Biped (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle game
Developer: NExT Studios
Publisher: Postmeta Games
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4
Tested on: Switch

Biped (Switch) – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Unique gameplay mechanics
Bad: Awkward controls with joy-cons
User Score
8.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)

We admit that we were a bit suspicious about Biped, the subject of today’s review.  While it looked like an interesting little game, we were wary when we learned that it had been developed by a subsidiary of Tencent, a company notorious for its aggressive microtransaction strategy. Fortunately, there’s not a single microtransaction in sight here. So what does Biped have to offer instead?

Story

An opening cutscene introduces us to space pod “Onion”, a galactic service unit tasked with patrol and maintenance of planetary navigation beacons. The crew of the Onion consists of adorable maintenance robots, two of which, Aku and Sila, are Biped’s protagonists. When the Onion has to make an emergency landing on Earth, it disables the planet’s navigation beacons as well. Captain Nap tasks Aku and Sila with restoring Earth’s beacons. It’s a simple setup and while the opening cutscene never shows what exactly caused the Onion to crash, it doesn’t really matter as the game’s introduction serves more as a way to create a setting rather than to offer a fleshed-out story. 

Graphics

Biped very much looks and feels like a first-party Nintendo title, even though it’s not. The simple but quirky character designs, smooth menus and colorful worlds bring titles like Splatoon and modern Mario games to mind. Biped feels very much at home on a Nintendo console, even though the Japanese giant wasn’t involved in its conception and it’s not an exclusive title. Of course, these aesthetics might feel a bit oversimplified and under-designed to some, but that’s inherent to the chosen aesthetic. The visual style fits the gameplay and the subject matter, and we’re sure we wouldn’t have enjoyed the game as much had it been developed with a more realistic graphical style. 

Sound

Just like the graphics, the music goes for that “Nintendo” feeling. At times it’s cheerful and catchy, and at times it’s relaxing. The music never takes front stage in Biped, but it does an excellent job of setting the mood, even if it does feel a bit generic at times. The game also foregoes any kind of voice work, replacing it with cute gibberish. This makes sense, as the cast consists of robots, but we couldn’t help but feel like this was the safe choice, and we would’ve preferred the cast to actually talk in a manner similar to Borderlands’ Claptrap.

Gameplay

A puzzle game at heart, Biped offers one of the most unique and compelling experiences we’ve had with the Switch recently. It happens often enough that a game is jokingly dismissed as being a “walking sim”, but Biped is, in fact, literally a walking sim. You take control of an adorable robot and are tasked with navigating it over an obstacle-filled course. The twist is that you need to control its legs separately, with each leg mapped to one of the Switch’s analogue sticks. Controlling your robot feels incredibly awkward at first, but it really pays off to spend some time getting used to making your robot walk. If you do persevere, you’ll find that once you’ve familiarized yourself with the controls, you’ll be treated to a really fun game. 

It’s always a bit of a risk to hinge your entire game on a single mechanic, but when it’s executed well, you can end up with a fantastic game. Thankfully, Biped really pulls off its core mechanic. The game’s puzzles and obstacles introduce clever tricks and twists, with actions becoming increasingly complicated as you advance through each of the eight worlds. Mastered walking? Well, try swinging a rope then, for example. Each mechanic variation makes sense as well, and while the game never reaches hardcore difficulty, there’s plenty of challenge to be found here. The game really starts to shine in local co-op mode, where you team up with another player. The level designs you encounter in co-op are different from those in single-player mode, and you’ll need to work together to clear obstacles. Biped then turns into one of those games where you’ll end up shouting at each other as much as laughing at how silly it all is.

Although Biped is a short game, there’s tons of replayability here, not in the least because the levels are filled with collectibles, such as hidden stars and coins. The coins can be used to buy your robot adorable hats. The hats are purely cosmetic, but if you’re a completionist, you’ll be spending a lot of time earning coins to buy all of them. You’ll also be able to squeeze more game time out of Biped by replaying the levels as timed challenges, or with a limited number of lives. It’s nice to see that these were all added as they increase the game’s longevity, but if we’re honest, it can feel a bit repetitive. 

Admittedly, there’s a couple of issues with the controls but we can’t blame those on the game itself. We found that playing the game with the Switch’s joy-cons was a bit awkward. The short analogue sticks on these made some movements slightly more difficult, and neither the joy-con grip nor handheld mode were ergonomically ideal. We can imagine it’s even worse if you experience drifting on your joy-cons. Using the Switch Pro Controller instead felt a lot more natural. Given that the game really shines in co-op mode, it’s probably best to play it in docked mode with two Pro Controllers, but unless you’ve already got those lying around, it’s a steep investment to enjoy the game to the fullest extent. 

Conclusion

There’s a couple of flaws that prevent Biped from being a fantastic game, but overall we were pleasantly surprised with it. The unique but well-executed walking mechanics provide a fun experience and the co-op mode is genuinely fun. A lot of the enjoyment is dependent on whether or not you have ergonomically comfortable controllers. If you have access to this option, we recommend picking up Biped, but it’s probably not worth buying controllers just to play this game. 

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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Biped (Switch) - Review, 8.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


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