Tag Archives: Beep

BEEP combines physics and platforming with cute robots

beep early impressions gd

Remember when I went balls-out crazy over the summer during the Steam Summer Sale and spent an astounding $0.74 on a bundle of four games? And then I only played one of them, the cute yet challenging Out There (Somewhere)? Yeah, I remember that too. Congratulations, we both have good memories. Except that I also promised to try out the other three–Polarity, Beep, and Camera Obscura–sooner than later, which were words written five months ago. I think I need to look up the dictionary definition of “soon” before I ever use the word again.

Beep tells the story of a lone spaceship that has been gliding through the emptiness of interstellar space for, like, ever and ever. An automated factory within this ship prepares a fleet of robotic explorers in search of gold nuggets–one of my sister’s least favorite words–that will help advance their race. Don’t ask me how, I’m not a robotic explorer. Gold also unlocks newer planets to explore. When arriving at a planet, a robot is deployed, and the player gains control, using platforming, physics, and laser beams to collect the necessary nuggets and reach the end safely.

Your little exploring robot in Beep–which I’m not totally comfortable writing as BEEP though that’s how it appears over at Steam–is mega cute. I mean, look at it. Anyways, it moves on wheels, which does affect how you climb up over some ledges or whether or not sliding is an issue on slanted slopes. The first few levels, namely on the Perilous Plains, slowly up the difficulty, but mostly introduce elements like moving platforms to climb on and dealing with antagonistic robots at a good pace. However, I found the little robot descending underground into dark sections with limited light and tricky jumps a bit too much early on. You do hit some checkpoints in the levels, which means restarting isn’t too punishing, and you can just keep trying over and over.

The graphics and bouncy tunes keep everything feeling easy and safe, even if it can get a little challenging in some parts. At first, I mistook Beep to be a prototype or student project–shame on me–but the graphics eventually fade to the background as you find yourself concerned with tossing defunct robot bodies out of your way or lowering a platform just so in hopes of being in line of sight of a nugget and using your anti-gravity gun to bring it closer. Using that gun to hurl rocks and dead enemy bot bodies with force is really fun, though it can bite you in the butt if you aren’t careful where you are aiming. For example, I wanted to hurl a dead opponent up and over my little robot explorer’s head into the gap behind it–you know, like a cool action hero–but instead tossed it directly into it, knocking both off the edge. Yes, I laughed, but I also quickly learned my lesson.

Beep‘s got some pedigree behind it too. I don’t know specifically who, but it comes from the minds of former LucasArts and BioWare employees and is clearly inspired by games like Cave Story, Yoshi’s Island, Trine, and Half-Life 2, all of which I’ve actually played in my lifetime. I’m enjoying it so far and expect to chip away at it slowly. I also can totally see myself just sitting on the level select menu, which is simply a solar system you can fly around and bump into drifting meteorites and such, all while a thumping, Blade Runner-like soundtrack plays. The shocking truth is that I really need to load up other things on my laptop other than Time Clickers.

Your broken spaceship’s parts are Out There (Somewhere)

out there somewhere gd early impressions

Well, the Steam Summer Sale kicked off the other day, and so far, I’ve produced a haiku about it, as well as bought a bundle of four games for $0.74. I’d also like to note that the money used to purchase this bundle was generated from selling digital trading cards on the Steam marketplace, so this is a big win–in my mind–from multiple angles. The Developer Alliance bundle, which was marked down to 95% off, contained the following, all of which seemed interesting and were not already in my library at the time of purchase: Polarity, Beep, Camera Obscura, and Out There (Somewhere). Today, I’ll be waxing on and off about the last listed title there, but I do expect to try out the other three sooner than later.

Out There (Somewhere), a name that feels like it should be attached to a long-lost Asimov short story, is an action-based puzzle platformer clearly inspired by adventures like Cave Story, Super Metroid, and Portal. See, you play an explorer named Yuri stranded on a dangerous alien planet after your spaceship is damaged. Low on fuel and in desperate need of key spaceship parts, your only hope for escape is to explore and see what this planet holds. Thankfully, you have a teleportation gun, though its use is limited based on your environment. I’ll explain.

In this platformer, you can jump, as well as shoot your teleportation gun, which fires a ball of blue light. Technically, that’s you. Once that blue light hits a surface, you’ll be instantly transported there. Of course, there are some exceptions, as different colored beams of light will get in your way: red cancels your shot, blue will teleport you like any other surface, and green takes you for a ride first. This is where a lot of the puzzles come into play, figuring out how to get from one place to another using your gun. Often, you’ll have to factor in momentum too when landing a teleporting shot. Fairly early on you’ll acquire a more weapony gun, a real pea-shooter, which will help you take out enemies like bats and monster slime thingies; alas, having two different guns confused me at first, and I ended up firing the wrong one at the right time far too many times.

Evidently, I’m a sucker for games where every screen you traverse gets a name. I loved this in VVVVVV and You Have to Win the Game, and I like it here as well, though the screen names, so far, are not highly titillating (for example, Basement). The story is fairly thin, but enough to go on. As you explore, you’ll come across NPCs in the form of alien treefolk; they don’t say much, but there’s an Achievement for speaking to every one of them, and so I’ll do it. However, Out There (Somewhere) is more about the action and nifty mechanics, and the difficulty curve is surprisingly tough–but rewarding.

Part of me is bummed to learn that Out There (Somewhere) was released back in 2012. That means I’ve been missing out on this good, wholesome, teleport-your-body fun for three years. There once was a time when only a handful of games came out, and you could keep track of them all; now, not so much. Well, I’m glad then that this Developer Alliance bundle for the Steam Summer Sale caught my eye, and I’m looking forward to checking out the other titles, but only after I finish Yuri’s mission. For the meantime, I have to get back to work, and by that I mean collecting those vital spaceship parts with style.