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Bit.Trip Runner 2 (PC) Review

 
Runner2
Runner2
Runner2

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
9.0
9/ 10


User Rating
2 total ratings

 

We liked?


  • Gorgeous graphics and whimsical design
  • Almost pitch perfect difficulty curve
  • Incredible soundtrack that's integral to the game

Not so much?


  • Game gets VERY hard in the later stages
  • Controls sometimes feel unresponsive


Final Fiendish Findings?

Bit Trip Runner 2 is a triumph of a game. The power of an independent studio left to iterate on a simple idea and push it towards perfection. Issues can be found in a steep difficulty later in the game that can lead to frustration at times. There were also instances where animation seemed to take priority of movement leading to untimely faults and frustrating checkpoint restarts.

The tunes will get in your head and a symphonic-synthesis of movement, music and percussive reaction will become ingrained in your subconscious. It’s something beautiful to experience in full flow.

Bit Trip Runner 2’ s graphical design, cartoonish whimsy, musical prowess and smart design all combine to offer an experience that is a joy to play from start to finish. Bit Trip Runner 2 is a symphonic sensation and with it being spread over multiple platforms you really have no excuse not to buy it!

0
Posted March 30, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Bit Trip Runner 2 – or Bit .Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm, Alien to use the full title – is a game for everyone. Anybody can pick up the game and instantly know what to do. It’s pretty simple – run from left to right through an obstacle course jumping, sliding and kicking your war as you go.. that’s it! As we know though these things seem simple to start but, as in other titles like Joe Danger or Trials , the simple things are the ones that will hook you for hours and hours.

The biggest criticism I could ever levy at the original Bit Trip Runner was that it was hard as nails. It’s chunky retro look and wonderful chip tunes lured you in to a game that would punish you for lack of skill – it was however still great fun. It occupied a special place in a niche market, like Super Meat Boy does, that built a very loyal and vocal following.

Developer Gaijin Games seems to have taken that criticism onboard this time out for Bit Trip Runner 2 as the difficulty curve is much more forgiving and cleverly paced. That said the game still requires split second timing and as the level count progresses you’ll find that vicious beastie still alive and well under the hood. Much like Super Meat Boy the game is fair for the most part levelling the fault of your consistent demise squarely at your feet. The pace and balance of each level is the key to the entire game being a challenge or a frustrating mess. Bit Trip Runner 2 manages to tread that tightrope will skill and painstaking ease.

Out are the chunky retro graphics. In is a super bright palette of Saturday morning cartoon shades that’d probably make a children’s TV presenter nauseous. The wonderfully bright visuals just pop and sparkle with creativity and remind me greatly of the general art direction employed by Hello Games in their Joe Danger series. It all whips by at a frantic pace and never looks anything less than wonderful. CommanderVideo, and the other unlockable characters, all move like possessed puppets with lovely silky smooth animations.

bit trip runner 2 level

Runner 2 does a superb job of slowly building up the skills at your characters command. Starting with the simple single button press to make the character jump then progression on to down for a slide, right for a block, button for a flying kick etc. Each element is slowly introduced after which you’re given a level or two to comes to grips with the action before it gets integrated in to the repertoire of moves needed to complete each level. As mentioned each level of Runner 2 has your character making their way, at a fixed speed out of your control, from left to right. You might think “oh like those runner games on my phone?”, but you’d only be partly right. The original Runner title was an early pioneer of this style of play and the understanding of the genre by the developers is clearly a factor that helps set Runner 2 apart from the countless others in this arena.

As well as turning over the retro graphics to embrace the new, Bit Trip Runner 2 has also flipped the script on the music too. Out are the wonderful chip tunes of the first title. In is a gorgeously produced score that compliments to whole game superbly well. In fact the game would be much, much poorer with the sound turned off. That’s not a slight against the mechanics of the game – it just highlights that the musical side of it is intrinsic to the gameplay. As you run along a super pop-tastic tune burbles along in the background. Each action you take as you run triggers a sound cue that sequences in to the score and make it whole. The timing of each tune, the placing of each obstacle or enemy is split-second perfection almost every time. The tunes will get in your head and a symphonic-synthesis of movement, music and percussive reaction will become ingrained in your subconscious. It’s something beautiful to experience in full flow.

Small criticisms can be levelled at the game, but I’m talking minor quibbles that many will shrug off. The difficulty, although addressed from the first game, is still punishing. The bright musical world will suck you in but it’ll also crush you if you’re expecting an easy ride. Early levels are a breeze, later ones can be soul destroying. It’s a game that casual players, or smaller children, could become frustrated with later in the game. If you’re going in with eyes open and expecting this type of split second challenge then you’ll most likely be in a position to just suck it up. I also found that sometimes, just sometimes, the game lacked in responsiveness when making a jump. This might be something to do with me using a 360 controller (maybe the button is a little sticky?) or it could be that the frames of animation mean you need to hit jump at the correct moment to break the flow. It wasn’t amajor irritant but in a game that lives and dies by split-second reactions this was a little annoying.

bit trip runner 2 scene

Final Thoughts

Bit Trip Runner 2 is a triumph of a game. The power of an independent studio left to iterate on a simple idea and push it towards perfection. Issues can be found in a steep difficulty later in the game that can lead to frustration at times. There were also instances where animation seemed to take priority of movement leading to untimely faults and frustrating checkpoint restarts.

Bit Trip Runner 2’ s graphical design, cartoonish whimsy, musical prowess and smart design all combine to offer an experience that is a joy to play from start to finish. Bit Trip Runner 2 is a symphonic sensation and with it being spread over multiple platforms you really have no excuse not to buy it!


Zeth

 
Zeth is our EU ninja and Editor in Chief. He's been writing about video games since 2008 when he started on BrutalGamer. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.