The Beggar’s Ride by developer BadSeed was released on iOS to little fanfare in the winter of 2015. Reminiscent of LostWinds with a narrative style similar to The Unfinished Swan, it’s hard to believe that such an expertly-crafted title has remained under the radar for so long. The Beggar’s Ride is an absolute pleasure to play, and despite its short length and occasionally confusing puzzle design, it’s undeniably a must-play experience for any iOS gamer.
Graphically, BadSeed keeps things clean, working primarily with simple textures and vivid colors, hearkening back to visuals from the N64 platformer era, albeit with more polygons. While stark and muted colors have become popular in 2D platformers since the release of LIMBO, The Beggar’s Ride isn’t afraid to play with a rainbow-palette, much to its benefit. Vivid yellows, greens and purples are in abundance here, along with some creative shadow effects, as well.
The game’s tap controls are tricky to master, but thankfully, the developers have included a virtual-joystick option. For the most part, the joystick is accurate and effective, but trickier platforming sections can become extremely difficult due to the Beggar’s inability to fall straight down after an angled jump. After some experimentation, each platforming section is completely manageable, but tighter joystick controls would certainly have improved my own experience with the game. Control issues aside, where The Beggar’s Ride truly shines is in its puzzle gameplay. Throughout the course of the game, you’ll discover various masks, which grant the Beggar power over glowing objects, gravity, as well as the sun and the moon. For the most part, these puzzles are well-designed and intelligent, with a reasonable learning curve. However, the game’s last level is much more difficult than the first 90% of the game, which might hinder the player’s excitement leading up to the storyline’s end. Thankfully, these frustrations are few and far between.
The Beggar’s Ride boasts a stellar soundtrack, which morphs ever-so-slightly from level to level. Adding to the atmosphere, the game’s narrative is handled excellently. Text hovers in physical space instead of a traditional overlay, telling the tale of the titular Beggar, with particularly important parts of the story voiced by a narrator. These spoken-word portions are well-voiced and highly atmospheric, and while the story isn’t groundbreaking in depth or intrigue, it does an excellent job of setting the game’s tone.
The Beggar’s Ride is only a 3-4 hour experience, but it’s fantastic while it lasts. The platforming is generally entertaining, the puzzles are creative and satisfying, and the narrative, atmosphere and sound design are truly well-done. Games with this level of detail and care are few and far between, and at its current cost of $3.99, it’s certainly worth the purchase for any gamer looking for a high-quality puzzle-platforming experience.