Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bit Trip Runner downloaded, reminds me of Master Higgens

The very first thing I thought when I started playing Bit Trip Runner (800 Wii points) was my speed run memories of Adventure Island. I don't think many people realized how well designed the levels were to a point where players can just run through the level non-stop and cleverly jump, dodge, and attack enemies in a precise and consistent pace.

Bit Trip Runner, on the other hand, has your character already constantly running, so all you have to do on your end is jump, duck, and kick your way through their very-addicting levels.

I've only played through the first world and boss, and halfway through the second world, and I'm quite addicted. However, I must the game credit for that addiction, seeing that they'll automatically start the next level after every level completion. In addition to the constant level barrage, your character gets reset back to the beginning of the level if you screw up, without missing a beat. There is no extra lives to hoard, no powerups to obtain - you either pass the level, or you don't. There's not even any real interface or tutorial in the game; you just simply play.

The only items you pick up are either gold or these plus-shaped icons that not only improve your score but give you a rainbow streak when you collect all 4. And when you collect all the gold in a level, you're treated to a bonus level done in the familiar style of Pitfall, from which they drew a lot of inspiration. The bonus game even had a grainy filter and familiar static hiss that's reminiscent of all classic Atari 2600 games.

Sound is a strong presence in the game, performing on cue with all your gameplay actions. I found myself almost immediately bobbing my head to the beat, making the already-challenging game that much harder to enjoy and rock out to at the same time. The rhythmic beats also serve as audio cues that accompany the gameplay very smoothly. I was slowly becoming more concerned about not disrupting the beat rather than trying to finish the level, as ironic as it sounds. There were a couple of moments when I considered not picking up all the gold, to just complete the level without getting scathed. But doing just that would defeat the game's audio purpose, and would just give me bland beats.

Finally, the inclusion of ANAMANAgUCHI to Bit Trip Runner is simply awesome (If you ever get a chance to check them out in concert, please do so!). My only disappointment was that it's only used in the intro and end credits and nowhere in the game itself. At least the songs they used (Blackout City as the intro, Mermaid in the credits) were appropriate choices.

Probably the only gripe I've had with this game so far is that on some levels the colors are so vibrant that it's sometimes hard to distinguish the objects you need to dodge. Other than that, Bit Trip Runner is a glorious time-sink that is worth your time and Wii points...I highly recommend it.
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