The Bit.Trip series on Nintendo’s WiiWare service continues to gain momentum as they have created more and more twists on classic gaming. The fourth installment, Bit.Trip Runner, is an old school, 8-bit style platformer that lets you create the music, while still immersing you in the old style of gameplay that it sticks to. However, it also has some of the same problems as old school style platformers.
The gameplay of Bit.Trip Runner is about as simple as you can get in this day and age. You are constantly running, with no direct control over your character and all you can do is jump over obstacles, kick obstacles, and slide under obstacles or spring over obstacles. Whatever way you do it, there is something that is constantly in the way of Commander Video, and you have to avoid it. Other than those things, there is not much to do in each level, except collect the gold scattered about.
If you manage to collect all the gold in the level, you will unlock a bonus level, which is simply to increase your overall score. However, with how long some of the later stages are, and the amount of complexity to them, I often missed many of the gold pieces, simply because I was trying to get through a level. I like the gameplay as a whole, and it really is inspired by the era of 8-bit, and is very impressive.
The only real problem that I have with the game is the lack of checkpoints. Now, I know most of the major following of these games are old school gamers, and I’m sure to most of you not having a half way checkpoint in a level is not that big of a deal. My main problem even when you think you are doing everything right, one wrong move will have to pushed back to start position. It can just be downright frustrating. I understand the concept that the developers were going for, but I can’t help but crave a checkpoint to make the gameplay more enjoyable overall.
Now, the graphics and music are superb on almost every level, and I found them to be the most enjoyable part of the game. The graphics look to be an old game renewed to current standards, and the concept that you create music by every jump or slide that you do is also a nice touch, and really immerses you in a fun experience, as well as makes for beautiful music.
Overall, Bit.Trip runner is a very solid experience for an eight dollar downloadable game. Despite all of the gripes about the frustration lack of checkpoints, I still find myself wanting to push on and play more, because it is addictive, which says a lot for the old school love of this game. I may have not been around in that era, and don’t have those roots of gaming, but if you can bring the style back and make it work in 2010, you are definitely doing something right.
Review copy provided by publisher.