Game Addict Files #1: 1…2…3…Kick it! Drop that beat like an ugly baby!
Game Addict Files is a little project where I’m going to catalog my thoughts on games I’ve got in my Steam library. I collect a lot of video games and over the years I’ve realized there’s no one place I’ve collected my thoughts on each one, so this feature is half diary, half archive, all opinion. Little thoughts or musings based on personal experiences in playing many video games, organized alphabetically. We get things started with one of the few games I own that has a number at the beginning of its title, and its a strange game at that.
Dejobaan Games is well known for their inventive titles, and 1, 2, 3, Kick It! Drop That Beat Like An Ugly Baby! is a perfect example of their best efforts. With games like Drunken Robot Pornography and AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity in their library already 123KITDTBLAUB…I’ll call it Kick it! for short…is in good company. As a developer Dejobaan first came to my attention with the critically acclaimed “Disregard for Gravity” which is a challenging, irreverent, and hilarious game that looks like it must have been as fun to make as it is to play. Falling from great heights, flying through gates and soaring within inches of massive shapes all while flipping off your haters plays out as a beautiful dance, and Kick it! keeps that feeling of flying but injects a very different, and unfortunately underwhelming, extra feature: music.
Yes, like many games in the indie darling category Kick it! is a game where you can “play your music”, by letting the game make stages based on the different sound levels of songs in your music library. Audiosurf, Beat Hazard, Every Extend Extra Extreme and many other games have implemented this feature to better or worse execution, and Kick it! does a fine job at it. Different shapes come soaring at your and you pass through or by them to the beat of the song playing…more or less. And that’s where the science of this feature falls apart.
Games with levels generated procedurally from music somewhat all suffer from the same issue: their content is only as good as your music is interesting and easy to analyze. Having a taste for classical, or music without an easy to follow beat makes your experience a staggered, stuttering one. Slow ballads make for slow levels, and music without much dynamic range leaves the stage feeling empty or flat. The best games with music generated levels all have levels pre-packaged in the game that work for the system well, Every Extend did this and so did Rock Band Blitz, the benefit of it being a curated experience that the developers can certify as fun before it gets out the door. If the game is reliant on your music being good for the game to be good that puts a lot of responsibility on the gamers, more than most games do.
For its faults Kick It! isn’t the best thing from Dejobaan, but it’s not terrible either. The visuals are gorgeous works of abstract art, and flying through them at speed is dizzying and exciting. The game manages the fancy trick of turning songs into levels just fine but there’s not a good sense of weight to your actions, and Dejobaan’s other flying games are far more engaging.
Spend your money on other music-level games if that’s really what you’re here for, or better yet spend your money on some other Dejobaan Games offerings. I’ve got a few others in the library we’ll come across soon that are better examples of their work.
Get ready for Game Addict File #2, another number-title game, 10,000,000!
Have you tried this game? If so, share some thoughts in the comments!
[Images from Dejobaan.com, of the Alpha build of the game]