Biped is a cute and genuinely inventive physics-based co-op adventure. Relying on an elaborate, double-edged sword of a control scheme that complicates even the simplest in-game actions, Biped offers plenty of engaging and unique puzzles for those who can get a handle on the game’s control scheme. It’s an adventure that ends a bit too quickly, but it’s nonetheless one worth taking if you have a willing co-op partner.
Tasked with reactivating several dormant beacons on Earth’s surface, Biped sends you and a partner on a globetrotting adventure through several abandoned outposts that have fallen victim to inclement weather and general wear and tear. Considering the puzzles and traps that stand between the start and end of each level, a bouncy mascot like Mario or Crash could have those beacons back up instantaneously, but the game’s determined duo of two-legged robots aren’t quite as powerful. You’ll need your wits and a bit of patience to figure out just how you’re going to traverse each level — something as innocuous as a set of spinning gears or a normal walking path requires full, ceaseless engagement on the player’s part.
Biped‘s complicated two-legged control scheme turns simple acts into perplexing and involved puzzles. Each analog stick corresponds to one leg on your two-legged robot. As such, every step you take is extremely deliberate, right down to alternating the control sticks in rhythm to help your robot walk smoothly. Such a scheme holds tons of potential, but reaching it is a bit of an issue.
Indeed, Biped’s controls are initially so unintuitive that inexperienced players will struggle to grasp them at all. I played the game with two of my younger sisters, both of whom have their fair share of gaming experience. I initially tried it with my youngest sister, who, at just under 10 years old, had a nearly impossible time grasping the tutorial. She might have picked it up in time, but it’s telling that someone who loves video games was driven to inescapable boredom within a mere half hour of trying to understand Biped’s controls. My teenage sister, meanwhile, eventually got a handle on directing her robot and, after a bit of a learning curve, played the game just fine. At that point, Biped surpassed its poor first impression and redeemed itself.
Once you’ve figured it out, Biped makes great use of its complicated button arrangements to build a lovable game with engaging co-op puzzles. Finishing a level often requires careful thought and strategizing with your teammate. You’ll cross bridges that shrink if there are ever more or fewer than three feet pressing down on them, swing across gaps with your Bipeds tied to one another, and alternate your steps on floating, booby-trapped platforms that vanish if one player takes more than one step in a row. You’ve got quick respawns and infinite lives in your tool belt, so crack away at puzzles with whatever you think might work. Finally engineering a solution to a hair-pulling puzzle is a liberating, empowering feeling. It’s just a shame that there weren’t a few more to conquer.
Biped is a neat little package overall, with an unfortunate emphasis on little. The main game can be completed in just about two hours, and even with the handful of bonus missions and unlockable costumes, there’s just not enough here to keep you busy for more than a few sessions. It’s a shame because some of the cooperative elements are unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a co-op game. At about double the length, these concepts could have been fully realized enough to create a cult classic.
Additionally, even though single-player is available, don’t bother playing Biped on your own. So much of the experience hinges on actively brainstorming and collaborating with your partner. The single-player eschews that by tossing most of the challenging puzzles, instead sending you through a generic army of platforms. On your own, Biped is a much lonelier, less fulfilling adventure.
Those who take a chance on Biped will find a charming, inventive romp that manages a whole lot with its complicated controls, but that very same control scheme, along with its short length and uninspired single-player component, means that it’s not something for everyone. If you’re looking for a fun cooperative title to play with a friend or family member, then the game might be worth a try. However, if your prospective partner lacks video game experience, if you don’t have a partner at all, or if you’d prefer something that will outlast an afternoon, tell Biped to take a hike.
A review code was provided by the publisher.