Gaming

Biped review: A cute little co-op game for two

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Back in 2008, there was an online browser game called QWOP. It had you controlling your character’s legs with nothing but the Q, W, O, and P keys. It sounds simple but, because of the odd physics engine, it became ridiculously difficult. Despite that, it was a pretty fun and hilarious game that became widely popular.

Much like QWOP, NEXT Studios’ Biped takes the mundane act of walking and twists it to make a complicated and frustratingly fun game. Whether you play with a friend or by yourself, Biped presents you with interestingly designed physics puzzles that test both you and your partner’s creativity and patience. And while playing by yourself is an option, it’s obvious that the game was designed to be played with two players. The addition of another player shakes up the gameplay and will have you strategizing, shouting, and probably taking long pauses just to laugh at each other.

Bipeds to the rescue

The story is pretty simple. An unexplained force has caused the Earth’s light beacons to extinguish. Two little biped robots, Aku and Sila, are tasked to journey to the planet and reignite these beacons to keep the planet from growing dark.

Biped’s graphics are delightfully bright and marries well into the game’s overall aesthetic. It gives off a Pixar-ish feel and will have you wondering if the biped robots are based after Eve from Wall-e (I’m pretty sure they are).

Each level is themed and paired with new sets of puzzles that change depending on whether you’re on single or co-op mode. There are also small and delightful interactive elements that make the world feel a tad bit more alive. I also thoroughly enjoyed the soundtrack which gave off a calm and peaceful vibe despite the fact that I wasn’t.

Left, Right, Left, Right

With all that talk of how complicated walking is in this game (that is the premise, after all), you’re probably wondering how exactly the controls work. Basically, you use the left analog stick to control the biped’s left foot and the right analog stick to control the right foot. To walk, you’ll have to toggle the analog sticks alternately, akin to walking in real life. The instructions are deceivingly simple but as you take your first steps, you’ll most likely find yourself stumbling, falling, grabbing on to the wrong things, and even pushing your partner off platforms.

I first started the game playing in solo mode and found myself sailing through levels pretty quickly. As I progressed, I saw that some challenges were originally made for co-op and the game will throw in NPCs to help you out in solo mode. It wasn’t hard to cooperate with the NPCs but it simply has a programmed movement that you need to go along with to complete tasks and teamwork doesn’t really come into play.

For example, I was balancing on a platform and using the NPC as my counterweight to get across. To finish the puzzle, I had to focus on the NPC’s movements instead of my own because it systematically moved. The positive thing about this is that its movements became predictable which meant I could easily finish the puzzle.

Double Trouble

After my NPC partner experience, I figured it would be easier to play with another human being since we could coordinate our movements. I roped in my husband so we could experience the game as it was intended. Adding a human player definitely changed my approach to the game. I can confidently say, though, that thinking it would be easier playing with another person was an incredibly wrong notion.

In co-op mode, you and your partner have to constantly be wary of each other’s movements. One wrong move can send a player tumbling down the platform and have both of you start all over again. I found the color-coded platforms to be the most difficult. Both players have to have on-point coordination, cooperation, and patience or else you’ll turn what was supposed to be a 3-minute puzzle into a 30-minute one (yes, it happened to me and my husband).

Completing a level in co-op mode will unlock it’s Pro levels. These levels were made to test you and your partner’s skills as a team. The additional stages offer much more difficult puzzles that require serious coordination between the two players. On our first runs, we could finish stages in 20 – 30 minutes and it involved a lot of plotting, coordinating, and discussion on how to go about the puzzles. Despite our finishing times being twice or thrice the recommended time per stage, going through the puzzles successfully together gave us a large sense of accomplishment and pride.

Over before it started

Unfortunately, the game is quite short and can be finished in a couple of hours. There are a total of 8 different levels with two Pro levels each for co-op mode. Completionists may have a longer run time with this game as there are more challenges to beat, such as completing coins and beating times, before you can get that 100% rating for each level. But even so, I felt that as the game was just starting to really flesh out, it ended.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Biped is a delightful little game that can give you a couple of hours of fun. The awkward and clumsy controls are, undoubtedly, frustrating but largely contribute to the charm of this game. Paired with bright, visually pleasing graphics and a quiet little soundtrack, it’s worth looking into for your list of “games to play when people are over.”

It sadly does have a humdrum solo mode which means that solo gamers might not get much mileage out of this game. Co-op is also limited to local or couch co-op and it seems that it won’t be getting support for online play any time soon. It does, however, support the PS4’s SharePlay feature so you can still virtually play with a friend.

But despite it lacking a bit on content, Biped, with its clunky controls, adorable lead characters, and bright environments, is still a game well worth considering for a fun and challenging local co-op game.


Vikka contributes lifestyle and gaming content for GadgetMatch. She is easily distracted by dogs and has an affinity for anything kawaii. She proudly declares Psyduck as her Pokémon spirit animal. You can find more of her work on The Modern Creatures.

Computers

LG UltraGear 25” Gaming Monitor review: Enough to get you started

Comes with key features for your first gaming PC build

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I’ve seen a ton of people purchase full gaming PC setups since the pandemic took center stage in our lives. I’m pretty sure a lot of these people spent the past few months saving every peso they could for it. Of course, I also did it with all the money I saved up and planned every purchase very carefully.

In getting your gaming PC build, one of the more important peripherals to consider is your monitor. Most people will tell you that any monitor is okay, but experts will say that you shouldn’t just get any monitor. Apart from color accurate and bright displays, your monitor should have a high enough refresh rate to keep up.

