Ever play Bennet Foddy’s QWOP and think to yourself, “Man, I wish this was a co-op puzzle game where precise movements determine success or disaster for me and my partner?” If so, then your extremely specific wish has come true—mostly. While Biped certainly won’t go down in infamy for its movement scheme, those who have played QWOP may find some similarity here—even if it isn’t nearly as frustrating.
Biped is a third person co-op puzzle game where teamwork matters. The only catch: walking can be hard. Each leg/foot is controlled independently. On controller, for instance, the right foot corresponds with the right joystick and the left foot with the left. To walk, you have to alternate the joysticks to get over obstacles, and eventually solve complex puzzles while coordinating with a friend who has to wrestle with the same movement scheme. Master it and eventually, you and your partner will be skating, swinging and floating your way across various levels.
In Biped you control one of two robots that very much remind me of Atlas and P-Body from Portal 2 if they were built by someone with an eye towards cute. In fact, the entire Biped experience is very reminiscent of something you might find from Nintendo. It has bright graphics, pleasant music, and everything is just so damn wholesome and cute. That helps take the sting off of the challenges you can find in each of the eight levels.
There are eight different levels to get through, and each level showcases a different mechanic to struggle through. One set of levels has you use platforms that require a certain number of limbs to be touching them—otherwise they will diminish and drop you. There are puzzles that require you to hold your partner with a rope, as they swing onto platforms. Another will have you paddling down a river where you have to work together to avoid obstacles and peril. The one constant in all of these levels is the need to work closely with a partner to overcome the challenges.
Coordination is key. If you’re on a platform that requires two feet, and your combined feet add up to four, then you each will have to keep a leg raised. It sounds simple, but I warn you: whoever you play this game with, your relationship may be strained. It looks cute, but the challenge—especially with coordination—is real. But Biped eases you into the harder challenges—mostly. There was some issue with the difficulty progression, but it’s possible that some duos will struggle with different sections than others.
There’s more to Biped than playing all the levels, though. There are tons of chances for replayability. Each of the base eight levels has two challenge levels. These levels are for the absolutely patient duos who employ the best teamwork—because they’re hard! If you’re not into challenge levels, or want to practice on the base levels, you can find lots of reasons to revisit: there are coins and stars to collect, as well as time goals and player death goals. Try to beat par time, and keep deaths below a certain number for an extra challenge. And any coins you collect can be used to purchase cosmetics. There aren’t many of them, but everyone loves customization options.
If you don’t have a partner to play with, you can still play Biped. But in my opinion, Biped suffers in its solo mode. Solo mode is very much the same as co-op, but with some of the puzzles altered to be accomplished on your own. Those that aren’t altered are even worse, as you’re forced to play with a bot. I would say these bots are “AI” controlled, but in reality, they just move to a script, making any sort of dynamic interaction impossible. It’s not nearly as fun as playing with a friend is, and sometimes a bit more challenging, since the bot can’t respond in ways to help you, and you’re at the mercy of its movements.
Biped was a pleasant surprise, and one of my favorite co-op games of the year so far. It’s bright, and colorful in a way that’s reminiscent of Nintendo. Its independent limb movement might be frustrating at first, but it’s a hilarious blast to play through the eight levels with a friend. While it’s playable in solo mode, it’s best when played with another. If you get through with the base levels, there are many challenge levels and collectibles to keep you occupied. I wholeheartedly recommend Biped.
Biped is available now on Windows, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.
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