KickBeat comes from Zen Studios who have been famous for the Zen Pinball series as well as the Pinball FX series on both major consoles. Zen Studios has backed both of these series extremely well with bringing in new tables to be purchased as DLC as well as adding popular tables. KickBeat is a genre that has really been missing for a while its a rhythm kung fu game. With an extreme soundtrack and new moves surely a new contender in the rhythm genre.
In KickBeat the story begins in a monastery where the story kicks off with Master Fu who is the leader of a secret group of monks call the Order of the Melodic Fist. These monks are the guardians of the Sphere of Music. The Sphere of Music is all of the world’s music in one sphere. It controls all of the music that everyone uses around the world. All of the music except for 18 songs which get stolen by Radio Earth, an outfit that’s run by Mr. Halisi who is also the owner and leader of Entertainment Earth. This is where the story’s protagonist Lee is brought into the story. Lee is an unlikely hero but he is the chosen one who will have to fight in several locations to reclaim the stolen music. Lee isn’t the only character that is playable, so is Mei who also can be played after the campaign is beaten successfully. The story also has a long on comedy parts so that the story isn’t all serious the whole time and also so the characters can be brought to life, since all the cutscenes are hand drawn and all characters have some sort of voice.
Gameplay for KickBeat is really straight forward. As the enemies rotate around the character they will land on any of the four facing buttons and then the user has to press that button in order to attack them, this can either be done with the four front facing buttons or the D-Pad which actually seems to be a bit more accurate and can combo moves a lot faster.
Special moves can be done by hitting RB and RT and Chi can be activated by hitting LB or LT all of these are essential in getting a bigger score at the end of each song they are rated in stars and they also track how many of each enemy the user has defeated. Button combinations are learned through the in game tutorial and then they are put to the test against the soundtrack of 18 songs ranging from electronic music to hard rock music each song differentiates a different play-style as well as four separate difficulty levels to put each user to the test. For soundtrack purposes the tracklist KickBeat offers the game has plenty to offer from Celldweller, Pendulum, Marilyn Manson, Shen Yi, Papa Roach, Rob Zombie, and many more.
Once the main story has been beaten it can be replayed with Mei and there is also survival mode where the user can play multiple songs in a row without the hassle of having cutscenes and not having to stop the gameplay. Survival mode requires a lot of concentration just like the campaign because the track where the buttons appear are always flashing sometimes making it hard to tell what button to hit to attack certain enemies. An easy fix for this is to disable the dynamic camera and always have the button helper on the screen. All of the cutscenes in game are all hand drawn and really bring some life into the cutscenes with the mild humor that is thrown into the story.
KickBeat is a great title in the rhythm genre with having great music to back up the gameplay. Kung Fu is definitely one of the best features in the game since it melds really well with the story allowing everything to blend together in one cohesive final package.
One of the struggles of this game is that most of the songs are extremely long in length and can be frustrating if the user gets knocked down from missing button presses. Where the button prompts show up aren’t always the most clear since there is a lot of flashing lights on the screen so at times it can be extremely frustrating.
KickBeat does prove there is still a lot of untapped potential out there for rhythm / action games and hopefully there will be more games in this genre to come taking inspiration off of it as well as perhaps a sequel.
Overall Score: 8 / 10
RGN Rating: Silver Game
Developer / Publisher: Zen Studios
Available On: PS4 | XO | PC | Wii U | PS3 | 360 | Vita
Played On: Xbox ONE
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this Review.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Josh Ehresmann on 20140922 and was last modified on 20140922 .