BPM: Bullets Per Minute is described as a rhythm-action FPS rogue-like. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant at first either so let me explain.
If you’ve played any rogue-likes before you will be familiar with the randomness of each attempt to get to the final boss. Each try contains a different dungeon layout. Within that random layout each room contains a random assortment of enemies, shops, chests, stat and ability and health pickups, level modifiers and secrets, of which there are quite a few. On top of that is the rhythm-action mechanics meaning you can only shoot in time with the music and Awe Interactive have provided a great rock soundtrack which brings the whole game together quite nicely.
Even though I’ve played my share of rogue-likes this seemed like a lot to take in and at first I felt like things weren’t coming together. Once I got a feel for the rythm of the songs, the basic mechanics and how some of the guns operated I started having a better time and strafing around the levels tapping along in time to the beat of a heavy rock track was so very satisfying.
Initially BPM doesn’t seem to quite have the depth that other rogue-likes do. It took me a fair amount of time to even unlock my second character and upgrading the shops (through multiple purchases) seemed to take longer than it should have. With my previous experience the best thing about rogue-likes is that every run is almost completely different but after a few attempts in BPM I found myself using the same guns and buying the same items from shops with the same character. Once I’d sunk a few hours in things started to get better. There was more options at shops, which meant more weapons, more abilities and generally longer dungeon runs. This wasn’t through the randomness of the rogue-like genre though, just through time spend forcibly upgrading shops by buying guns and items that I didn’t need or want.
Aside from the main game there is also challnge mode. This mode is exactly how it sounds, you play through a dungeon with with pre-set limitations on your character. Retro Run was the first I unlocked which gave the screen a pixellated Doom-esq feel and made it very hard to see anything at all. The second I unlocked was Full Auto, which affected every gun in the game and made for some interesting change in tactics. These modes added a nice distraction between main dungeon runs but felt a little gimmicky and not something I would have spent a lot of time on.
It’s a shame that BPM is lacking in main game content because there is a thoroughly enjoyable experience here. In the first few hours of gameplay I was really enjoying myself double-jumping and strafing around enemies tapping away in time to a hard rock tune. The game looked great, the combat was enjoyable. But that only lasted so long and then repetition kicked in and I wished for more.
The Verdict – On Target
Platforms Available – PC (Console at a later date)
Platform Reviewed – PC
Please see this post for more on our scoring policy. Steam review code supplied by PR.