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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Publish By: Zen Studios
Developed By: Zen Studios
Genre: Music
Players: 1
Rated: T for Teen (Violence)
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Price: $9.99 (Buy Now!)
Screenshots: Link
Written By: Matthew Prunty

September 25, 2013 - Zen Studios; the developer and publisher best known for a plethora of Pinball-inspired games, is venturing into new territory with their latest title; exclusive to PS3 ad PlayStation Vita. KickBeat melds music with the stylingís of Kung Fu in order to create an engrossing rhythm game. Whatís interesting about Zen Studios taking on the genre is that it was well executed; which is a surprise considering Pinball games have nothing to do with this type of game. With a bit of a learning curve, KickBeat is most rewarding to those who give it their all.

KickBeat places you into the dancing/Kung Fu shoes of Lee, a teenager on a mission to locate the Sphere, a beaming ball of energy that represents the spirit of every song that has or will ever been made. Being a lover of music and of Kung Fu, Lee will put his skills to good use in retrieving the Sphere and saving the Ö music world. The story within KickBeat is one of the cheesiest ones you have come across in a game, but thanks in part to the vibe of KickBeat; it fits perfectly and is often good for a few laughs.

KickBeat is all about kicking butt, taking namesÖ and doing it all to a groovy beat. Throughout the game, Lee will come across a diverse assortment of baddies, all trying to stop Lee for fulfilling his quest. Defending his honor and that of music, Lee bravely takes on all comers who gather around him attempting to attack him in rhythm. When I first heard about this game, I was thinking we would see something along the lines of Capoeira Ė form of martial arts that mixes dance, acrobatics and music Ė but I was presently surprise with the choice of Kung Fu.

Each level within KickBeat brings about a unique experience. As Lee, you will fight across several distinct arenas populated by a mix of colorful hooligans that are fitting of the setting. Each fight will position Lee in the middle of the area with the enemies attacking him to the beat of the music. You have the option of controlling Leeís action via the D-pad or face buttons. The object of the game is to match your Leeís movements to that of the enemies. If an enemy approaches the square button, you would press either the square button or left on the D-pad. Early on in the game, everything starts out easy, so you donít have to worry too much about missing your button press. In the latter levels, itís a different story as the difficulty is ramped up and you often see anywhere from two to five foes attacking in unison. Miss a note (attacking an enemy) results in a portion of your life bar disappearing. Once the bar is gone completely, itís game over for you and Lee.

What I found compelling about the gameplay in KickBeat was the fact that itís often hard to stay focus with everything going on in the game. When you think you are familiar with the track you are listening to, out of nowhere, the difficulty can ramp up. You also have to contend with enemies constantly in motion, the roaring crowds and even the pulsating beats; all of which will force your stay on your toes. Often enough, I found myself failing several times before finally getting the hang of it. Patience, timing and focus are key for this uphill battle. Throughout your fights, at key moments within the battle, Lee will pull off some spectacular movies which are showcased via cinematic animations.

For those who are able to make it through all 18 tracks, you have a plethora of reasons to take the journey again. First and foremost, you can import your own songs into the game and try your luck with your favorite tracks. Have you tried playing this game while rocking out to Michael Jacksonís Speed DemonÖ well now you can. The process to import the song into the game is pretty effortless and in no time, you are rocking out and saving the world. There is also the inclusion of a second playthrough with a female protagonist on a hard difficulty level.

Zen Studios has a knack for creating a memorable experience, and thatís the case with KickBeat. Itís a refreshing taking on the music-based videogame genre; one that testís ones fortitude and is very rewarding in the end. With the cross-buy promotion, the experience is the double the fun. For those looking for a unique experience than can be taken on the road or played at home, take a look at Zen Studioís KickBeat.


Review copy provided by Publisher

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