KickBeat: Special Edition
Top Critic Average
Kickbeat is a fairly generic rhythm-action title, hampered by loose core gameplay – something that really needed to be solid when there is so little in the way of content. It's hard to recommend it when there are better examples of the genre out there.
Even if you're addicted to rhythm games, Kickbeat is a hard pass. It gets almost nothing right. Stick to your old copies of Rock Band and Guitar Hero and get your fighting game needs met with an actual fighting game.
KickBeat: Special Edition is a solid enough game, but it never does anything beyond its initial concept to make it feel unique. Decent presentation and a comical plot help to balance out boring gameplay and a disappointing soundtrack, culminating in a release that neither looks good nor bad on the dancefloor.
While Kickbeat is sound and technically works very well, and while the song selection can be questionable, there are a few standouts. Unfortunately, there's just not enough here to keep many people playing after doing the full story once unless you're looking for a big challenge. For a single play through of the story, it's alright, but for lasting appeal, it really doesn't have it.
The last decade saw the rise of popular rhythm games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. With that craze now long dead the rhythm game genre is attaching itself to other gaming genres. KickBeat – Special Edition is one of these games which strives to straddle the line between the beat\'em up and rhythm genre and strikes just the right chord in its execution. Zen Studios has put together a package that\'s both visually appealing and absolutely fun to play.
KickBeat is a fairly standard rhythm game augmented by some visual flair and a polarising soundtrack. The attention to detail we've come to expect from Zen Studios is present in full effect, both in the luscious 3D models and in the interface with statistics galore. This isn't a title you'll likely still be playing years from now, but it's a surprisingly meaty experience, and if you're a music game addict or a huge fan of early '00s mainstream hard rock music, you'll love kicking these beats.
Its concept is simple enough to allow nearly everyone to start playing quickly, the soundtrack is quite good and it's fun enough to entertain for a while. However, the game does not have enough content to keep it on its legs and its unbalanced difficulty levels, as well as some technical problems, make it a less-than-fundamental choice in the Wii U's catalogue.
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So you get almost the same game as before, with a couple of bonus tracks. The gameplay remains the same, but the graphics have been upgraded to 1080p at 60 frames-per-second. But with the painful omission of custom soundtracks, there is little incentive to re-visit the game once you've completed it, and even less after you collect all the stars in the campaign (which will be quite a challenge nonetheless). If you've never played the game before and currently do most of your gaming on the PS4, then at $9.99 it's an easy buy for rhythm game fans. Here's hoping a PS4 firmware update coupled with a title update will enable custom soundtracks, or at least for some DLC tracks.
The actual gameplay, despite its insane difficulty spike once you play on anything but easy, is actually really fun.
Overall KickBeat is an entertaining and smartly priced addition to the burgeoning rhythm game catalogue. The gameplay has an assuredness to it that rewards repeated play and feels like a learning experience. Once you factor in the Beat Your Music mode this one goes down as a bargain for fans of the genre, particularly those with a hefty catalog of MP3s.