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Bit.Trip Runner (WiiWare) - Preview

The Bit.Trip series of games is one that has interested me for quite some time now, but for some reason, I just never bothered to look into it. What finally made me pick up this fourth installment of Bit.Trip is the good press it has been receiving, most of which say that Runner is the best yet of the Bit.Trip series.

That and I had some left over Wii Points I didn't know what to do with.

Bit.Trip Runner is kind of a hybrid platformer/rhythm game, a concept I had never heard of before. You can't actually control the running of Commander Video (the main character). He (or maybe she?) just runs automatically from left to right. What you can do is control other actions such as jumping, sliding, and kicking. It looks like there are more moves, but I haven't gotten that far yet.

Runner is all about timing. You have to time everything that you do properly and there isn't much leeway for mistakes. Run into a wall or an object, or fall into a hole in the ground and you will be sent all the way back to the beginning of the level. It's not so bad for the first few levels, but as you make progress, the levels become longer and longer. Make one little mistake just before the end of an extremely difficult and long level and I guarantee that you will explode with nerd rage. It made me scream gibberish a bunch of times.

The nice thing about the challenge is that victory becomes so much sweeter. Imagine repeating a level 12 times and finally getting it right. It's almost like watching your favorite soccer team finally make their first goal after half an hour of tense competition.

The best thing about Runner (aside from the awesome retro, Atari-vibe) is the rhythm aspect of the game. Performing actions generates music, and as you do actions through the level, the music you create blends in with the background music to make a trippy 8-bit-like soundtrack. The music also helps you time your actions.

Though I haven't played the whole game yet (I've only played the initial 11 levels), I have enjoyed Bit.Trip Runner enough to say that this is something you will probably want to add to your digital collection. However, if you are the type who throws controllers out of video game anger, stay away from it. You may end up going through several Wii remotes. It's that hard. Or maybe I just suck.

Available on WiiWare for 800 Wii Points. Can't buy them with a Philippine credit card? You can get Wii Points at Maximus Cards.

Interview with Alex Neuse, founder of Gaijin Games:

Gameplay video:

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