|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Gaijin Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Aksys Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 17, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Setting the argument of difficulty aside for a moment, the gameplay itself is masterful. In spite of my personal feelings on the matter, it's impossible to ignore the genius and attention to detail that obviously went into the making of this game. Though I would have preferred to have Runner stay on a path of gaming enlightenment, what the developers opted for is still completely top shelf. The controls are simple, intuitive, and feel great. The movement of Commander Video and the actions you're forced to input are timed perfectly with the music, and each level comes together to form its own unique adventure.
I'd be remiss to not mention the bosses too. That first boss took me an estimated 50 tries (not an exaggeration) to finally beat, but the cleverness that went into the design was just off the charts. These are the guys SEGA should be considering to take the helm of their prized Sonic franchise.
One last caveat, and then I'll move on: if you hit anything along the way, it's back to the beginning of the level. Most of the early levels for each zone are relatively short, but if constant repetition isn't your thing, keep that in mind before going into Bit.Trip Runner. After the first zone, the game becomes a much better fit for party play.
For such a small team and tiny budget, Gaijin Games breathes big things into Bit.Trip Runner. Each zone opens with a great, little sequence featuring Commander Video, and the art style is simply amazing, especially for the first zone. From a strictly technical standpoint, the visuals are about on par with Blastworks (Wii), and the game isn't swimming in detail. The vibe and construction, though, make Bit.Trip Runner easily one of the best looking games on the WiiWare platform.
Tying everything together are the sound and music. You're essentially getting one song per zone, but the different mixes, cadences, and performances are at the heart of Bit.Trip Runner's story. Remember how I told you the game did, indeed, have a story? Well, the soundscapes truly do make up the adventure. Regardless of your reaction to the game's level of difficulty, you'll be taken on a journey that is full of emotion and character. Each beat and blast meshes magically with visuals that are constantly bursting onscreen. Though the game will likely frustrate in many places, it will also surely inspire.
We're not sure just what's in store for Commander Video. He's an interesting hero who has every right to rule the WiiWare platform. While other games focus on bright lights and dazzling trickery, Gaijin Games have pored over what it takes to truly grip gamers with something meaningful. Bit.Trip Runner offers a glimpse at something amazing, but it then settles into being merely great. (Terrible, I know ) Of course, I still absolutely adore the game, and I'm contemplating following Gaijin Games around the country like a Deadhead.
In all seriousness, I do hope this isn't the end for the Bit.Trip series. These guys are onto something special, and I hope their ideas can eventually reach full bloom. Until that time, Bit.Trip Runner pulls out ahead of the competition to give fans more great gameplay at a ridiculously low price.
CCC Freelance Writer