Gaijin Games creates an excellent retro revival with their first WiiWare game in the Bit.Trip series.
Reviewer's Note: The US version of Bit.Trip Beat has a saving bug that causes the game to save only if you get a high score. To rectify this issue, the developer uploaded a save file with the levels unlocked for players who are having issues unlocking them due to the bug. This bug is not present in the European and Japanese versions.
Bit.Trip is Gaijin Games' new series comprised of retro revivals with a modern twist. Its concept is very similar to Nintendo's Art Style series, which features simple but highly addictive games with great gameplay.
Bit.Trip Beat is a combination of Pong and a rhythm game. Players control a paddle located on the left side of the screen and must deflect a pattern of beats. The game also sports a drop in/drop out co-operative mode that allows up to four people to play. The only downside of this mode is that it can get chaotic if players don't actually cooperate, or if a player loses track of the color of their paddle.
To control the paddle players hold the Wii Remote horizontally, tilting the controller forward to move the paddle up and backward to move the paddle down. Players can also press buttons to create various sound effects, but this doesn't affect the gameplay. For some players, the level of tilt sensitivity may initially be too much, but they will eventually appreciate it. Later levels require a lot of precision as the patterns become faster and more elaborate.
The unique part of the game is the sound and graphics, since they are dependent on how well players perform on each level. Normally, the game has some background graphical effects along with a chiptune beat to go along with it. If players are performing well, the audio evolves from a chiptune beat to a more complex synthesized beat, and the background will also transition from a basic background with some minor graphical effects to a more complex background with a lot of different effects. If players perform poorly and are about to lose, the graphics revert to a black and white pong presentation with sounds only coming from the Wii Remote's speaker. The only drawback to the complex backgrounds is that they are sometimes eye-straining, especially if the players stare at fast moving beats that tend to flicker.
Bit.Trip Beat is relatively short. There are three songs, and each song takes about 15 minutes to complete (including the boss battle at the end of each song). It is possible to beat the game in an hour, but the game is so difficult that it will take most players multiple tries to beat a song. If players fail in any part of the song, they have to start over from the very beginning.
Bit.Trip Beat is one of the best WiiWare titles available, featuring simple, fun, and addictive gameplay. Gamers interested in unique and original games should definitely download this title. Hopefully the rest of the Bit.Trip series will be as good as this title or better.