The simple act of walking in video games is rarely, if ever, a challenging endeavour. It’s more likely that we’re asked to perform more complex moves like jumping, punching, or kicking, but walking is more of an immediate, automatic action that we probably take for granted. Biped flips this concept on its head, and makes walking the core foundation of its gameplay, offering a unique take on the puzzle-platform genre that we really enjoyed.
You can play Biped on your own if you wish and have a great time with it, but it’s really meant to be played with a friend over local co-op. Either way, you’ll have access to a variety of levels set in different biomes, including deserts, dense forests, snowy peaks, and more, all of which offer specifically tailored puzzles. The levels themselves are different whether you play in co-op or on your own, so it’s worth trying out both modes for the full experience.
The controls are fairly simple, even if it might initially be a bit fiddly in practice. Your character’s legs are mapped to the analogue sticks, so you move the left leg with the left stick, and vice versa. To walk, you’ll have to move the analogue sticks back and forth, simulating the movement of your legs as you walk. It feels a bit odd at first, but once you get some momentum going, you’ll soon be strolling along with ease. On smooth surfaces, you can also point both analogue sticks in the same direction to skate along at a faster pace.
The puzzles themselves aren’t overly tricky or complex, but they make use of the core walking functionality quite well. You’ll come across platforms that will collapse after a certain period of time, forcing you to be both quick and decisive whilst remaining delicate with your footsteps. Other areas require you to step on buttons in a certain order which, given the control scheme, is not quite as straightforward as you might think.
Playing in co-op also offers its own unique challenges that require you to play in sync with your partner. This includes bridges that are only accessible once both players have stepped onto them and colour-coded crates that need to be opened by a specific player. There’s a consistent feeling of wonderful accomplishment when you conquer these obstacles, whether you’re playing on your own or with a friend, despite the game’s relatively easy-going difficulty.
Alongside the various obstacles that await you, Biped also throws in some additions that feel like a direct homage to Mario games. Scattered throughout the levels are coins that you can collect to purchase cosmetic upgrades for your character. Not only this, but you’ll occasionally wander into a blue coin; grabbing this will initiate a short timer, and you’ll need to pick up the remaining handful of blue coins before the time runs out. Your reward for completing this is – you guessed it – more coins.
Speaking of the cosmetic items, there aren’t many available to you, but they’re quite fun to implement either way. Limited to hats and facial accessories, you can pick up a pair of sunglasses, a cowboy hat, a chicken hat, a magician’s hat, and more. Playing in co-op means you can also mix and match your accessories, or coordinate your styles, if you wish.
Despite an abundance of unique ideas and fun gameplay challenges, Biped still feels a little too short. All of the game’s levels are accessible to you immediately after completing the tutorial section, so you can play in whichever order you see fit, but once you’re done, you’re done. There’s no real incentive to pick up all of the cosmetic items other than pure curiosity, and so there’s no urge to replay levels once you’re finished. It’s a shame, because the game otherwise is so much fun, so we’d more than welcome some additional content further down the line.
In terms of its overall presentation and performance, Biped is mostly a triumph. The graphics look lovely, and although there’s the occasional drop in frame rate, it’s rarely enough to negatively impact the gameplay. Indeed, despite the experience being fairly limited on the whole, there’s an undeniable sense that the game has that ‘Nintendo’ level of charm and polish, despite being completely independent.
Biped is a lovely co-op game that’s bursting with unique challenges and obstacles to overcome. It’s fun both on your own or with a friend locally, and despite the fact there’s not a tonne of meat on its bones, the game nevertheless displays a level of polish and charm that’s rarely found in smaller titles such as this. Definitely one to keep an eye on if you’re after a fun co-op experience, but be warned that it's more limited in scope than you might expect.