PAX West 2019: ‘Biped’ is a Challenging Physics-Based Co-Op Adventure

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Test your friendships and relationships in NEXT Studios’ physics-based co-op puzzle game Biped. In this game, you and a friend take control of Aku and Sila on a bonding adventure, but the adventure isn’t easy. Throughout each timed level, you must overcoming original challenges and save Earth from going dark all working together with your partner.

Biped features 30 exotic stages to explore and many secrets to uncover to add more challenge to harmonized couples, all of which will help you customize your characters. The PlayStation exclusive also supports both local two-player coop and solo play.

At PAX West 2019, my husband and I worked together to reach 100% harmony through the timed levels. Tethered together, we moved through the snowy world, using our tether to move switches, activate platforms, move boulders, and swing between both solid and collapsable ledges. While you aren’t always tethered to your partner, our version of the demo tied us together and upped the challenge of following each others movements, lest we be thrown off of a ledge. The nature of the co-op means that you have to stick together, communicate, and execute a strategy to complete the zone.

While the controls do have a learning curve, each stick controls one leg, as we got going we swung through the level with ease, only dying once. A co-op game demo requires a co-op review, find our impressions of Biped below.

How was Biped’s co-op experience?


Kate: Biped is a true co-op experience. Team work is necessary and with each stage of the zone being timed, there is a pressure to improve and beat yourself. Each zone completion is graded by “Harmony” percentages, to complete the demo level only 60% Harmony was needed. While the couple before us was unable to clear it with above the goal, Matt and I were able to clear it at 100% Harmony which speaks to the co-op experience itself. If you can work together, you’ll thrive in this game. While you can play solo, I’m unsure if the joy that we had playing the game will remain the same.

Matt: Biped is the ultimate co-op experience as you not only have to work together, but you are tethered together. This means that no matter the situation, you can’t just have one person do all the work. I did enjoy that the game took into account a “Harmony” meter so you could tell how well you played together and completed the obstacles. This game is meant to be played with someone else and I really couldn’t image playing this game by myself at all.  I feel if I were to play this game alone, the AI would either make the game incredibly easy by being too good, or extremely frustrating, as AI would struggle with what the player felt would be easy tasks.

How intuitive were the controls?


Kate: Biped’s controls are fairly difficult to understand. One stick moves your left foot and the other moves your right foot. To move forward seamlessly, you must move both at once. In addition, you have limited movement because of the tether that attaches you to your partner. Our first of two deaths in the demo came from not being able to understand the elasticity and physics of the tether nor how to make small movements with our feet instead of large ones. That being said, once you knew what to do, it was a breeze. The other piece to the movement controls is lining up your movement with the timing elements required for the later puzzles, which more than makes up for overcoming the initial difficulty of the controls.

Matt: The controls are not unique to other games that I have played where two players are tethered together. They do, however, take some time getting used to them. The left stick moves the left leg and the right stick moves the right leg, which may seem easy in concept, but does take some getting used to. In most games, the movement is one stick controls movement and other stick controls direction so it does take a little while to get used to. This is especially apparent when trying to move levers that require placing one foot on a button and using the other foot to grab the lever.

How difficult were the puzzles?

Kate: Once we understood how to move and how to navigate the mechanics of the levers, we didn’t even audibly communicate as much. By the end of the game, we were working together using what the earlier puzzles had taught us. This doesn’t mean that the obstacles were easy, in fact, early on we died because I panicked on a disintegrating platform. Learning is the best part of difficult puzzles and each obstacle teaches you.

Matt: The puzzles weren’t too difficult once I understood how moving works and how to operate various buttons and levers. There were a few puzzles that could be tricky such as needing the players to wrap around pillars and move them. Overall, I thought the puzzles were pretty easy to handle, but this was just the demo and the devs we spoke to did say there would be plenty more obstacles in the game to challenge people. Also, we did get a chance to watch the people before us play the game and they struggled quite a bit with the obstacles and didn’t even end up finishing the demo in the amount of time given. I do feel that the better in-harmony you are with your partner, the easier the puzzles will be.

Overall, Biped is a fun game in a beautiful world with adorable characters. It is also a challenge for duos in a way that forces synergy in the best of ways. The push to work together is the beauty of completing Biped’s puzzles. While it may be challenging at first, learning the mechanics and how the physics of the tether work, speedrunning through the obstacles is a blast.

Biped is coming to the PlayStation 4 for the 2019 holiday.