Bit.Trip Runner Review
Bit.Trip Runner box art
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.

Bit.Trip Runner screenshot

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.

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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.

By Tony Capri
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.5
Graphics
The presentation and vibe are full of life and enjoyment, in spite of the engine not being a technical marvel.
4.5
Control
Simple, well-matched, and satisfying. The game gets crazy difficult, forcing lots and lots of repetition.
4.9
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is often inspirational in a profound way, and the sound effects are sure to lull old-school gamers into a state of arcade bliss.
4.5

Play Value
There's a lot of gameplay crammed into this $8 package, and it's something every Wii owner should experience. I was saddened to see the developers opt for a straight-up, challenge-based approach, rather than fully explore the high road the game seemed to be heading in. Regardless, Bit.Trip Runner is still an amazing game.

4.5
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Rhythm-based Action Platforming!
  • Boss Battles Against Robotic Terrors!
  • 50+ Challenges!


  • Screenshots / Images
    Bit.Trip Runner screenshot - click to enlarge Bit.Trip Runner screenshot - click to enlarge Bit.Trip Runner screenshot - click to enlarge Bit.Trip Runner screenshot - click to enlarge

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