BPM: Bullets Per Minute review for PC, PS5, Xbox Series X

Platform: PC
Also on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One
Publisher: Playtonic Games
Developer: Awe Interactive
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

BPM: Bullets Per Minute is an incredibly unique game that I don?t know how hasn?t been a thing up until this point. The idea is so good and works so well that I?m honestly surprised it has taken this long for it to be a thing. It combines Roguelike with a Doom/Quake-ish FPS style and turns that into a rhythm game. It all comes together so much more cleanly than I had expected going in.

BPM has you shooting your way through hordes of enemies as you fight deeper and deeper through the layers of Norse mythology?s worlds. The visuals, music, and FPS handling all feel very DOOM, but where BPM differentiates itself from any other shooter is that most actions can only be performed on the beat with the background music. Shooting, reloading, and dashing are all only able to be performed either directly on a beat or on the half-beats. For those of you out there with bad rhythm, the game does supply a very helpful visual display of the running beat so that you can rely on visuals as well as audio.

Being a big fan of various rhythm games in the past, I found BPM to be most enjoyable when I turned all of the visual indicators off. Fortunately, all of the enemies? attacks are bound by the same rules as you, so evading on the beat does help to avoid attacks since they only attack on the beat themselves.

There?s a certain art to the rhythmic bobbing and weaving while throwing a shot in that makes the entire experience a good time. There are no lulls in gameplay, no real down points or filler to speak of. No grinding and short runs mean it?s great to pick up and play a round when you?re just looking to kill time and don?t want to get involved in something deeper. The boss fights are definitely a level of complexity and difficulty above the standard enemies, but even they are tied to the game?s beat, so as long as you keep on track, evading them is as easy as bobbing along. The only difference is that their attacks may have more exact evasions or counters necessary (luckily BPM gives you on-screen info about upcoming attacks that require a dodge)

BPM?s progression is pretty standard for what you may expect for a roguelike. Playing and getting deeper into a run will award you with new characters and additional options in the shops. Completing a run with a given character gives you additional abilities for that character on future runs and will often also give a whole new character. New characters get different or unique starter weapons, different HP styles, or size and speed differences. All of the characters felt unique enough to change up the style of additional runs enough to break the training you built up previously, which means keeping replayability at a high.

After many tries, I did eventually find my way to and through the final boss, and all I wanted to do was do it again. I suppose in a lot of ways, that?s just the nature of roguelike games. They often offer a near bottomless replay value thanks to the ?structured but random? structure of the format. This combined with the joy of bobbing your head along and clicking when you do so makes the experience a ton of fun and feel great. The quantity of content isn?t huge, but for $20 USD, I certainly think it is well worth the money.

Platonic Games provided us with a BPM: Bullets Per Minute PC code for review purposes.

Grade: A