Alright I did not literally smash the keyboard, but I came maddeningly close to doing so while playing BIT.TRIP RUNNER (coincidentally, while playing Super Meat Boy as well, but that’s another story). Gaijin Games’ second WiiWare to PC port is incredibly addictive, gloriously pixelated and at times, incredibly tough. It’s so much fun that, well, everytime you see the end of the level and get kicked back to the start, a little part of you dies.
BIT.TRIP RUNNER is a fast paced on-rails platformer. This means that your character (Commander Video is his name) is constantly running towards the right hand side of the screen and you have to time your jumps, kicks, slides and launches with the incoming obstacles. Every action you time right will add to the chiptune music track playing in the background. Running in to or jumping on to giant plus signs increases the number of musical instruments playing in the background and makes for a richer gaming experience, since everything about this game is about timing and rhythm. So I would recommend playing this with great headphones it’s a blast.
The graphics are gorgeous. Everything is retro inspired and pixelated. But there’s this certain charm for 16 bit graphics in three dimensions (or at least two and a half), wouldn’t you say? There are three different zones with twelve levels each (including one boss level per zone). Each zone has a different visual and aural esthetic attached to it kudos to the design team!
The objective of this game is to collect carefully placed gold bricks that are the sole way you can earn points in this game. The giant plus signs are score multipliers as well with each plus sign multiplying the gold bricks’ points by 10. Collecting all the gold in a level opens up a bonus level inspired by the Atari 2600 classic Pitfall. The gold in the game is kept at precarious spots and a non-ninja would bump into an obstacle if said ninja did not time the jump/kick/other-BIT.TRIP RUNNER-action properly. This results in an instant teleportation to the start of the level and resetting of all the scores no checkpoints.
Yes, no checkpoints. If you were this close to finishing the round and got hit by an obstacle, BAM! you’re back where you started. Frustrating? Yes. Annoying? After a while, very much so especially when the levels are terribly long. I get how the retro-inspired hard-as-nails trend is back with indie games these days, but for gamers looking for a short burst of gaming, some of the levels are very long and unforgiving.
In conclusion, BIT.TRIP RUNNER is an addictive and beautifully designed game and is just a few notches short (especially in the balance section) of being the BOZARKINGINSTANTRECOMMEND from Techie Buzz’s very sane gaming staff.