The Beggar’s Ride is a quirky little Puzzle Platformer suitable for all ages. For this review the Wii-U version was used, but it is also available on PC, iOS and Android. Throughout the game you take the reins of a rather unorthodox hero in the form of an old beggar man. The old beggar has unwittingly unlocked the powers of a God and travelled to another world. You progress through this world by using these powers to complete various puzzles.
The game starts after the old beggar has found a mask which transports him to this strange new world, and as the game advances you gain access to more powers by collecting more masks.
The controls are very basic, most likely as it allows the game’s compatibility across various platforms. All that is used on the Wii-U gamepad is two buttons, the left control stick, and the tilt function. This is not to the game’s detriment however; it rather suits the simple control scheme.
As an old man, the character you control moves quite slowly. At first this may seem concerning, but you quickly get used to the speed. It fits well with the pace of the game as well as suiting the main character.
The game’s first obvious positive is how it looks. The art style is lovely, and graphically the game is very pleasing to the eyes. The environment is whimsical and pretty, without being childish. The fantasy world is charming, and enjoyable to take in, even on large screens, thanks to the smooth graphics. The music isn’t all too memorable, but that also means it suits its purpose well as background music.
The Beggar’s Ride has a simple but compelling story. The story is told to you through both voice-overs and on-screen text. The voice used for the voiced sections of story-telling is very well done, and fits nicely with the game’s atmosphere. The story unfolds as you unlock memories along your journey, teaching you about the world you’re in and the God whose powers you are using. Although the protagonist does not have a voice, his feelings and thoughts are expressed, making him more than just a voiceless avatar with which to explore the world. It is very much his story you are experiencing.
Snippets of text feed you the story piece-by-piece, which are interspersed across the landscape, strategically appearing as your progress through the puzzles. Occasionally the choice of font colour against specific backgrounds is ill-advised, leaving you squinting to work out what the text says, particularly on smaller screens, but on the whole the presentation of the text is imaginative and fun.
The puzzles increase in difficulty as the game progresses, but none of them are excessively complicated. There can be quite a lot of trial and error, but luckily checkpoints are very frequent, so the trial and error is not overly time-consuming or repetitive. In fact, as there is no death penalty, dying can actually be a quicker and easier way to navigate at times f you get yourself stuck. Often there are only a couple of objects you actually need to interact with to complete the puzzle, so you don’t get overwhelmed with possibilities. It just takes a little creative thinking.
Working out how to complete the puzzles is only the first step though. Some of the later puzzles can be frustratingly fiddly, particularly with the Wii-U gamepad. At points I wasn’t sure if I was completing the puzzle correctly, or if the jump I was attempting was in fact possible. Perhaps it handles a little better on PC or one of the mobile platforms, though they may actually be more difficult when quick timing and reactions are required. Regardless, with enough patience and perseverance the puzzles shouldn’t pose too much trouble.
The powers you control: rain, “earthquakes” (tilting the world), sliding sections of earth, and the changing phases of the sun and moon; are an interesting set. But the way the puzzles apply them isn’t exactly ground-breaking. You make plants grow and turn water-wheels with rain, you tilt the earth to make an object fall with gravity. Although not the most innovative, they’re nonetheless enjoyable.
The gameplay was generally enjoyable, but what really drove me onwards was the story. The message at the end of the game is surprisingly powerful. To that end, I won’t give any of the story away, as it is best to experience it for yourself. Although the game is not all too long (this will vary from individual to individual, though for myself it was around 2 hours for the first run through), the story is engaging and manages to give you some food for thought. There are also a number of small secret areas for you to discover, giving you a reason to go back and explore some more.
Overall, The Beggar’s Ride is a fun and atheistically pleasing puzzle-platformer that both kids and adults will enjoy.
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