Bit.Trip Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, (also known as Runner2), has changed a fair bit since 2010 and Bit.Trip Runner. Back then it was a simple, endless running 8-bit affair with a minimal but effective control scheme, utilising only a few buttons and a simple chip-tune soundtrack. It was just a brilliant little game. With Bit.Trip Runner 2 a world of endless running, charming visuals and delightful chip-tune music awaits you yet again. Meaning that when you step – or run, if you prefer – into Bit.Trip Runner 2, it’s no surprise that nothings really changed.
Following the story of Commander Video, who gets sucked into a portal, you’re tasked with tracking down the mighty Timbletot to stop his evil plans of destroying the world. Which is told wonderfully due to some sumptuous 8-bit graphics that have had a lovely lick of HD paint. It really is a thing of beauty, It’s managed to create an almost 2.5D effect that is simply a joy to look at as you race through picturesque levels from the Bit.Trip universe.
Controls are still restricted to very few buttons, but this is certainly no problem here. You’ll be spending so much of your time focusing on avoiding and deflecting the flurry of obstacles in your path, that you won’t have the time or focus to learn more than a few a button presses. This, rather nicely, moves me onto my next point – in fact it’s my favourite thing about Runner2.
Bit.Trip Runner2 is the perfect example of how to introduce game mechanics. A new mechanic – such as sliding or blocking – is slipped in at the beginning of the level. Then, you’ll go through that level facing a series of obstacles that utilise your new ability. It all starts off easy, but as you progress through the level, things get harder and more condense – thus getting you more and more used to the new mechanic.
Added to that, you’ll then get mechanics you learnt earlier thrown into the mix. It’s a fantastic way of easing in players as it means you move onto the next level confident of your ability. Therefore meaning and any mistakes made are due to a lapse in concentration on your part – tempting you back into playing again and again.
Just like the first game, Bit.Trip Runner 2 is all about the beat of the soundtrack in the background. Jumping, sliding and blocking all contributes to the beat of the songs. The chip-tune soundtrack is really quite lovely, adding a real sense of delight to each level. Its soft and calming rhythm lures you in to the world of Bit.Trip.
There’s also a surprisingly refreshingly amount of things to do and unlock in Runner2. There are 6 characters, you’ll start off as one: Commander Video. You’ll then get to unlock the rest as you run through on your journey. Further on from that, there’s a plethora of costumes for each character to wear. It also features five worlds filled with a total of 120 levels to run through, each world containing a boss level at the end. On top of all of this sprinting goodness, there are extra ‘Retro’ levels to run through.
These take on the appearance of an 8-bit title from, as if it was something off of a Mega Drive, the objective is still the same. But now the difficulty level is ramped up and you only get three lives instead of the usual unlimited lives you’re presented with in the main game.
Bit.Trip Runner 2: Future Legend Rhythm Alien is a game of real quality and is a shining force in the world of indie games. Many games could take a cue from how it eases you into the fast-paced gameplay deriven from the drip-fed game mechanics. Even the frustratingly difficult gameplay somehow manages to keep you coming back for more. I can’t help but feel this is down to the gorgeous visuals and the brilliant soundtrack that accompanies everything.
Audio/Visual: 5/5 – Utterly gorgeous to look at and the soundtrack is downright spectacular.
Gameplay: 5/5 – Completely frustrating, but compellingly addictive. Each gameplay mechanic is a joy to learn about.
Innovation: 4/5 – Improves upon its prequel even if it is just endless running, but it does contain so much more than what came before.
Value: 5/5 - While £11.99 on Steam may seem expensive, it’s a game that will last a long time and definitely be worth it.
Final Score: 5/5
- Jordan reviewed Bit.Trip Runner 2: Future Legend Of Rhythm Alien on Ps3 -