The penultimate Bit.Trip game is fun but disappointing.
Bit.Trip Fate, the fifth game in the Bit.Trip series, is a rhythm-based, side-scrolling, twin-stick shoot-'em-up. Now, let's break that down. Like the rest of the games in the series, Fate is based around chiptune music that is altered as you play the game. This entry is a shooter in which you guide the heroic Commander Video along a line while attacking enemies and avoiding their fire.
The Commander can only move on the line from left to right, but the line doesn't always follow a straight path as it moves across the screen. Aside from that quirk, Fate controls like many other modern horizontal shooters. The Classic Controller employs a twin-stick mode where you control your character with one stick, and fire with the other. Meanwhile, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk method uses the analog stick on the Nunchuk to control Commander Video, and the Wii Remote's pointer to aim. Personally, I prefer the Classic Controller because of the familiar twin-stick setup, but both methods work fine.
The game moves at a brisk pace, especially since the levels automatically scroll. However, the enemies are the antithesis of the quick pace. Each enemy is a bullet sponge, requiring numerous bullets to defeat. It makes the act of firing your weapon unrewarding, because you have to be fixed on an enemy for so long before anything happens to them. Luckily, dodging is challenging and fun, making you maneuver on curvy lines to steer clear of enemy fire and other hazards. The power-ups add another layer to the game. They come in the forms of characters such as Meat Boy and give you typical shooter power-ups such as a super-powerful shot and a spread gun.
Each of the game's six stages ends with a boss. Most of the time, you'll die the first time you reach the boss because the patterns are tricky to figure out and require a lot of precision. That would be OK if death didn't take you back to the start of the level. In general, the game isn't as frustratingly hard as some of the other games in the series, but the bosses are tough to master.
The music, while good, feels more like background music than music you're interacting with. You feel like you're adding to the music in earlier Bit.Trip games, but in Fate you just feel like you're playing a level with dubstep chiptune music in the background. That doesn't mean the music is bad – it's very good, especially when combined with the visual style – it just feels less interactive than past games.
Bit.Trip Fate is, sadly, one of the weakest entries in the Bit.Trip series. It's an enjoyable experience throughout, but there are a number of issues that hold it back, the worst being the amount of bullets it takes to defeat enemies. Fans of the Bit.Trip series will still dig this game, and twin-stick shoot-'em-up lovers will probably enjoy this novel take on the genre. If you don't fall into either category, you'd be better off skipping Fate.