Review – BPM: Bullets Per Minute (Switch)
BPM: Bullets Per Minute was originally releases on Steam a bit over two years ago. Around its one-year anniversary, the game saw its first release on consoles, namely Xbox and Playstation. Our own Jordan Hawes tackled this port last year, which you can read here. As what we can only assume is part of a celebration of the original game’s second anniversary, a shocking Nintendo Switch version is finally out, with owners of the handheld now being able to see how many demon bats, spiders, and everything that pops up they can take out.
For the uninitiated, BPM is a rhythm-based first-person shooter. Your goal is to shoot and reload on the beat of whatever song is being blasted through the speakers, and on higher difficulties, you can only move according to the beat as well. Think of it as a roguelike dungeon crawler where you’ll find a variety of upgrades, different guns, abilities, and equipment to make your runs easier, or harder… with the added benefit of everything being both rhythm-based and first-person shooter-based. Typical roguelike antics will occur where you’ll get absolutely robbed in a lot of games, have a few runs where you have pretty average luck, and the sporadic super overpowered run.
It was obviously mentioned that BPM is rhythm-based, the game uses a variety of homemade metal tracks. Two years ago the music may have been neat to see in a game, and especially seeing an indie game using its own metal songs. Around the same time as BPM releasing originally though, Doom Eternal came out and incorporated a lot of similar musical talent. That, of course, had a much larger budget, and wasn’t rhythm-based, even though you nearly started to move according to the beat out of stimulation.
More recently though, this particular port of BPM is releasing alongside another rhythm metal game, Metal: Hellsinger. Big respect to any games risking alienating a player base by using music that doesn’t exactly have casual fans, but the music in BPM feels very lethargic in comparison to quite a few games that have come out since. Granted, Metal: Hellsinger isn’t available on the Switch, and it probably never will, but the point stands.
While BPM does feel pretty good, considering the vast control and performance limitations imposed by the Switch’s hardware, it doesn’t look good. If the Xbox port of BPM didn’t do the game any favours, you cannot imagine the same happening on the Switch. It’s ugly. Now, it is kind of to be expected that games simply won’t look as good on Switch; everyone knows the jokes at this point, but there are some things that look particularly bad.
The first boss’s area-of-effect attack is a big one, the blast of light that goes across the side of the screen looking incredibly clunky, and at a distance enemies can be incredibly hard to make out. That’s really an issue whenever an enemy has some form of ranged attack, whether it is something to dodge or jump over, and suddenly you’re taking damage from who knows where.
One big thing that’s fun in BPM is the run variety. Each run has different modifiers. There’s a retro modifier, which on switch you really do not want, it does not work with the already difficult graphics. Modifiers that cause enemies to explode when defeated, low gravity mods, lots of variety. Plus challenge runs that simply challenge your speed at finishing with set rules.
It’s seriously not as if BPM is a bad game. Since its release, so many other games have come out doing roughly the same thing, but building upon it. It runs well on Switch, but definitely is hindered by the limitations of the system, especially in handheld mode. That definitely doesn’t mean don’t play it, because it is easy to pick up and play for one or two runs, and pick up to play on a daily basis. It’s the perfect style game for the Switch, it just needs a little bit of tweaking in order to be fully enjoyed. Or you can just crank upthe brightness on your end…
BPM already wasn’t one of the better looking games. Add to that the limitations of the Nintendo Switch and you have a recipe for disaster.
Save for the fact that first-person shooters are already hard enough to play on Switch, BPM plays pretty decently. Controls are responsive and luckily, being able to calibrate the sound helps a lot with lining up notes.
Any game that wants to be primarily metal wins points with me already. Its such an oversaturated market at this point though that you really need to stand out from the crowd. BPM does a little, but there are simply better games for it.
Fun Factor: 7.0
BPM is a great game to simply pick up and play. Tackle it for 20-30 minutes, a run or two depending on your luck. It’s definitely not a game I found myself wanting to play for hours on end, but playing at various times instead.
Final Verdict: 7.0
BPM: Bullets Per Minute is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
A copy of BPM: Bullets Per Minute was provided by the publisher.