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Game Info:

Beeftacular
Released: Month day, year
Developed By: Retrific
Published By: Black Shell Media
Released: August 26, 2016
Available On: Windows
Genre: Action platformer
ESRB Rating: N/A
Number of Players: 1
Price: $2.99

*Advertising disclosure* Though Black Shell Media is a former advertising partner, this review is not influenced by that relationship.

Thanks to Black Shell Media for the review key!

Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness. Consuming rotten meat is even less advised – it’s more suited to disposal. Join a raw chunk of beef on its quest to remove the spoiled cuts and answer that age-old question: how do you like your steak?

Not to be confused with another meat-related platformer, Beeftacular tasks you with guiding a living cube of beef around a progressively more complex series of mazes and obstacle courses to eliminate all the rotten meat within. Along with a standard double jump and wall jump, you have two means of attack: a short-range melee slash that pushes you back a bit and three spears. The latter fly in a straight line, though drop off after hitting a rotten beef chunk, and can be picked up again after use. In general, at least on the “experienced” difficulty, you have ten seconds to accomplish this, though a few levels will give you more – though rarely more than you need.

Beeftacular
Highlights:

Strong Points: Fast-paced, decently varied gameplay; level creator with Steam Workshop support
Weak Points: Clunky, sluggish menus; no way to preview a level; some stability issues
Moral Warnings: Bloody meat trails and violence against sentient beef (though it can be somewhat disabled); mild language (d*mn) in a Steam trading card

The levels start off rather simple, with a few enemies crammed into a tiny space, but soon get rather complex. By the end, you’ll contend with sprawling mazes filled with portals, jump pads, spikes, lasers, crossbow turrets, and crumbling platforms. Expect to die, and die often – though restarting stages happens near-instantaneously, and can be done at any point. Completing a stage presents you with your time and a host of other stats, most prominent being your position on the online leaderboards. That’s where the meat of the game lies: while the ninety levels will take you a good two hours to beat, re-running stages for the best time is actively encouraged. There’s also a full-fledged, easy-to-use level creator where you can make your own courses and share them through Steam Workshop; as of this writing, there are around 150 player-made levels, further adding to Beeftacular’s longevity.

In-game, Beeftacular runs quite smoothly, keeping the fast-paced atmosphere – I did experience two crashes, one to desktop and one a frozen black screen, but these were isolated events. Your beef cube controls well enough, if a bit floaty, with both keyboard and controller options available. Both control options are fully re-bindable as well, so while the default keyboard layout commits the cardinal platforming sin of “press up to jump,” you’re not stuck with it.

In the menus, however, all momentum ceases. Booting up the game forces you to sit through about ten seconds of unskippable developer and game logo animations. The menus themselves, upon making a selection, go through a lengthy process of closing the dialogue box, swiping it off the screen, and opening a new one, making simple option toggling a chore. There’s no way to preview a level outside of the low-resolution grayscale outline on the stage select screen, so you’ll have to fly blind for the most part. You also can’t return to the level select screen from the game itself; you either advance to the next stage, restart the current one, or return to the title screen and sit through the opening animations again. While these quality-of-life issues don’t directly affect the gameplay – aside from the missing level preview option, since it makes route planning near impossible – it bogs down the experience as a whole.

Beeftacular
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 93%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 9/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The presentation works as well as it has to. The stages themselves are rather bland gray, with breakable walls and weak floors having differing shades, but that’s mostly to let your beef cube paint it with red as it moves about – every surface it touches gets coated in raw beef juice, letting you see where you’ve gone throughout your attempts at the level. While not graphically impressive, the visual design lets all important bits of the level stand out, making hazards obvious at a mere glance. The sound effects work well here too, with the whoosh of crossbow bolts and the hum of lasers standing out clearly against the wet squelching of the beef’s movement. The soundtrack only boasts two songs, one for the menus and one for the stages, but both are oddly catchy and don’t distract from the gameplay.

Morality-wise, the whole game revolves around blood and violence, though it’s closer to a prep kitchen than a crime scene. Stages do get extremely messy, and both types of beef leave a puddle on death. To its credit, Beeftacular come with a “sponge” skin, which changes the player beef to a sponge and the rotten meat to paint cans, turning the violence into a colorful game of “kick the can” instead. While in-game dialogue is both sparse and clean, an unlockable Steam trading card contains the description “That d*mn laser!”

While marred by some quality-of-life issues, Beeftacular is a solid time attack platformer game. The lack of a detailed level preview hurts both casual play and its speedrunning nature, but the wealth and variety of stages, both official and player-made, give it plenty of content. Currently sitting at only $2.99, Beeftacular is a choice cut.

-Cadogan

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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