Hinedere Beat Review
A unique beast in the platforming space, Blaze Epic’s Hinedere Beat combines parkour elements, eight bit graphics, visual novel storytelling, and a healthy dose of anime fanservice. Do these elements come together in perfect harmony, or does it manage to be less than the sum of its parts?
Hinedere Beat Review
To make Hinedere Beat stand out, the development team looked to the past when creating its design. The eight-bit cinematics take cues from the Ninja Gaiden series on the Nintendo Entertainment System, while the gameplay is not unlike that of the Prince of Persia series. Combined with chiptune beats, and you’ve got a package that would be right at home on the PC-88 – no small feat.
It’s just a shame that the story lacks focus. Players take control of the high schooler Ruriko, who meets up with the sisters Ayumi and Miyabi throughout the game. There are some inklings as to what is going on, but the plot jumps from a lost virus source code to nanomachines reviving corpses to supernatural beings that reside in the shrines.
It more or less changes its objective every chapter, and the short runtime means that nothing gels when all is said and done. There is an attempt to tie everything together with its conclusion, but even that makes little sense. Writing is verbose and repeats phrases, and non sequiturs about sexuality are thrown in without purpose. Between all of that and the unnecessary honorifics, it comes across more as a notepad for ideas than something coherent.
To reach each objective, Ruriko must use the art of parkour to traverse treacherous landscapes. She has the ability to block attacks, run up walls, wall jump, and grab onto ledges. Each stage is set up in a way that requires players to make leaps of faith, all while avoiding sentry robots, fire-spewing chickens, samurai, and other threats.
If these controls worked as they should, this would most certainly spice up the platforming world, but sadly that is not the case here. Hit detection is shot – there were some instances where we clearly reached a ledge, only for Ruriko to fall to her doom. In addition, it can be a crapshoot to have her jump large distances instead of a short hop – we were impaled on spikes more times than we could count because of this. Even basic mechanics like the wall running only seemed to work half the time. A little more polish and this frustration would have easily been eliminated.
It’s not like there is much to Hinedere Beat anyway. Most levels boil down to getting to a room, grabbing a key, then circling back and unlocking a door at the beginning. The weird part is that the stage and enemy layout often changes when you get these objects, so it makes you wonder why the development team changed these elements in the first place.
Those that finish the game’s 11 chapters will not find much to do after all is said and done. Though it took us around two hours to finish the game, the only incentive to keep us going was the achievement system, which rewards players for finishing chapters with less than five deaths. Hinedere Beat is just begging for a speedrun mode – even a simple leaderboard would have given it some legs.
Hinedere’s retro-inspired presentation can’t be beat, but both the story and the gameplay could use some fine tuning. There is a unique experience to be found here, but the lack of focus and the awkward parkour will alienate a number of players.
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