Commander Video is back and this time all six of his original games can be played on your favourite PlayStation console. BIT.TRIP has come a long way since its WiiWare debut back in 2009 so let's see if these gems hold up.
I'm a huge fan of the BIT.TRIP series. In fact, I still own physical copies of BIT.TRIP Complete for Wii (with the included soundtrack) and BIT.TRIP Saga for 3DS so I can play it on the go. Now that I can enjoy BIT.TRIP on my PlayStation 4 and Vita, I'll be forever tempted to pick it up whenever I'm trying to think of what game I should play next. For the unfamiliar, the BIT.TRIP series is renowned for its simplistic yet challenging gameplay that incorporates rhythm elements. Thankfully, you don't need a sense of rhythm to play these games although it'll definitely help. Speaking of rhythm, the music is completely captivating and never fails to match the trippiness taking place on screen. This dynamic makes each game so much more immersive to the point where it's hypnotizing but enough about that, let's talk about the games already!
As the first one in the series, BIT.TRIP Beat is an expectedly simple game. It's basically Pong where you try to ricochet oncoming objects by tilting the controller. Be prepared for things to ramp up quickly as the objects will come at you in varying patterns and speeds so keeping up requires full concentration. BIT.TRIP Core is probably my least favourite game simply because I'm awful at it. I think most people will agree that it's the wiliest game here. You play it by holding one of four directions in order to aim and shoot moving squares. Considering you have to pay attention to four spots at once, this game can feel downright unfair. Only those looking to test their superhuman ability to focus will be able to master it. BIT.TRIP Void is a static-screen dodge 'em up game where you avoid white dots and collect black ones. However, you expand upon collecting black dots so get ready to "pop" back to normal size whenever you're in harm's way. This game is one of the best in the series because it balances simplicity and challenge in such a perfect way.
Next up, we have BIT.TRIP Runner which is the only featured game that has a sequel and it's obvious why. You control the automatically running Commander Video to jump over, slide under, and kick through hazards while trying to collect every shiny brick of gold. This is immensely fun on its own but what makes me love it even more are the bonus rounds that play homage to one of my favourite games of all time; Adventure Island. BIT.TRIP Fate is a twin-stick shooter where Commander Video is limited to moving along a preset line. Strategizing where to position him to avoid enemy fire while blasting ahead makes for one solid formula. I'm surprised more game developers haven't copied this concept. BIT.TRIP Flux is basically a return to the first game except you're positioned on the right-hand side of the screen and it's a lot more challenging. Luckily, you have checkpoints this time around to help with the added difficulty.
There's no denying that this is one impressive collection of arcade-style games but there are a couple of issues. After playing BIT.TRIP Complete, I'm kind of disappointed that the extra challenges as well as the audio, video, and art galleries are absent here. I guess they called it "Complete" for a reason. Also, each gamer will enjoy this pack differently because not every game has universal appeal. Some may find the simplicity of certain games to be too rudimentary while others may be put off by the overwhelming difficulty of a few titles. It really is a mixed bag. As previously mentioned, I'm a big fan yet I don't even like BIT.TRIP Core that much.
The BIT.TRIP compiles six fantastic games in one convenient package. Although it's missing some previously available content and not everyone will enjoy every single game, this still remains a must-buy for any retro arcade game enthusiast.
- + A collection of six simple, enjoyable, and addictive BIT.TRIP games
- + Offers plenty of gameplay variety
- + Trippy visuals and incredible music
- - Missing challenges and extra content from BIT.TRIP Complete
- - Not all games will appeal to everyone