Daily Independent: Some Smart Puzzle Platforming to Be Had in BEEP

The Daily Independent is a recurring feature in which we shine a light into the darkened wilderness of indie gaming, illuminating both the good and the bad of what we find there.

Here’s the most succinct and eloquent way I can explain BEEP: If Mario had had Gordon Freeman’s Gravity Gun in Super Mario World, BEEP is what that game would be. It’s a smart and enjoyable hybridization of physics and platforming.

The game puts players in control of BEEPs, a series of Wall-E-like probe droids dispatched by automated ships to scout for resources on uncharted planets. The planets all have different types of terrain, but the goal is always the same, tasking players with guiding his or her BEEP robot through side-scrolling levels in search of three large chunks of anti-matter and 25 smaller chunks, all of which go to powering the ship. Collecting the objects from each level opens more levels, and permits the further exploration of the distant solar system through which the BEEP ship is traveling.

BEEPs are cute and smart little guys, characters in their own right, expendable though they may be. Each comes equipped with a gun for defending itself (there seem to be a bunch of hostile robots scattered throughout these worlds) and the anti-gravity gun not unlike the zero-point energy field manipulator. Shooting is all well and good and adds a little urgency to the game, but the real fun comes in using the anti-grav gun, which BEEPs employ to interact with the world around them. You’ll use it to move objects, clearing rocks from a path or stacking boxes to climb to new heights, and to manipulate platforms. Twisting and rotating objects to make yourself a path is where BEEP the game excels, and there are quite a few inventive ideas of what to do with that anti-grav gun found scattered throughout the game.

You get 24 levels when you download BEEP, which is available on Steam and will currently run about $10. I’m tempted to say that price point’s a touch steep, but really, there’s quite a bit of content in BEEP and most of the levels are longer than one might expect. What’s more, every level is well-designed and the puzzles are always thoughtful, even if they’re not going to strain the brain in solving them.

BEEP is a solid addition to the library of any fan of 2-D platformers, and even better than the gameplay, which is pretty much great all the way through, is the fact that it injects some innovation in a genre that hasn’t had to change much in the last 30 or so years. It’s not reinventing the wheel or anything, but BEEP is certainly a fun way to make your wallet $10 lighter.

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