Funky 1990s Sokoban/Strategy Mashup Backbeat is Now on Xbox
This is my second title launching on Xbox and it’s really cool to see how much our company has grown since Hexagroove: Tactical DJ in 2020. The first time around was a great experience but there was so much more I wanted make more accessible and inviting. In Backbeat we designed the interface from the […]
- Backbeat is now available for purchase on Xbox
- Experience a fresh mashup of the puzzle and strategy genres
- Relive a homage to classic 1990s ensemble dramedies
This is my second title launching on Xbox and it’s really cool to see how much our company has grown since Hexagroove: Tactical DJ in 2020. The first time around was a great experience but there was so much more I wanted make more accessible and inviting. In Backbeat we designed the interface from the ground up for 4K and scalable across all members of the Xbox device family. The games we design at Ichigoichie are built on mashing up genres and deriving our gameplay mechanics from musical theory. This was at times a little overwhelming in Hexagroove, so I worked hard to portion out new mechanics in Backbeat through a much broader portion of the game. So much in fact you’ll still be learning new tricks more than three quarters through the main campaign!
Backbeat is at first glance a turn-based sokoban puzzle game. You have a band of up to four characters and must get them all to the goal within a limited number of turns. Each character moves differently presenting unique challenges. After some levels we introduce time mechanics to the mix, and you’ll need to synchronize each character’s timeline with the others, working together to unblock obstacles on the path to the goal. Finally, we add four shared resources you must manage while navigating space and time. Which turns you choose to change direction or interact with the environment cause these resources to increase or decrease. Maximize the resources and you get a high score. Run out of resources, and you’re in a failure state. Fortunately, rewinding the turns of each character individually is possible to allow incremental improvements to your puzzle solutions.
One thing I wanted to add to Backbeat was a story to motivate your choices and set the stakes. The setting is 1995 in suburban Washington, D.C. and has a lot of callouts to the last days of the analog era before the advent of the internet. The narrative is a homage to ensemble 90s dramedies like “With Honors”, “The Commitments”, and “School of Rock”. Heroine Watts is doing her best to hold together a band of amateur funk musicians and contending with all the struggles of collaborative creation: inflated egos, clashing personality types, and external responsibilities to work and family. A diverse cast of characters exists in each of the two main bands, and I hope you can find one that speaks to you.
If you’re a fan of puzzle games, turn-based strategy, or story-rich retro experiences, then I think there’s something for you to appreciate, and many more novel features to discover. Start with the free demo of Backbeat and I hope you have some funky fun!
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