These emotions are not necessary, but they add a little bit of humor.
All in all, I really enjoyed my time with Biped. My son and I fought through the puzzles and laughed a lot. There was always that period of goofing off before really trying to get through the level. I am not certain how younger kids will do with the game, mostly due to the precision and timing of some puzzles, but my son handled it well.

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