You’ve Got A Friend In Me
Buddy & Me – Reviewed
By Julie Morley
Every night he drifts off into sleep peacefully and awakens in a special, familiar place. A forest, but not just any forest, no, a magical forest in which the boy explores seemingly endlessly. His room has been detached from his house and suddenly it rests high in a tree canopy. When the boy awakens, he is greeted by a friend by the name of Buddy, a magical creature with the ability to fly. Buddy is a bit of a protective companion that flies around with the boy to ensure his safety and, well, because they’re best friends. Why does the boy return to this sacred place night after night? In Buddy & Me, we find out.
In early February, Sunbreak Games released Buddy & Me on the Google Play market. Since then, they have incorporated a female character and some extra features.
Buddy & Me takes a new spin on an endless runner game, merged with a platform style, brought to your mobile device, whether it’s iOS or Android. When I gave it a try on my Android phone, I got sucked into it for a little while.
Part of the design for runners is to achieve a particular score in a time crunch. You collect time bonuses and move your way through challenge to gain extra time, thus increasing the score and being more hardcore because of it. With Buddy & Me, there are several opportunities to increase your time and go for a higher score. When I played, it took me a few tries to really get the hang of it and get comfortable; but it was a little addictive, I couldn’t stop trying. If I didn’t take a break from it, I half-expect that someone would have needed to chisel my hands off of the phone.
Sunbreak Games is still relatively new and decided to make their first studio project a spin on a safe genre to explore. Normally, running games are merely a single character, running around all their lonesome. However, by incorporating the buddy system, it makes the game feel bigger and less lonely while still remaining in a bit of a safe zone.
Buddy is a companion character that journey’s through the woods with the boy, helping him out if need be. Since Buddy is always flying further ahead of the boy, he is capable of spotting danger and offering a helping hand whether it is offering his belly as a trampoline, his tail as a rope swing from platform to platform, or his back as an additional platform.
Buddy will stop at nothing to make sure that the boy is safe and having fun. If the player progresses to a certain point, Buddy will even swoop in to give the boy a bit of a ride around the level and the player can actually control him. During gameplay, the boy doesn’t completely rely on Buddy for level navigation, he’s capable of jumping, double-jumping, running, and even a fancy glide with his ginormous hoodie.
I felt pretty safe with this incorporation of the buddy system. You see, if I only fell down off of the map when I failed, I would just keep having to redo it and eventually I’d chuck my phone across the room (then regret it instantly and chase after it, sobbing and apologizing hysterically). But you get my point! It’s a pain. With the companion system, I’m good. Whether it’s buddy letting me bounce on his belly or an Angel Bunny carrying me along.
Buddy is not the only mystical creature in the forest offering his friendship. The previously mentioned Angel Bunnies, which are guardians of the magical forest, are all around, often found to be singing some sort of lullaby. If one is collected during a level, it will follow the boy throughout the rest of his adventure. Before you know it, you’ll have a cute line of bunnies following Buddy around.
Part of what I loved about Buddy & Me is that I felt a part of the world. It took me back to a time where everything was much more vibrant, attractive, and interesting: my childhood. As silly as it may sound, Buddy & Me was relaxing and nostalgic. I was able to kick back and enjoy seeing a kid have the time of his life.
All in all, Buddy & Me is a fun runner game that is easy to play for both children and grownups. The challenge is there but not punishing or crippling. No matter what, it’s an engaging game that is ideal to play when there’s some down time and you’re on the go. I’d recommend putting in the .99 cents to play. Do it for the little kid in you.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/julie.jpg” ]Julie Morley is a freelance writer and comic artist from Spring, Texas. She attended the Academy of Art University for two years, studying Animation and Illustration. Whilst here, she learned about writing comic scripts, storyboards, and general storytelling. Since leaving college, she has been working on personal comic projects, stories, and illustrations. She aspires to release a self published comic within two years. For the majority of her life, she has been playing console games, typically being third-person shooters and sandboxes. Her favorite game of existence is Dark Cloud II (Dark Chronicle) and her favorite Indie game is Gone Home.[/author]