Verfasst: 17. Dezember
BIT.TRIP RUNNER, or as I like to call it "$*&% I MISSED ONE !@&#$ JUMP AT THE VERY END" is a sometimes fun but more often frustrating rhythm game. All of the elements of a great game are there, but they don't quite fall together into a cohesive package in the way that you would hope they do.
Let's talk about the gameplay first. This is simultaneously the best and worst part of this game. BIT.TRIP RUNNER is a combination of rhythm game and side-scrolling platformer, where you have to jump, kick, and slide in time with music playing in the background. The player's character, we'll call him "Bit", is programmed to automatically run to the right the whole time the game is playing. No input is required to keep moving, and you'll be glad of this because all of your attention is going to need to be focused on doing other things just to stay alive. Jumping over, sliding under, and kicking through obstacles and enemies in time with the music can be pretty fun, and the feeling of satisfication you get once you finally complete a frustrating level is great. Unfortunately, these feelings of accomplishment are few and far between due to the unforgiving nature of the game. While it may be nice to play a game that doesn't hold your hand or offer you to "Press X to Win" like so many other games these days do, it is simply too far towards the other end of the difficulty spectrum for it's own good. It doesn't matter whether you are 2 minutes from the end of a level or 2 seconds, if your timing is off by just a hair, the game punishes you by sending you back to the very beginning of the level with an unrelenting lack of mercy. This leads to many extremely frustrating moments where you have performed every nuanced movement and action seamlessly and perfectly, only to be slightly off near the end of a level, forcing you to start over. BIT.TRIP RUNNER is at it's core a game about memorization and timing, and while this is not inherently a bad thing, a little more leeway, perhaps in the form of a checkpoint or a power-up that let's you rewind time to fix your mistakes, would balance out the difficulty of this game just enough to make it not so mind-numbingly frustrating.
Now, let's talk about the music and visuals of this game. Visually, the game is extremely simple. While this is not in itself a bad thing-any look at some of the top indie games will show you a simple visual style can be both beautiful and interesting-BIT.TRIP RUNNER is really neither of those things. Levels are visually indistinguishable from one another, with the exact same obstacles, enemies, and background elements appearing over and over throughout every single one of the levels I played. Admittedly, I have not completed the game beyond the first 10 or 11 levels, and so perhaps the visual style changes after a certain point, but if this is the case then the game is still suffering from a lack of variety as I shouldn't have to beat 12+ levels just to see a change in aesthetics. There are a few visually interesting and pretty-looking elements to the design, but overall the look of the game is dull, with backgrounds and obstacles appearing in mostly purple or muted gray tones. This leads to the game being incredibly repetitive from a visual standpoint, a problem which unfortunately plagues the music of the game as well. The music itself is very nice at first listen. As a fan of chiptunes myself, I quite enjoyed it for the first few minutes of gameplay. Sadly though, the lack of variety eventually ruins any potential this game might have had in the music department. Every single level I played starts with the same exact basic rhythm as the last one. This rhythm grows and evolves as you play through the level and pick up power-ups that change it's complexity. The melody of the songs themselves comes from the player's own actions in the level. Jumping over an obstacle will produce a note, as will sliding under one, kicking through one, or picking up one of dozens of gold pieces in each level. This could potentially lead to some very fun and interesting musical moments, but unfortunately-partially due to the perpetually unchanging basic rhythm and partially due to the lack of complexity or variety in the notes and sounds created by completing actions-this is not the case. There are a few moments of excitement here and there in the music of this game, but they are completely overshadowed and nullified by it's repetition. One missed moved sends you back to the beginning of the level, where you will once again face the same basic rhythm, level after level, attempt after attempt.
Overall, I really want to like this game. I'm honestly surprised that I have come back to it as much as I did. Still, I am on the fence about whether or not I can truly recommend it, and the cruel and repetitive nature of the game is what is pushing me towards not doing so. Although officialy I will not reccomend it, I will say that if you enjoy being challenged and don't mind looking at the same graphics, hearing the same sounds, and playing through the same levels over and over again, then perhaps you will enjoy it.
Final Score: 5/10