I have to admit, I haven’t played the first game in this franchise, and apparently, Slaps and Beans 2 follows directly on from the first Slaps and Beans. That means you start in medias res, lost somewhere in Africa with a meager supply of beans to keep the main characters fed. The two main characters in the Slaps and Beans series are Bud Spencer, also known as Carlo Pedersoli, and Terence Hill, born Mario Girotti, and they are actually well-known Spaghetti Western stars specializing in action films. This series immortalizes these character actors even further. If ridiculous side-scrolling brawlers with a retro feel are your jam, believe me, you’ll be in heaven with Slaps and Beans 2.
I feel like my introduction gives away the gist of the plot, but wait, this is an action flick. Bud and Terrence are, while trying to make their escape from Africa, embroiled in a race to save the world that would make the Austin Powers writers jealous for the level of ridiculousness. I say this with nothing but affection. It also features what is possibly my favorite line of any video game I’ve ever played to date, but I can’t share as it gives away the ending. Just trust me that you’ll know it when you get there.
Slaps and Beans 2 features three difficulty modes: easy, normal, and hard, and while the title is more than playable solo, it definitely begs for a co-op. If you play on your own, the title allows you to switch between Bud Spencer and Terrence Hill on demand, which is pretty key because as expected, the characters have different abilities and skill sets. For example, Bud is stronger and can just destroy crates on demand while Terrence is more agile. I don’t really want to say there are puzzles in Slaps and Beans 2, because that’s not really the point, but there are situations where one character’s abilities fit better than the other’s if you want to make it across the room.
As a brawler, the combat system in Slaps and Beans 2 is the major driver for gameplay experience, and in this, it really channels a retro arcade feel for me. You’re going to be doing a great deal of button mashing, and that’s actually a good thing because it hearkens back to beating on the arcade cabinet buttons. Slaps and Beans 2 also leans into the ridiculousness really hard; Bud Spencer spends a not inconsiderable amount of time throwing enemies into each other. Expect the silliness and slap buttons until you get there.
For a brawler, though, Slaps and Beans 2 spends a fair bit of time developing its actual story. You start, as previously mentioned in Africa, where these characters become embroiled in a dispute between villagers and criminals before shifting into the next chapter, which presents even bigger and crazier villains and plotlines. Slaps and Beans 2 does offer a logical throughline, getting the main characters from one story beat to the next, but you need to be aware the ridiculousness is the point. Slaps and Beans 2 focuses on slapstick comedy; it’s there in the title. Note, the beans are also present as a power up.
In terms of overall experience, Slaps and Beans 2 has been well crafted. The pixelated graphics lean into the retro feel as does the characters’ constant bouncing. The voice acting is very flat, but honestly, I think that’s on purpose. I’m not terribly familiar with Spaghetti Westerns, but the voices fit what I think the films would sound like. However, far and away, my favorite thing about Slaps and Beans 2 is the music. It’s thematically appropriate, varied, and just fun, and frankly, we could all do with a bit more fun.
Slaps and Beans 2 is a loving homage to the Spaghetti Western with a spy movie twist, but you don’t need to be familiar with the genre to enjoy this. I’m absolutely certain I missed scores of easter eggs and gags, but it is still great entertainment even without that knowledge. Slaps and Beans 2 is an exercise in unabashed fun.
Stray Thoughts From Behind the Keyboard
- Y’all, there is an entire battle that takes place under a rain of balloons because why not.
- There are also aliens. Because of course there are.
- So many bananas. For reasons.
- In case you wondered, you can weaponize leeks and not just by cooking them badly.