7.5 Overall Score
Presentation: 7/10
Story: 5/10
Gameplay: 7/10

Customization for Free Play Levels | Cut Scene Art Style

Limited Track List | Too Much Going On At Times

Written by on September 12, 2013 in [, , , ]

Normally known for their pinball games, Zen Studios has stepped outside of their comfort zone and given us a different type of game. A game where martial arts meets rhythm in an intriguing and often frustrating way. Say hello to KickBeat. The plot behind Story Mode, although super cheesy, allows you to play first as Lee, a young man sent on a mission to reclaim the Sphere, which contains all the music of the world. Using all of his martial arts training, Lee must fight his way through group after group of baddies that attack in time with the beat of the song. Once you manage to complete Lee’s story, you can then play through Mei’s story, which is the same levels and songs, only with different cut scenes in between. Though those are still just as cheesy as before (you have been warned). While the story doesn’t do much to capture one’s attention and interest, the gameplay most certainly will.

Each level is essentially the same with just a few cosmetic changes to give it a different feel for that setting. You stand in the middle of a Yin and Yang circle, that represents your life bar and Chi bar, and have enemies come at you from all four sides. You build up your Chi bar by making perfect counterattacks and once full you can activate your Chi, using the L bumper, allowing you to gain more points per counterattack. Sometimes during your battles you may collect shields or power ups which can be activated using the R bumper. Occasionally it can be hard to notice you have the Chi or power up waiting for you with all the enemies attacking, but they come in handy and are worth using, so be sure to keep a look out.

KickBeat Lee Helipad Fight

The enemies come dressed up in three different colors (yellow, blue and red), and each color has its own meaning as to how they will attack you. The yellow enemies are the simplest ones by far, attacking in singles with the occasional link between two that will require you to press and hold the button they are attacking on until the second guy passes over it. The blue enemies will always attack in multiples, one right after the other. The red enemies have two attack at the same time, so that you will have to press two buttons to successfully block them. In addition to just counterattacking your enemies, you will also see that some of them have extras hovering above their heads such as a shield, extra life or points, etc. To collect these you must double tap the button the enemy is attacking from. This can cause some frustration and throw you off the beat of the song a bit. The more you play that song, the easier it becomes to get the double tap in line with the rhythm and combos you flow through.

KickBeat Baddies

After each level you get a score and earn stars that will unlock different character skins or clothes for Free Play. It will take a few playthroughs to unlock all the different modes such as Free Play, Survival, or Beat Your Music, where you can create your own levels using songs you imported from your library. This can be a bit tedious and annoying since that means playing through the same songs over and over, but luckily they aren’t all that bad. Not great, but not bad. The track list is not very long and includes music from artists such as Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, P.O.D, Papa Roach, and Voicians.

While the premise of KickBeat sounds easy, there are many times where it becomes a chore to get through a level. Practice makes perfect, but it has a steep learning curve until you get there. Often times the arena seems overly cluttered with bad guys that like to circle you halfway until they reach their mark. This breaks your concentration and causes confusion that only leads to missing counterattacks, which can eventually result in defeat and replaying the level.

KickBeat Mei Nightclub Fight

If you are looking for a challenging rhythm game, then at a $9.99 cross-buy price point, KickBeat is the perfect game for you. It has parts that make you want to toss your PlayStation Vita into a wall, but when you start flowing through those combos like a pro, it makes it all worth it.

A copy of KickBeat was given to The Married Gamers for review. 


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Samantha Olvera View all posts by
Tester at Aperture Labs, vacations in Rapture, and leaps from buildings into haystacks for fun. I love gaming almost as much as I love my two kiddos. I play for fun, but I aim to win.

Leave A Response