You might not have heard of the BIT.TRIP series of games if you?ve not been too adventurous with Nintendo?s WiiWare offering. And it?s a crying shame too, because Gaijin Games has developed a number of retro-inspired arcade jaunts that have proven to be insanely absorbing experiences. But you don?t have to worry about living in ignorance anymore, because Rising Star has released a disc-based compilation called BIT.TRIP Complete.
And it?s a pretty decent package too, sporting a minimalistic presentation that allows players to easily run through the series? six games with ease. Beat
all present different gameplay experiences, but are all threaded by an underlying story - that of Commander Video, an inter-dimensional superhero that slowly learns about the intricacies and fallacies of life.
Each game starts with a brief introduction video that shows the evolution of Commander Video?s journey in some abstract and arty way. After that though, you?re thrown immediately into the action - some implementing the motion controls of the Wii Remote, and others requiring the Nunchuk. All of the six BIT.TRIP
games are rooted in rhythm, however. Staying on top of the beat is crucial to success.
The first game in the series, BIT.TRIP Beat
, plays a lot like a jazzy version of one-man Pong
. Dots come flying towards the left side of the screen, and you must tilt the Wii Remote backwards and forwards to roll your bat up and down in order to bounce these dots back. Sounds incredibly simple, except there are many different pixel patterns and obstacles that get thrown your way.
Almost every other game in the series presents a different type of play challenge. Core
uses the D-pad and 2 button to aim and shoot pixels flying from four directions on a static screen. Void
offers full control of a black circle, with the objective being to collect black dots and avoid white ones. Runner
is a platformer that tasks you with ensuring Commander Video times his jumps to avoid obstacles, and Fate
is a side-scrolling shooter that restricts the player to moving along a dynamic waveform. BIT.TRIP Flux
, the very last game in the saga, is the only game that repeats an experience, taking things full-circle and remixing the Pong-style elements of Beat
Graphically, none of these games appear to tax the Wii hardware, but that?s not to say that it isn?t utterly wonderful to look at. Staying true to 8-bit philosophies, you?ll find that pretty much every BIT.TRIP
adventure is decorated in big, chunky pixels. Commander Video himself is nothing more than a blown-up sprite that wouldn?t look out of place in an early Commodore 64 game.
Where the game grabs you visually is in its 3D backgrounds and crazy-looking enemies, all in iridescent colours. The sheer psychedelia in each game, along with the dot-dot-dot rhythm that forms the soundtrack works to entrance you. Couple this with the overly-simplistic nature of the controls countered by the gripping level design and you have six games that are easy to get into, but difficult to pull yourself away from.
Perhaps the best thing about BIT.TRIP Complete
is in the extras. It?s easy enough to just throw in a bunch of games that have previously been released onto a disc. Gaijin has taken that little extra step, offering special challenge modes for each of the six BIT.TRIP
titles, online leaderboards, added difficulty settings and a bunch of unlockable content.
The content comes in the form of a gallery that houses concept art, video and music tracks. There?s even a nice little description from Gaijin for every release, and makes you think about the thought processes of the developers that you wouldn?t have realised by simply playing the games. On their own, the BIT.TRIP
adventures are simply mesmerising. But BIT.TRIP Complete
is a fantastic compilation of titles that absolutely deserve your attention.
Utterly addictive gameplay
Tonnes of additional challenges and content
Some framerate slowdown in places
SPOnG Score: 8/10