There are certain games out there that try a bit too hard with the retro genre, the graphics, and the sound effects, but they forget the core mechanics that made those old-school games so fun to play — they were simple and they were addictive. Beatstep Cowboys masters both of those elements.
Don’t get me wrong here, this isn’t the greatest game I have ever played, but I will admit that I went into playing the free preview build with a lot of skepticism. From the pictures and the trailers I didn’t really get it, but then I played it and everything changed. Beatstep Cowboys is developed by a small team of only three people, but they managed to pull it off.
Beatstep Cowboys reminds me of a one on one version of classic Bomberman, but the twist is that it is turned-based combat that plays out to the rhythm of the music. You input your character controls using WASD to move around, four movements for four beats of music, and then the V button fires your gun and B sets down a bomb. You can choose to use the four beats to set down four bombs, fire four bullets, or take four steps in any direction you choose.
The object in Beatstep Cowboys? Kill your opponent. The prototype only had two characters and a single stage, but it was enough to show me exactly what to expect from the final game. The developers have also released a gameplay trailer for their Steam Greenlight page, showcasing some new features and characters that will be present in the final game. Take a look in the below trailer.
The thing that makes it so addictive is; one, the music and the way it builds anticipation and tension as you wait for the beats to play out; and two, how simple and fluent the game plays when you jump in. You pick it up so easily it makes it a blast as you try to outsmart your opponent and predict their next move, because all it takes is one well placed bullet to end the fight. I guess it is one of those games that has just enough old-school retro to make the simple concept work, but enough originality to also make it fun.
Do you like to stream your play sessions? To make the combat a bit more intense, players on Twitch can choose to vote for actions and movements, just to add a bit of interaction between the players and your viewers. I’m sure it would make for a fun little party game to pass the time.
If this looks like your cup of tea and you would like to vote for it on Steam Greenlight you can follow the provided link. For those of you that would like to play the free prototype build, you can follow the link to their Gamejolt page.
Don’t forget to also visit the official website for further details.