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.

Gaming

The Last of Us Part II Preview: Nimble and off to the races

Ellie rides searching for answers in a broken world.

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I needed to mentally prepare myself for the amount of groundwork The Last of Us Part II demands. The lingering question on my mind as I take on this game was pretty simple: what’s next? Its prequel takes on a point-of-view that focuses on hope; on a riveting end to a dangerous time. What do we look forward to? Will the end come in a marvelous way, or will there be more to uncover?

This time around, you play as Ellie — the girl you saved from the Fireflies back in The Last Of Us, all grown up. She moves quite faster than Joel does in the first game, which also allows her to reach higher places in the field. Also, you traverse overworlds a lot faster and with more agility given her slim frame. As Ellie, you also have access to this nifty feature called Listen Mode, which comes in handy at the right moments.

The world I traversed just looked, for a lack of a better word, destroyed. Nothing seemed to be in proper condition anymore — buildings, bridges, roads, and vehicles alike. To me, it feels like a whole new world — one that is drastically similar to what we left behind in the prequel. But even in this barren wasteland, humans still hold the law of life — or at least judge on who lives and dies.

Ellie takes on this world seeking answers, all while exposed to more dangerous threats along the way. Apart from the nasty encounters with the Infected, you come across two more dangerous groups of people. First up are the Wolves or WLF, a pack of armed civilians with a more run-and-gun combat approach. Then, there are the Seraphites or Scars, the trained silent killers at a whistle’s notice. All that’s really left is whether you choose to fight or die, because even I thought flight wasn’t an option here.

The Last of Us Part II comes to the PlayStation 4 on June 19, 2020.

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Nickelodeon Pixel Town: Another game to play while on lockdown

They’ve got adorable pixel art!

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Nickelodeon is serving up a new mobile game for us: Nickelodeon Pixel Town. A mobile game we can all sink our teeth into as we try to cope with everything that 2020 has been throwing at us so far.
So, what is it exactly? Nickelodeon Pixel Town is a city building game. The name of the game is building your own Nickelodeon city where you can collect characters, costumes, iconic buildings, and items from different Nickelodeon series. The most charming bit? It’s all drawn in highly stylistic retro pixel art.

For your city inhabitants, you get to collect characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Invader Zim, CatDog, The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom, Rugrats, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, Rocko’s Modern Life, Hey Arnold! and The Wild Thornberrys.

Honestly, if you don’t have a Switch and have been gritting your teeth through the lockdown while people have been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, this is a decent mobile game to bring back some nostalgia. Because with all the hellish news lately, don’t we all just want to curl up into a ball and go back to a time when times seemed so much simpler? Not any better of a place and time perse, sure. But, just a time when we were too young to know any better.

Want to give this game a go?

Nickelodeon has an official launch celebration for the Pixel Town.  You can use the code PIXELTOWNHL to redeem 500 Gems for free! To redeem it, you can go to their website, click redemption, and fill up the necessary info.

If you want to build up a reason to disconnect and play like me, you can. The freebies are valid until 30 June 2020, 11:59PM (GMT+8). That’s a pretty good amount of time to be rally up enough pent up emotions to need some time away to hop back fiercer. Nickelodeon Pixel Town is available in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia on Google Play and Apple App Store.

SEE ALSO: 10 offline free-to-play mobile games

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Gaming

Sony postpones PlayStation 5 event amidst US protests

Letting more important voices be heard

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Last week, we finally heard some news about the upcoming but strangely silent PlayStation 5. Since the pandemic, the next generation of gaming kept out of the limelight, allowing the current generation to flourish amongst the locked-in gamers. Breaking the silence, Sony was scheduled to hold a showcase of PlayStation 5 launch titles this week for the upcoming console. Unfortunately, because of current events, the company has decidedly shelved the digital event.

Through their official Twitter account, PlayStation announced the postponement, allowing other issues to resolve in the meantime. “We have the decided to postpone the PlayStation 5 event scheduled for June 4,” the company said.

“While we understand gamers worldwide are excited to see PS5 games, we do not feel that right now is a time for celebration and for now, we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard,” the post continues.

Naturally, the announcement is timed perfectly for the currently ongoing protests happening across America. Recently, George Floyd, an African American man, was murdered under the custody of a white police officer. The incident, followed by the subsequent lack of justice, sparked a wave of outrage throughout the country.

Since then, other companies and personalities have shown their support towards the cause. Notably, Google postponed Android 11’s launch previously, starting a wave of similar postponements. Though none of the postponing companies have named the George Floyd case specifically, one can easily assume the announcement’s relevance to the current political climate in America.

In any case, it looks like gamers will have to wait a little bit longer before more details about the PlayStation 5 will inevitably surface.

SEE ALSO: Nintendo and Sony are in a heated battle during lockdown

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