The one thing I adore about the indie gaming scene. Well, there are many things I adore about it. But one of the things I adore is that a completely unknown game can just appear and make me say ‘I really want to play that’. No hype, no expectations, just a title that looks interesting and playable. From developer and publisher, Mini Fun Games, comes Beat Stickman: Beyond, but is it one of those games?
“Join a fictional network that expands across the multiverse, where your main goal is to beat as many instances of the Stickman as you can.”
Beat Stickman: Beyond is all about you beating up a stickman, that’s it. But before you can even do that, the game forces you to take part in a faux installation thing that plays like one of those idle tappy games you find on mobile phones. Fuck me this was utterly redundant and just plain annoying. Keep tapping the X button hundreds of times. Use the D-pad to upgrade your tap, etc. Tap the X button hundreds of more times. Use the D-pad to upgrade. Tap the X button, upgrade, X button, upgrade…
A complete waste of time that took way, way too long and just instantly put me in a bad mood before the game even started. I have no idea what the point was, except to waste my time, really piss me off and just have me tap the X button hundreds and hundreds of times for no reason.
The game then takes you through a tutorial that covers the basic controls. Move a cursor around the screen with the left stick and shoot with the X button… that is most probably knackered now after the bullshit faux install crap. The game auto-aims at your target, so all you have to do is keep pressing X. You don’t even have to move around the screen as there are no obstacles or dangers to avoid. You can stay put and just press X. Just like the faux install bit, the tutorial goes on for way, way too long in order to teach you to press X a lot… oh, and upgrade your weapons. That’s the entire game, you press X several thousand times and very, very slowly upgrade weapons and unlock cosmetic stuff. Rinse and repeat.
You don’t need any kind of skills, reflexes, no gaming knowledge or experience… you just press X. I love the indie gaming scene and think people should support indie devs more. But this is not a game that should be supported, I’m not even sure that it is a game. You just press X. I had to stop ‘playing’ this after 4 hours as I was genuinely concerned that it was going to break the X button on my Xbox controller. I’m not joking either. I thought I’d look up how long an Xbox Series X controller lasts, apparently about 10 years or 3 million button presses. I think I reduced the life of my pad by about 4 years ‘playing’ this game then.
You know those idle/grinding games you can get on mobile devices, the ones where you just pick a few upgrades and then exit the game and it mounts up your money/points for you to use on more upgrades? Those games that you don’t actually play? That is what this is. When you do buy any of the several auto weapons, you can just put the controller down or turn your console off and let the game ‘play’ itself, earn money for more upgrades. You don’t even have to press X after a while or even have the game on at all. Pressing X is all the game had to offer, now it doesn’t even have that.
Beat Stickman: Beyond is a tappy-tap mobile game that you’d find for free on an app store, play while on the toilet when taking a dump for 5 minutes, then delete it after. But this one is being sold as an actual game on PC and consoles. In fact, it is an actual free-to-play, tappy-tap mobile game that is on the app store. An earlier version but still essentially the same game, from the same devs too.
Recently, I played a very early test for a driving game from an indie dev that has more gameplay than this, and it was only an initial and very rough prototype. Beat Stickman: Beyond feels like it’s been put out as some kind of meta-joke about the games industry that I’m not getting. The strangest thing is that Beat Stickman: Beyond has a fantastic narrative. Yes, this game that has no discernible gameplay has a narrative. Only there is a bit of an issue, I can’t actually tell you about it. The dev asked that no spoilers be shared in the review in terms of how it unfolds and I always respect the rules of a review. So yeah, the best bit of the game, I can’t even tell you about it.
With a price tag of over £8 on the Xbox, this can fuck right off. A few months back, I reviewed an indie game called Ravenous Devils. A horror-themed cooking/business sim that only cost a shade over £4. Half the price of what Beat Stickman: Beyond costs and with far, far more gameplay (and a free update to add even more gameplay coming very soon in August). Here’s a bit from a blurb the devs put out to describe Beat Stickman: Beyond:
“You will start with the first weapon, Tap, and then take a wild ride of unlocking and upgrading all kinds of weapons that automatically beat the Stickman for you.”
A couple of things that I wish to highlight. First, there is no ‘wild ride’, you just press X. Second, the blub itself even says ‘weapons that automatically beat the Stickman for you’. Yes, automatically, you don’t have to do anything here, you don’t even press X after a while. The devs of this should change the title of the game to; Just Spam X A Fuck-ton Of Times And Possibly Break Your Controller Through Wear And Tear, For A Bit. I can’t review a game that doesn’t have any gameplay to review (other than pressing X) and the only thing really worth mentioning (the narrative), I’ve been asked not to talk about. I can only tell you that this is a waste of time and money. If this was cheaper, if this was closer to the £2 price point, I’d probably suggest that you gave it a go, just for shits and giggles, to enjoy the rather interesting narrative and ‘play’ it in the background while doing/playing something else. But for over £8? Buy two copies of Ravenous Devils instead. One for you and one for a friend.