In Beatbuddy, you play the titular character as he works to save his aquatic world, Symphonia, from... something. Honestly, the plot wasn't very clear to me until near the end of the game. All you know at the start is that somebody is trying to "take the temple" and "control the music," which is apparently a terrifying proposition.
|A gate, a submarine, and a little blue dude.|
The GoodThis game is absolutely gorgeous. Each of the game's six levels has a unique feel to it, and every detail is fantastic. The art style and implementation are amazing, and it's generally a pleasure to look at.
|Look at that big, dumb fish!|
And that's the best thing I can say about this game: it's a great audiovisual experience. Fantastic music paired with a charming world does a lot of work.
But that's it.
The BadEverything else is mediocre at best.
I don't think it's entirely fair to criticize the tissue paper thin storyline, as that's obviously not the focus of the game, but they put enough into it for the plot to be disappointing. There are many brief bits of dialogue, but they don't do anything except distract from your exploration. It doesn't quite reach the point of being frustrating, but the game would be better without such a feeble attempt at a narrative.
|Because a game can't exist without some attempt at story these days.|
To be fair, little to no challenge is not necessarily a problem. With such fantastic aesthetics, the simple act of exploring the world could be reason enough to play the game.
Except that there's very little to explore. I completed the full game in about 3 hours, and I don't feel any drive to play through it again because there's absolutely nothing to look for off the main path. There are some collectibles, "beat points" that unlock concept art and the like, but they're mostly in little caches here and there. There are never multiple pathways or side areas; everything in the game is a piece of normal progression.
|The pipe organ of the sea.|
And I think that summarizes the experience quite nicely - shallow but pretty. With more entertaining gameplay, Beatbuddy could have been one of the best games of the last few years. As it stands, though, it's probably not worth the investment, but you're not setting your money on fire if you decide to give it a shot.
My Rating: 4/10 - mediocre.