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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review: 'Kickbeat' - The Rhythm Game with No Beat

I was gifted Kickbeat by a friend of mine over Steam today and was admittedly rather excited. I had watched a few videos prior and while rhythm games typically don't excite me, Kickbeat was different. A combination fighting/rhythm game that allowed you to put the music from your own harddrive to work.

It's just too bad the game has no rhythm itself.

The feeling was immediate. My sense of rhythm seemed to be off. I was tapping the appropriate buttons to the tune of the soundtracks but was failing miserably. I couldn't figure out what was going wrong. Was I pressing the buttons incorrectly somehow? Was I supposed to be pressing them when the enemies light up, ignoring the beat altogether? Should I wait a half-beat? Am I really this tone deaf?!

I took a deep breath and started over, this time on a mission to turn the beat around. I chose to miss the few enemies with the sole intent of nailing the rhythm. With my head bobbing, foot tapping, and lower lip bitten I knew I was ready. I hit the 'X' button at the precise moment the beat requested me to, expecting to see 'Perfect' light up the screen.

'Good' was there instead.

Then 'Good' again.

And again. And again. And again.

At this point I knew it was no longer my sense of rhythm. After all, I won first place in a karaoke contest on a cruise line to Miami not that many years ago. I scored perfect on more than one track on Rock Band - with the drums, mind you. I have rhythm, dammit, and I wasn't about to let Kickbeat bring me down.

I uploaded a few choice tracks and got back to kickin' ass. It was the same thing. I seemed to be a half step off, even with tracks I knew incredibly well. It wasn't me that had no rhythm - it was Kickbeat itself. A rhythm game with no rhythm! It's like having a Subway restaurant with no bread (side note: that happened to me once).

After a little over two hours of total gameplay, I set the controller down. I couldn't take it any longer. The choreography was roughly a half step off regardless of which song I played, and that was during songs that actually had a beat. The majority of songs found within Kickbeat's soundtrack don't have strong beats. There isn't that heavy knock that pushes a song forward. You know, the wub wub that's so necessary in a game within this genre.

I can't recommend Kickbeat to anyone. Sure it's a great idea on paper, and should have been a fantastic finished product, but without a rhythm of it's own this rhythm game falls flat on the dance floor. Though I would like to see someone without any rhythm try their luck. Maybe being slightly off would be beneficial in this case.
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