KickBeat is a traditional rhythm game with an interesting twist. Instead of drumming or strumming, players push buttons to fight against oncoming waves of enemies to the beat of the thumping tunes. Players have the opportunity to unlock outfits, additional game modes, and more while playing through the story as either Lee or Mei. While KickBeat doesn’t do anything extremely new or revolutionary when it comes to genre, it is a solid title.
KickBeat’s core gameplay is like most other past rhythm games. Players can collect power ups throughout the various songs to help them up their score or disrupt their opponent, CPU or human. Some of the non score related power ups include health, shields, or chi. Chi is used to boost the score multiplier which is helpful if trying to best a previous high score or climb the leader boards. The leader boards are probably one of the only elements that are fairly new to rhythm games and include online, personal and friends leader boards.
One of the most important aspects of rhythm games is the music. All of the 24 tracks in KickBeat consist of mostly techno music with a small smattering of rock. None of the music is new and will not likely be music that most people will enjoy. I happened to enjoy most of the tunes that Zen Studios included in KickBeat but found nothing particularly interesting as for as gameplay is concerned to keep me coming back for more.
Additionally outside of Normal mode things get fairly difficult. In Normal mode there are several visual cues to assist players during the game. Once I tried to advance to a more difficult setting some of these cues are removed, making the game more difficult obviously, but it ended up making the game too hard for me to even play successfully. In Survival Mode there were no helpful visual cues altogether leaving me helplessly button mashing and hoping that I could make it to the end of the song. This could just be my lack of skill playing rhythm games but it seems like there could have been other ways of making the game more difficult without removing those visual cues. I feel like these cues should have been delegated to the options menu as a toggle.
The graphics are good and the sound effects are adequate. There are cut scenes in Story Mode but they really are not that impressive and didn’t seem up to par compared to the rest of the game. I enjoyed the detail that was put into the various stages in story mode and feel like this was missed in the cut scenes. Overall the aesthetic aspects of KickBeat are good but not really stellar.
By no means is KickBeat a bad game and the martial arts style of the game is interesting but it doesn’t do anything outside of the norm to keep me coming back for more. Replay value is an important factor for rhythm games and I don’t feel that KickBeat provides quite enough content or accessibility to keep anyone who is not a rhythm gaming vet coming back for more. Improving on a previous score or trying to unlock more content are aspects that provide some replay value but KickBeat could have been so much more than it currently is. Players who are a fan of rhythm games may want to give KickBeat a whirl but others may want to skip this title for other eShop fare.