KickBeat is an innovative rhythm game with a Kung Fu theme, featuring fully 3D characters and high-energy music.
In other more traditional rhythm games, the actual gameplay often takes place in a separate abstract 2D interface, while eye candy characters move along to preset scripts in the background. With KickBeat however, the developer Zen Studios have decided to switch the focus to these background characters – by supposedly getting rid of the standard bars, arrows, button icons, and other similar action cues, and instead replacing them with fully animated 3D characters which the player actually get to control and react to in real time.
Players of the game can expect music from a diverse lineup of artists, from well known bands such as Pendulum and Marilyn Manson, to indie musicians Celldweller and Blue Stahli, to hidden talents like electronic music producer Voicians and Taiwanese rapper Shen Yi.
The version played was the PC Steam Edition, but the game is also available on the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Vita platforms.
- Striking stylised art style.
- A shallow but interesting, whacky plot. There exists a magical Sphere which somehow contains all the music in the world – past, present, and future. Unfortunately an evil corporation have attacked the Sphere, stealing its music. Taking on the role of Lee, a trainee Kung Fu monk, and of course the Chosen One, the player must now single handedly take down this corporation and restore music to the world.
- Fun gameplay with decent re-playability. Aside from the main story campaign(s), there are four other game modes available, including a Beat Your Music mode, where players can generate custom levels using their own music tracks. There is also a global leaderboard, as well as a large number of of unlockables to go for along the way.
- High erratic difficulty.
- Visual cues have changed, but the gameplay…have not. Unfortunately the whole beat’em up/rhythm game fusion does not quite live up to the premise. The core gameplay is still basically a series of rhythm gaming style Quick-Time-Events, complete with on-screen visual cues.
- The beat’em up elements can be at times detrimental to the gameplay. The masses of on-screen enemies can be distracting, making it hard to pick up on the QTE visual cues, while the beat’em up moves and characters can confuse some players into attempting (and failing) to play the game like a proper traditional beat’em up.
- Beat Your Music mode execution is flawed. While the game does allow the generation of levels using custom tracks, the process requires a lot manual tuning and adjusting, making the whole mode a pain to play. Plus, I could never tell if I have tuned my tracks properly, since the action in the my levels never seem to correspond to the music.