Austin Wintory, the composer for the exquisite soundtrack for Journey. Rhianna Pratchett, the writer for the critically claimed reboot of Tomb Raider. Parov Stelar and Sabrepulse, two powerhouse musicians, the former for his electroswing and downtempo mixes and the latter for his remixed chiptunes. These are just a handful of the contributors to Beatbuddy, the first indie title created by THREAKS and one that blew everyone away at PAX East this year.
I must admit that writing about Beatbuddy might actually be doing it a disservice. Too many words can get in the way of what makes it so special. It's like talking far too much about any game where music is such an embedded, indelible part of the core design that writing paragraphs upon paragraphs might as well be Not Getting The Freakin' Point.
That said, Beatbuddy is the best reason to purchase a set of headphones for a video game if you haven't already (I recommend some Astro headphones). Every gorgeously hand-painted element in this aquatic 2D platformer moves to the beat—the pulse of the bass drum flowers, the kick of the hi-hat crabs, the stream of bubbles, the rotation of a spinning obstacle, the squid-like movement of Beatbuddy's vehicle humorously called the BubbleBuggy.
Imagine if you will, a lava lamp where every globlet pushes at the drumbeat of your favorite song. Who wouldn't want that lava lamp and show it off to all his friends? There's a purpose to the aquatic environments, that fluidity and envelopment of water, to be thoroughly submerged in blissful sound. it's not so much that the music is created for a level, as it is the other way around.
Now, I could write in length about the newly revamped storyline, the placement of puzzle obstacles throughout each level, and the jeweled collectibles strewn through every level, but I would rather let Beatbuddy speak for itself. Don't let this go on the list of "Top 10 Awesome Games You've Never Played This Year."
Beatbuddy arrives on Steam on August 6 for only $14.99.