It’s time for a confession – I’m an addict. For the past few days I’ve been obsessively playing a game I didn’t even know existed until last week. It’s called Bit.Trip Runner – and it’s driving me crazy.
Described as ‘rhythm based platforming’, the game sees you take control of ‘Commander Video’ who has one simple task – get from the start of the level to the finish. This sounds incredibly simple but the game is so much more.
For starters the game’s visuals are simply charming, and fans of pixel art will be in seventh heaven. It has a deliberately retro feel, but that’s not to say it’s lacking. The background is chocked full of little details designed to catch your eye and distract you.
During every level Commander Video automatically runs forward, leaving you in charge of jumping over, springing over, sliding under and kicking through enemies. The ingenious part though is how the music links to what’s happening on screen. Every level starts with a simple background beat; jumping over enemies will result in various notes being added to the beat, whilst collecting gold coins will add another layer. The best bit though is when you collect a pink power up which results in some very catchy chiptune inspired soundtracks. Check out some footage of me playing through one of the levels – sound is a must!
It’s amazingly addictive, but also incredibly hard – in fact this is hands down the hardest game I’ve played in a long time. If you hit anything in the level; be it an enemy, a wall or even the side of a step, you die instantly. That’s ok though right, because you can just start again from the checkpoint? Wrong – there are no checkpoints; if you die then it’s right back to the beginning, even if the level’s end is but a hairs length away. Suddenly levels go from simply jumping over a few obstacles to requiring the reactions of Spider-Man. A keen ear is needed too so you can keep in step with the beat. Those looking for a serious challenge on a Nintendo console look no further.
As you can tell I adore Bit.Trip Runner. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so compelled to share my opinion on a game, but it has hooked me in a way that the games of old used to. If you own a Wii – perhaps as a second console for the family – and you fancy something different, log on to WiiWare and track this game down. Legal disclaimer – I will not be held responsible for relationship breakdowns, neglect of personal hygiene and malnutrition due to the addictive nature of Bit.Trip Runner. You have been warned.