Co-op games are great when the other player can bail you out of a sticky situation, or even better when you can use a weaker player as a guinea pig – self-preservation is paramount. Biped is neither of these. Instead, Biped relies on the definition of cooperation:
The process of working together.
You play one of two robots: Aku and Sila. They have been sent to Earth to reactivate some beacons. Both robots interact with their legs, grabbing items, using devices and manipulating their weight to trigger a switch or two. Biped is primarily a puzzle game that focuses on physics, but also has a few (frustrating!) platforming sections.
NEXT Studios have just evaded the Marmite rule that divides people into a category of either liking something or hating it. Biped is more on the ‘like’ side of the fence, pending that you get a grasp of the controls and don’t mind the game being over in a few hours.
Get past that hurdle, and you’ll love it.
Robotic Spaghetti Legs
Both robots are controlled solely through their legs: the left stick represents the left leg and vice versa. As they can be moved independently of one another, simple tasks like walking or running require a rhythm to get going and to maintain the momentum.
Fan of walking? Read the Death Stranding review. Just sayin’.
On most flat surfaces, you can hold down the L2 and R2 buttons and your robot will slide around, making it easier in Biped to get around and navigate past some of the many obstacles in your way such as moving blocks or falling platforms.
Aside from the walk and slide function, you can also grab hold of items, use various forms of transport and activate switches. Considered they have only two limbs, Aku and Sila are pretty versatile. However, getting them to go where you want at times are a pig, and falling off the edges is a workplace hazard.
You Can Go Your Own Way
In was a surprise to see that Biped can be played solo, as well as in a co-op. I was under the illusion that this was exclusively a co-up, but that’s not true. Due to the current lockdown, I’m limited to household players, and it’s when it suits them, and online isn’t an option, so I turned my loner skills up to 11 and went it alone.
Without another player, you reply on the game’s AI. Let’s make it clear: the AI in this game is dreadful but in the funny sense. There’ll be a puzzle where you have to work together with an NPC, and as you can’t communicate with the PS4, you have to hope that they’re on the same wavelength as you. Often, they aren’t, and countless deaths later, you’re still laughing at how stupid it all is, but in a good sense.
That’s one of the lures to Biped – that it’s ok to cock-up, but to still have fun. After multiple deaths from attempting to retrieve an elusive star or two, instead of shouting slurs at the game and its mother, I was continually saying “I love this game”.
Four Legs Are Better Than Two
Biped is fun played alone, but it also works as a one-player swap. That is, one-player mode and then taking turns to do a section or puzzle. Before long, the family were engaged, and eventually, we were into two-player co-op territory.
Your experience of co-op mode in Biped will be down to one of two factors. The first is whether the other player gets the controls, and the other is their attitude. My daughter was able to handle it, but she’s the Loki of gaming and sabotages our progress thinking it’s funny. After losing 50 lives in a stage that sets the challenge as three, it pretty much sums it up that she’s a douche.
However, it was enormous fun and not once did we have a Double Dragon fall out. The added incentive of collecting coins to unlock new hats was a bonus, but the cute characters and entertaining gameplay was more than enough.
Biped is a gorgeous game, and if it weren’t for the challenge, I’d say this was a family game. It’s family-friendly in the sense that the characters and worlds are cute and enjoyable to play with/watch, but the controls are too hard for younger players.
In some respects, Biped reminds me of Astro Bot Mission Rescue merged with Clumsy Rush – the first for the aesthetics and charm, the second for the bumhole controls. That said, we’ve been playing Biped a lot and not tired of it in the slightest despite the frequent deaths on our part.
You’ll finish solo and co-op play in the same sitting. It also has to be said that there were quite a few speling mistaiks in the game. These things happen, but when this was during the tutorial and throughout, I had expected these to be ironed out before release. It didn’t break the game, as the focus isn’t on spelling, but it was a bit obvious, and it distracted me from my frappuccino.
If you can get far enough with your compadre, then after finishing the game, you can go back and do the same levels at a harder difficulty. Alas, we (I) didn’t have the patience levels and found that I may have taken it a little too seriously compared to that of the family, so stuck with the solo option which was more than enough challenge and enjoyment for me.
Thank you to the gorgeous people at META Publishing for providing a review code. They didn't offer me bionic legs for a glowing review (I would have taken them), so everything you read here is unbiased truths.