Things You Might Like
- Chiptune Soundtrack
- “Running” style games
- Retro Graphical Style with some modern polish
- PC/MAC Compatible
Things You Might Not Like
- Simple gameplay
- Occasionally bothersome input problems
- Retro Graphics/Music
BIT.TRIP RUNNER has charm and simple, but demanding gameplay that will both entertain and enrage you.
4 out of 5 Bits Tripped
<BIT.TRIP RUNNER is the latest in a series of BIT.TRIP games from Gaijin Games that run the gammut from shooter to puzzles to…whatever genre this is. I think Rhythm/Music applied here. Anyway, in this installment, you reprise your role as Captain Video, a man from outer space who goes on the trippiest adventures evar. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to run across the surface of a myriad of locations (including the Moon!) in your quest to find your friends and defeat an evil boss. As storylines go, not the best one we’ve seen. However, the actual game more than makes up for this.
As soon as you boot up BIT.TRIP RUNNER on your Mac or PC, you’ll notice the pure retro style at work here. I don’t just mean the graphics, though they are beautiful in that classic Atari/NES kind of way. The soundtrack is an incredibly fun chiptune affair with additions from your character as you play the game! Anyone who has played Lumines for the PSP knows what I’m talking about. Little blips and bleeps accent the very enjoyable soundtrack as your character jumps, kicks, and slides through the roughly 50 levels.
The level design is pretty straightforward. You start at one end of a level dash through until the end. There’s a sort of 2.5D look to BIT.TRIP RUNNER that I really enjoy. While you only really move left to right, there are enemies and background effects that will pop out to the foreground to keep you on your toes. You’ll face a variety of obstacles as you make your way throughout the game and be forced to deal with them in one of the methods I mentioned above. It is important to note that like any good ‘runner’ game (I’m looking at you Canabalt), you player never stops. Ever. This is what lends the challenge here. Think of the Atari classic Pitfall, but if you could never stop and were forced to use the moves at your disposal to make your way through. In fact, one of the bonus levels actually looks just like Pitfall.
Despite how great this game is, there is a flaw that stands out. Well, maybe not so much of a flaw as a ridiculous demand. BIT.TRIP RUNNER demands almost perfect execution in your controls, which can get a little frustrating. It reminds me a lot of playing as Arthur in CAPCOM’s Super Ghouls and Ghosts. Controlling Captain Video is an unforgiving experience that requires precision, and it will take some practice to get there. More than once, you’ll be tempted to through the keyboard/laptop in anger. This will not help you.
BIT.TRIP RUNNER is a great example of a simple concept executed exceptionally well. Though it’s not without some frustrations, the bulk of the game is great fun for just about anyone.