It’s exactly what the LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor brings to the table, at least on paper. But is this worth checking out, especially for first time PC setup builders? Here’s a rundown of the specs:

It has a 23.6-inch TN FHD panel, with a 144Hz refresh rate

It comes with two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort

The design, on its own, is nothing spectacular

The LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor comes in a package you normally expect from most lightweight gaming monitors. A hardened-plastic enclosure covers the display, and the monitor even comes with a metal stand in gray and red accents. Upon unboxing, I found it relatively easy to set up and position alongside my PC setup.

Immediately, the first and only thing I noticed was the thick bezel surrounding the display. To be honest, it’s a relatively minor issue for me ever since other brands started reducing theirs. Although I would have appreciated a little more screen space, especially while playing games.

A display that meets expectations for the most part

Most gaming monitors come with high refresh rates to keep up during pressure situations. Fortunately, the LG UltraGear Gaming Monitor comes with a 144Hz panel which is more than enough. Also, it even sports a 1ms response rate so you’re able to stay at the top of your game. 

Most games I tried with this monitor performed with relative ease and no visible sign of image tearing. FPS games like CS:GO and Valorant, in my opinion, work best with this setup given that you can run these games on low-end setups.

Also, it’s quite bright and color accurate which is great for content creators. Although, in some cases, I felt that it didn’t handle dark color areas well. I tried to compensate by simply adjusting the brightness, but it didn’t do anything significantly different. At least it’s an anti-glare TN panel, so you don’t have to worry about the sun.

Comes with features that works depending on the other hardware

This monitor supports AMD’s FreeSync technology which further improves gameplay experience. Honestly, I felt this should be a standard for most gaming monitors — including those that support NVIDIA GSync. Also, there are other optimizations like Dynamic Action Sync (DAS) and motion blur reduction.

However, this monitor actually benefits you only if you’re currently rocking an AMD Radeon graphics card. Ideally, it would still work pretty well when you plug it to an NVIDIA card but expect some image tearing. It wasn’t a big issue for me since I could still apply the reduced motion blur and DAS.

Port selection for this monitor is more than enough for a normal PC setup. Two HDMI ports are available at your disposal, which is great if you want to use it for your consoles. The added DisplayPort provides more connectivity, especially since most graphics cards support it. Keep in mind though: if you plan to plug your console, don’t expect the 144Hz refresh rate.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For PhP 12,599 (US$ 257), the LG UltraGear 24” Gaming Monitor ticks all the necessary boxes. What you have is a high refresh rate monitor with good color accuracy, and fully optimized for gaming. Combined with a great selection of ports, this monitor is a great option for your first PC build.

However, if you have strict preferences for your monitor, this might not be what you’re looking for. If you’re not a fan of thick bezels or you’re more conservative with your money, I wouldn’t practically recommend this. Also, you wouldn’t be able to fully maximize its potential if you don’t own an AMD graphics card.

All things considered, it’s enough to get you started on your gaming PC setup. Even with cheaper alternatives out there, I still recommend you give this a shot.

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Gaming

2K Sports shows off NBA 2K21 running on current-gen consoles

The first of many reveals leading up to the game’s launch

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NBA 2K21 is set for release next month, so why not start a hype train towards that? Earlier this week, 2K Sports released a full trailer showing off its latest NBA 2K title running on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. And honestly, it’s a good way to start the hype.

What they showed us was a “lights-out” gameplay trailer, which is somewhat an ode to the current NBA bubble situation. As the trailer goes, lights are out and arenas were quiet but a ton of focus still shines on basketball. The majority of the trailer showed off highlights from some of the brightest NBA stars — most of whom currently reside in the bubble.

There’s even a portion that shows off gameplay with the Black Mamba himself, donning the number 8 from his first few years with the Lakers. From high-flying dunks to the now-famous Logo Lillard buzzer-beater, this trailer has me hyped for what’s to come.

NBA 2K21 will be available on September 4, 2020 for both the Standard and Mamba Forever Edition. It will be playable on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and the Nintendo Switch upon launch. For those who will purchase the current-gen Mamba Edition, you will also receive a copy of the next-gen Standard Edition.

You can view the full trailer below:

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Gaming

Nintendo made five-fold profit thanks to Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Why are we not surprised!

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Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

While most companies are ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic, digital or internet-based companies are posting record-breaking profits. Popular game maker Nintendo is one of them. The Japanese company’s quarterly profit jumped a whopping 428 percent year-over-year.

It reported an operating profit of 144.7 billion yen (US$ 1.4 billion) in the April-June quarter, beating all street estimates and predictions. Much of the credit for this massive jump goes to its new game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The game directly contributed to increased Nintendo Switch sales.

The financial announcement noted that out of all the new Switch units that were bought and played on for the first time, more than half played ACNH on the first day. For a game, that’s a lot of demand, and this indirectly encouraged more Switch sales.

The game single-handedly contributed a 167 percent rise in new members who joined the Switch community. In total, the company managed to sell more than 3 million Switch and 2.6 million Switch Lite.

Nintendo also confirmed that it’s having delivery and supply chain issues due to the ongoing pandemic. However, it meant that supply is running slightly behind schedule and the company should be able to meet the full demand soon. Supply was hit in March but the company was able to bridge the gap in the coming weeks.

Due to the global lockdowns and travel restrictions, gaming companies have noticed a huge surge in games as well as console sales. Nintendo too benefited from this with a 230 percent rise in revenue from digital sales, accounting for about 56 percent of total software sales.

Japanese conglomerate Sony, which manages the PlayStation lineup, also reported positive results earlier this week.

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