Have you ever wanted to punch the daylights out of someone with your beard? Yea? Well, you’re in luck! Glovebox Games has created a hero who can do just that and much more in Beard Blade.
“Beard Blade is an action-packed 2D platformer for PC and Mac inspired by 16-bit legends! Play as the gallant Branson a.k.a. “Beard Blade” as he strives to reclaim the town’s stolen goods and uncover the truth behind a dark secret. His weapon of choice? An enchanted beard teeming with powerful magic that allows him to shape-shift his stubble to overcome hairy situations. The enemies are tough, but so is your scruff!” – From Kickstarter, Glovebox Games
Have I piqued your interest yet? Good!
Picking it up, Beard Blade plays like your favorite 80s-90s era platformers. It feels familiar, it feels good and it definitely feels nostalgic. You’re Branson, which by itself is a hella beardly name, and you’re on a quest to unlock a dark secret and to take back the good’s stolen from the town.
The game pulls inspiration from 90s era games such as Wario Land, Mario, Yoshi’s Island and I even see some Kirby in there with the designs of the enemies and Sonic from level designs. You run, jump, crawl, throw, climb and fly all with the power of your beard. It can turn into a sword, a mace, a fist among other things.
You can visit the barber to change up your beard, different bubbles contain clothes that change the function of your beard to do different attacks, and you can take on side-quests to get to know the town you’re saving. There are secrets hidden in the levels from loot to hard to reach areas, puns galore and a cast of characters that’ll keep you laughing.
Make no mistake, while this game pulls inspiration from those aforementioned games, Beard Blade is in a realm all its own. Platforming over the years has grown stagnant in terms of known triple A titles. Beard Blade is a welcoming and refreshing take on a fantastic and age old genre. There are puzzles, skill oriented challenges and even timed-hits and attacks.
The demo allows the use of a controller or a keyboard. The Steam controller does not work. Then again, it doesn’t work for a lot of games. But an Xbox controller works perfectly. (I must pick one up.) I used the keyboard for this demo.
Even still, with the keyboard, it felt responsive and reflexive. Actions and attacks felt solid and hits landed felt satisfying. I didn’t catch any bugs in my playthrough and the demo ran smoothly.
The attacks range from your beard punching enemies, slashing enemies and smashing them. You also have the ability to kill enemies by jumping on their heads and using them to knock them into obstacles or to clear a puzzle. Your beard not only aids in beat downs, but it also functions as a way to get to hard to reach areas, fly and navigate through the level.
~Visuals & Music~
The demo looks gorgeous. It’s bright, it’s vibrant and it’s sharp. The colors pop and bring life to a world teeming with obstacles, enemies, secrets and puzzles. The levels are a blast from the past and play as good as they look. The checkpoint is a barbershop pole and I thought that was hilariously ingenious.
Trees and shrubs pop, the rocks look weathered and the infinite scrolling backgrounds are vivid and bring depth. Nothing feels too saturated nor do any colored look washed out. Shadows are deep, colors are rich and the world looks ripe.
The music, composed by Steven Melin, is nostalgic and pop and fresh. The vibes made me think of Kirby mostly and are catchy and often hypnotic. Music is well suited to each level and even though it runs on a loop, is a harmonically-rich and satisfying sound. There are a few tracks listed on their Kickstarter from the demo.
Beard Blade just might be the beardiest, bladiest 2D platformer of them all. It boasts a load of features and things to expect, which while may have been done before, have not been done in a way quite like Glovebox Games has done in this demo.
The world feels alive, the enemies are dangerous, the combat is solid and the music is exceptional. Just in playing through the demo, one can see the heart and soul that is going into this ambitious project. As of this writing, there are 505 backers with 16 days to go. Glovebox ought to pull out all the stops and see to it that this game get out there.
Everyone should experience the Beard.
Check out their campaign here:
Kickstarter – Beard Blade
Help them out on Greenlight:
Steam Greenlight – Beard Blade
Be on the lookout for my playthrough of the demo on our YouTube.
As always, stay in the know, Gamers~