Bit.Trip Beat & Runner - PC Game Review

I acquired both Bit.Trip Beat & Runner some time ago on Steam.  Neither was a title I had paid much attention to and simply acquired them as some sort of addition to a sale or deal, though I cannot clearly recall which one(s).  Though these are two fundamentally different games, I find that my feelings on them are fairly similar so I figured I would just write about both at the same time, scoring each one separately as I talk about them.  The titles are both so short that writing a review on each separately seemed silly.

Bit.Trip Beat:

In essence you control a paddle on one side of the screen as pixels or blocks stream from one side of the screen to the other in varying patterns.  Your job is to simply use your paddle to block the pixels from falling off of the edge of your screen.  This is all done to fun, upbeat custom songs that match the pace of the flying pixels.

Graphics - 7:

I love the style.  They're blocky, old-school colors that just really appealed to me overall.  That said, sometimes in the course of flight you can lose track of what you are doing because there is so much happening on the screen.  There is a particular part with a comet or asteroid early on that really illustrates this point to me, because if you have not memorized the pattern of blocks incoming, it is very easy to lose them in the bright, colorful background.

Sound & Music - 8:

I mean, this is what the game is really all about.  You are combining songs with strong beats with a block-striking mechanism that makes this something of a rhythm game as well as a paddle one.  Integral part of the experience that works quite well.

Gameplay - 7:

This can be a tough game at times as there is a lot going on.  Each level feels just a tad long, truth be told, but the patterns blend with the music beautifully and create an almost relaxing experience - at least until you reach some of the later, tougher levels.

Intangibles - 6:

There really is not a lot new to do here over time, unfortunately.  You do the same basic thing, moving up and down to knock back these large pixel blocks in tune with the background music.  The songs are fun, and the visuals are interesting but over time it got pretty repetitive.

Overall - 7:

My oldest likes this game, and she doesn't like a lot of titles, so that adds a bit of value for me.  I played it a fair amount when I first acquired it.  Considering it was a game I had little to no interest in at the time, I would say it held up better than expected for me, but I would probably not purchase it at full price on Steam.

Bit.Trip Runner:

Simply put, you are going to sprint along an obstacle course that is in perpetual motion.  Mistime a jump and you're dead.

Graphics - 7:

Much like Beat above, the colorful visuals appealed to me.  Sure, there are better, more detailed titles out there, but the aesthetic at least works well in my opinion.

Sound & Music - 9:

I am even more impressed with this soundtrack than the one provided by Beat.  It is the same kind of catchy, quality music that times itself to your gaming experience, but this one feels more tied into what you are doing with your character, which adds to the appeal.

Gameplay - 5:

Ouch, here is our major misstep, but quite simply the platforming is not real good in my opinion.  It's a hard game, and none of my kids wanted anything to do with it after a few minutes.  The bright colors and sounds drew them in, only to frustrate them almost as soon as they started to play.  I didn't fare much better than them, truth be told.

Intangibles - 5:

From what I have seen, this is not a long game.  There are apparently only 3 worlds, not that I ever got to them.  I plugged through the first one after a lot of trial and error and had little interest in the second after a handful of deaths.

Overall - 6.5:

On the technical side, some things got done right here.  If you don't mind the tough platforming aspects, or even really enjoy those kinds of challenges, you might find something to sink your teeth in for at least a short time.  This title though was really not for me or my kids, though the budget pickup price I got it at takes some of the sting out of the experience for me.


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