Buddy and Me is a very simple endless runner game that is perfect for those quiet moment in between. Easy to pick up and play, it is the ideal game for people looking for something on the go, but not quite at home on consoles.
Some games require entire encyclopedia worth of information to get to the bottom of the gameplay system, others require just a sticky note. Buddy and Me is a perfect example of the latter, but also a perfect example of how a game can fare perfectly well without the need for an intricate gameplay system.
Buddy and Me, developed by Sunbreak Games, is a game of the ‘endless runner’ type. If you’re unfamiliar with that particular subgenre, the concept is fairly simple: your player character moves forward continuously while you navigate through the environment, typically picking up bonuses that increase your score. You can’t take a break, your keep moving the entire time, ever forward. The only goal is to get as far as you can without dying or to achieve the highest possible score.
In Buddy and Me’s case, you move forward in a 2-D environment, from left to right. The stages are littered with small platforms and lots of pitfalls, and you have to avoid falling in as you move towards, well, infinity. There’s only a single button you use to play the game: the A button, which allows you to jump. Tap it twice, and you double jump. Tap it once more then hold it, and you glide. It can’t get any simpler, but that doesn’t mean the game is easy or boring.
As you navigate through the randomly generated stages, avoiding falling to your doom by using your jumping abilities at the right time, you also have to make sure you pick up as many stars as you can find during your travels. These stars are basically points, and the only goal in the game is to get the highest score you possibly can within the 2-minute time limit that is given to you. If you fall in a hole, you get to continue the game, but it takes several seconds before one of your flying bunny friends lifts you up from the abyss (Lakitu style) and places you back on track. Several seconds that you could’ve spent collecting more points, so you best avoid falling too often. The two-minute time limit can be extended in several ways, however. First, there is the time bonus upgrade you can collect throughout levels. It’s a blue star with a +10 stamped on, which gives you – you guessed it – 10 seconds extra on the timer. Ten seconds isn’t a whole lot, and you rarely find these, so the more reliable way to really get some extra time is by collecting flying bunnies that you find throughout the level – the very same ones that save you as you fall down. These critters award you five seconds for each one you’ve found every time you reach a checkpoint, but only once. These checkpoints don’t mean anything other than providing you with a short break and some extra time (if you’ve collected any bunnies since the previous one): they don’t act as respawn points or something of the like, and you can’t continue the game from there if you decide to quit.
Other upgrades include a speed bonus (green star) that will make you move faster so you can use the time given to you more efficiently (definitely very welcome), and a multiplier star (a star with a x2 on it) that temporarily makes it so that every star is worth two stars, so you can rack up more points faster.
At various points throughout a game of Buddy and Me, you will get to ride the eponymous Buddy – a yellow furry dragon of sorts, that reminds me of a cutesy version of Falkor from the Neverending Story. While you are on Falkor, you don’t have to jump: instead, you can steer up and down using the directional pad, making for a change of pace. In these sections, time freezes and you have a chance to score a lot of extra points, as well as some extra time if you can collect some blue Time stars. Sometimes there are multiplier stars during these sections as well – be sure to collect these for an easy extra 200+ points.
Collected points are added to a grand total after each ‘dream’ (that is what a single game is called), and can be used to collect new backdrops based on the seasons, as well as to buy an upgrade at the start of a run. These upgrades grant more time, more speed or make you collect stars easier for a single game, but cost a set amount of stars that is detracted from your total. The game’s presentation fits the simplicity of its gameplay, with nice but repetitive music and very cute, cartoon style graphics.
Since the levels are different every single time you play, you never know what you’re going to get and the game’s a new challenge every time, greatly increasing the immense replayability level this game provides.
Other than that, Buddy and Me doesn’t have any other game modes or secrets. It’s a pretty basic game, but it is definitely entertaining and well made. It’s not something you play for hours on end, but rather a fun game to play every now and then, inbetween other games are when you are on the go. That is why the game feels a bit odd on the Wii U (the version that was used for this review). It’s not something you would sit down for and play on your tv. Buddy and Me is much, much more at home on portable devices and serves as an ideal game to play while traveling, at the beach in a quiet moment or when you’re outside in the summer taking a break.