Early Impressions: 1...2...3...KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby)
Dejobaan Games isn’t exactly a household name when it comes to video games, but they made some considerable noise a few years ago when they released AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity. The name alone was enough for people to take notice, and the fortunately, the game wasn’t too bad either. An arcadey puzzle type game in which you’re essentially skydiving and avoiding getting splattered on the sides of buildings, Aaaaa! was refreshingly original and non-serious, and many wondered if it Dejobaan would be a one hit wonder.
I’m glad to say that will not be the case, as Dejobaan retains their charm and knack for amazing game titles with 1…2…3…KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby). We were lucky enough to get our hands on the alpha build of the game, and while it’s still very very early, the game shows amazing potential, and should be one to look out for.
The premise for 1…2…3…KICK IT! is pretty similar to Aaaaaa!. You’re in a first person perspective, and barreling towards the finish line, trying to avoid obstacles. Points are gained from getting in close proximity of objects (“kissing” them), and point barriers strewn about the level. You also get to shoot things, but I rarely, if ever, used such a thing.
The one big difference is that the worlds are generated entirely by the music you select at the beginning. Yep, it’s Audiosurf and Aaaaa! in one, and it succeeds, to an extent. While it does generate different environments and has a surprising amount of variety and versatility, you only really see those vast differences among music that’s strikingly different. So, if you have a rap song and a power ballad, chances are you’ll come up with two vastly different levels, but if you’re only going to play guitar heavy rock songs, you might be playing levels that look very much so the same.
Additionally, it seems like it doesn’t take into consideration the shifts between songs from soft to loud, or from one part of it to another. In songs where there’s a buildup to a huge climax, you should expect things to get crazier and crazier until it’s full blown chaos, but not with 1…2…3…KICK IT!. I just played a level based on Lightning Bolt’s “Dracula Mountain”, where the song is one big buildup to a crazy fuzzed-out guitar and drum orgy, and the easiest portion of the song was during said aural orgy. There were barely any blocks to kiss; I was pretty much falling in a wide open space. Compare that to just moments before, when I was in a narrow pulsing corridor that resembled a mechanical vagina full of beams and column; at that point there wasn’t much going on in the music beyond cymbals and distorted vocals. On top of that, there seems to be a time limit to these songs; any tracks lasting more than 5 minutes or so were automatically cut off.
All that said, it’s a fun game nonetheless. There’s just something deeply satisfying about playing games crafted by your own hobbies that always manages to hook me, and this was no exception. Even with the lack in variation, this was still a “just one more track” situation, the same kind of predicament that led me to late nights of nothing but Beat Hazard. The surrounding structures that strobe to the beat of the song are hypnotizing, and I’m pretty much convinced that’s the reason why I kept on playing 1…2…3…KICK IT!.
Ultimately, this is still just an alpha build, and in that sense, I’m supremely impressed at what Dejobaan has put together so far. Once they tweak the audio transcription software, add a few more levels, and fix a couple minor UI issues, they’ll have another hit on their hands. You can try the alpha build by pre-ordering 1…2…3…KICK IT! from Dejobaan’s page. If you liked Aaaaa!, recommending this one would be a no-brainer. No set date on when this comes out, but they’ve said sometime this year.