Review: BPM:Bullets Per Minute
Every now and then you play a game and realise you’ve just experienced something totally unique. As a gamer of nearly 40 years, this doesn’t happen very often so when it does, you have to savour the moment. I had one of those moments playing BPM: Bullets Per Minutes, so let me tell you why.
On the face of it, BPM is a first-person shooter like any other, and looks similar to the style of the latest Doom reboot. I settled down with my controller ready to face off against evil demons armed only with a pistol. You play as a Valkyrie fighting the hordes of the underworld as they try to invade Asgard.
As I started to play, I learned very quickly you cannot fire your weapon indiscriminately spraying bullets everywhere. In the middle of the screen is a beat counter, and all of your actions are tied to the beat of the soundtrack. This includes jumping, shooting your gun, and reloading. As you can imagine this took a little bit of getting used to, and panic started to set in when I couldn’t reload my gun without timing it to the beat of the music.
The music is a pounding rock opera which was right up my alley. I’m a big fan of rock music anyway, so making it an integral part of the gameplay is a brilliant move on the part of the developers. After many deaths I started to get into the flow of the gameplay, and pretty soon my shots and reloads were in total sync to the beat, and it felt amazing!
The levels in BPM are randomly generated, but there is a handy map in the corner of the screen which helps you keep track of where treasure chests are, as well as the end of level boss. Exploration is key to help you collect coins which provide upgrades for your character, such as extra speed and more damage.
The standard enemies you face don’t cause you much trouble as long as you keep moving. Stand still and you die very quickly. Strafing is critically important if you want to get anywhere in BPM. To help you achieve this, you have a dash move, but again, you cannot use this constantly as it has a cool down timer. Although you have a few health bars, it doesn’t take much before you are killed and have to restart the level. However, as I explained earlier each dungeon is different, so you never replay the same level which helps to keep you on your toes.
As I mentioned, there are boss battles which you can face at any time depending on where they spawn in the level. I’ve fought a boss after checking two rooms because I wanted to practice taking him on after I died a few times before. Once I learned the pattern to defeat him using my newly developed skills, I felt like a god! When I found a shotgun and continued to upgrade my character, I found myself in a zen state where music and mayhem went hand in hand, and it was epic!
To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether I would like BPM because it is extremely challenging and very fast. I died a lot and I had to shake off the traditional first-person shooter mechanics which I have been using for many years. But after about 10 minutes to acclimatise myself to the new system, I was all in and the term “one more go” couldn’t be more apt.
In 2011, Bulletstorm coined the phrase “Kill with Skill.” Let me tell you, BPM: Bullets Per Minute takes real skill, and if you’re prepared to lose yourself to the beat and throw off the shackles of conventional shooters, you will find one of the most challenging, rewarding, and unique games of 2020.
BPM: is available now for PC, and is coming soon to consoles.