Developed and Published by Red Limb Studio, Beat Me! is a frantic battle party game featuring puppets, with 7 different puppets to choose from, each with a mini backstory that brings some variety to proceedings. Which is more than what I can say for the dreary tune that loops in the menu screens. The graphics are quite simple, coming across like a combination of Castle Crashers and Minecraft.
There isn’t a story to be had here; instead, there is a pleasant tutorial mode which might be the best bit about the game. You are taken to a puppet show stand where the character you have chosen is hung up by their strings. The first thing you have to do is free yourself of those strings by wriggling the left control stick. It seems all simple but it feels engaging at first as the King of Puppets guides you through the controls of the game. That is until it ends as it is very short.
There is an online mode which is nice as it’s becoming less common with some of the indie multiplayer titles. Locally you can either play a deathmatch or wave mode. Unfortunately, you can only play a local deathmatch with friends as it requires 2-6 players, so no sharpening your skills with AI players allowed. You can play the wave mode solo or with up to 6 players but that has a really limited sense of enjoyment. Online you can either play in a deathmatch or a team deathmatch which is quite limited. You can mess about with the rules of the game but it’s still deathmatches only.
The game itself is quite weak in all fairness. Being called Beat Me! and being all about deathmatches you would hope the action would live up the expectations that name might suggest. Well, it is functional, I can say that much, but the joy I received by playing it wasn’t that high.
In appearance you’d be forgiven for initial impressions reminding you of the Super Smash Bros titles, though as an indie title this clearly has nowhere near that level of budget or complexity and polish. Sadly this also means that the level of enjoyment is quite diminished too; when rounds end in a matter of seconds because the other players fell off the screen it leads to a very flat feeling experience.
The controls are super simple, letting anyone pickup and play. As the characters are puppets they move in a physics-based way, but their jump is almost like they’re in low gravity. There are powerups that you can pick up to perform a special ultimate attack, regain some health or lower the gravity more to allow some super high jumps. There is only one attack button for each character, with some of the characters using melee and some range attacks. It seems to strongly favour melee characters as the range characters can only shoot straight ahead of them which leaves them quite disadvantaged.
I played a few games online when I could find one and played as an archer; I could barely get an arrow to hit before I was swamped and killed in seconds by a melee character. Each of the characters has 3 basic stats which are health, damage and speed, but its not that noticeable in battle as it seems whoever gets the first hit in usually triumphs. Some levels do allow some platform jumping skill to be evasive but that is the only variation on offer other than the powerups if the round lasts long enough for them to be used.
Beat Me! is a cheap, indie version of a Smash Bros-style game. Some other titles have tried to provide a decent alternative but I haven’t really come across a successful one yet. This is no exception to that rule unfortunately, as although the puppet characters are quite interestingly designed the game just isn’t that fun. The combat is too melee strong and with no attack variants, it gets old very quickly. Online play is a nice touch but I don’t know how often you will find opponents.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.