Bit.Trip Runner (WiiWare) Review
Bit.Trip Runner is a pretty amazing experience that most avid WiiWare followers should probably look in to experiencing. Not only is it amazingly simplistic, but it hits all the right notes (figuratively and literally) to create a rather complete experience that draws admirable parallels to the rather famed Synaesthesia title, Rez. Despite having played the previous Bit.Trip games, Runner is without a doubt one of my favourites on the console.
Despite the game’s rather simplistic “digital” looks, the simplicity of the artistic direction highlights the fact that the developers really wanted the player to focus on one thing, the aural experience, rather than a visual experience. Your character animates almost prehistorically and the sparse backdrops have hardly anything happening in them. It’s something that I would usually discount as being, well, rather bland, but for some reason this minimalistic design just works, somehow. During the more intense sections of the gameplay, where more varied colours enter the fray, Bit.Trip Runner looks quite amazing and is a sight to behold.
Bit.Trip Runner is a rather simplistic title that is split into several levels in similar fashion to the older Mario games. That is, several large levels comprising of quite a few smaller stages. Each level is essentially on-rails, and your “Runner” runs from left to right, and must navigate past several obstacles in order to reach the finish line. The Runner can jump, slide, crouch and kick through obstacles, and each action has a different “sound” attached to it that moves the music along appropriately. Towards the later levels, this gameplay mechanic that lets the players craft the music is really well done, as several succesful actions will string together a bunch of noises that will create a rather catchy tune. This method of using the player to “conduct” the action is quite similar to other rhythm action games like Rez, Vib Ribbon and Frequency, and even does it much better in some cases.
As I’ve said, Bit.Trip Runner is quite an aurally-focused game, and as such the soundtrack does not disappoint. Despite having a soundtrack that lacks any pre-composed pieces, the musical numbers players will be putting together just by playing the game are complex and amazingly well suited to the gameplay. It truly is a case where less is more.
Having at least ten worlds with at least nine levels in each, there are quite a few things to do in Bit.Trip Runner. Despite this, the gameplay is quite simplistic and may not hold the attention of some players for longer than one or two hours. Still, the content is there and the gameplay is more than intriguing enough to cause some players to persevere. It’s more of a case of taste.
Bit.Trip Runner is a solid rhythm action title that is well worth the 800 Points it costs on the Nintendo Wii Shop. It delivers a simple, yet well designed gameplay mechanic that easily eclipses any of the previous Bit.Trip games. Those who aren’t as musically minded or aren’t all that into rhythm-based games might want to look elsewhere for their bite- sized WiiWare fix, though.
Developer: Gaijin Games
Previously: Bit.Trip Void, Bit.Trip Core, Bit.Trip Beat
Control: Wii Remote
Cost: 800 Wii Points
Blocks Used: 319