Bit.Trip presents…Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, a fast paced side scroller that will keep you on your toes from start to finish. For those unfamiliar with Bit.Trip, this is a game where you are continuously running, left to right, as a plethora of obstacles and enemies get in your way. While it sounds a bit like a console version of Temple Run, it has all the right elements to get you hooked and reel you in, just a few levels into the game.
Right from the start, you’ll notice that Runner2 has a rather trippy look to it. Absolutely everything is just so colorful and happy… literally. The hills have eyes in this game, and they are smiling at you, along with everything else. The music is happy too, and it’s one of those catchy things that seems to instantly get stuck in your head. Even better, the things you do on screen will affect the course of the songs (hence the “rhythm” portion of the name). All of that is tied together with an ‘80s cartoon type feel, complete with fake ads and an instantly recognizable narrator. It’s all great fun, even before you start playing.
The gameplay itself is, well, quite hard. Your little guy is booking, yo, and your fingers simply can’t keep up at first. Yep, this is one of those games where you’ll likely do most levels over and over again until you get your timing just right. It reminds me perfectly of practically every game I played as a child, and it’s done quite well. Runner2 does have the option of three difficulty settings, taking a bit of the pressure of those who enjoy a more relaxed experience, but even on easy you’ll have to stay on your toes if you want to advance in this game.
As you begin the game, you character only has the ability to jump. You’ll learn the rhythm (ha!) of the game rather quickly this way, as you jump over obstacles and dash your way to the finish line. If you make any mistake (even just a tiny one), your guy gets dragged right back to the start (or a checkpoint, if you’ve activated one), and you’ll do it all over again. Of course, that’s just at the start. Runner2 adds more and more abilities as you advance in the game, and soon you’ll be blocking, sliding, kicking, and more, all with lightning speed. I’m not going to lie to you – it’s tough. But it’s also fun. The levels themselves aren’t super long, but it can get frustrating to get yanked back to the start right when you finally see the end. Still, it only makes you try that much harder the next run through, and that’s the mark of a great game.
In addition to all that, there are tons of extras loaded into this game, adding tons of replay value and hours of extra play. Sure, you could run right through the game to the finish, but where’s the fun in that? There are gold bards and powerups to pick up, and if you get them all in a level you’ll score a perfect, giving you the chance to shoot your character out of a cannon and aim for a target for even more points. There are hidden levels, accessible by taking alternate routes through levels, and there are extra levels, accessible by collecting a set number of gold bars. There are even bonus retro levels, accessed by collecting retro cartridges. Add to that the online leader boards, and you’ve got yourself a game you’ll come back to again and again.
Bit.Trip presents…Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien is great fun. It’s colorful and quirky; it’s musical and fun; and it’s unlike most things you’ve seen, yet oh so familiar at the same time. With loads of replay value and a perfectly done mechanic that is challenging without being overly frustrating, this is a game well worth adding to your catalogue.