A must have WiiWare title
With it’s simple structure, it was hard for me to imagine anyone taking the concept of Pong and turning it into a decent modern video game that can hold its own, but AKSYS Games has done just that with Bit Trip Beat. There is not much to find wrong with this game, other than maybe it’s slightly too difficult. You’ll be frantically trying to move the paddle so quickly to stop the “beats” from getting past you, the fact this game is based on such an old concept will soon be forgotten by those who have never cared about Pong. Yet at the same time, older gamers who did love that game, definitely have to try this.
First of all, the visuals are perfect for what they were going for. There is a cool outer space feel to the whole game, which fits in well with the soundtrack. Everything looks like Pong, but a hundred times more colorful! Everything does look bright and crisp. Normally the visuals don’t have much importance to me when playing a video game, but they really help here. Bit Trip Beat has a “modern 8 bit” feel, if that makes sense.
Interesting to note, is that when things go wrong and too many beats go by the paddle, the screen turns black and white, giving it the look a real old school game. The pretty backgrounds also disappear and the music stops. This was a good idea, and really gives a nod to 70s era type games. Once things go right again, the visuals and music return, giving a good sense of reward for playing well.
For most people, the soundtrack is what will definitely win them over. I’d almost pay 600 points for the music alone. What happens during a level is you start out with small parts of a certain song. As you progress through the level, the song gets better and sounds more full. When you get to the boss of the level, you get to hear the full song in all its richness. There is one song on the Bit Trip Beat website that anyone can download for free, it’s called Desention, and that is the song that comes once the first boss is reached. But you can’t hear the full version until you reach that boss, which gives them game a great sense of reward for playing through until the end.
To move the paddle up and down, one merely has to tilt their Wii remote to match where they want the paddle to go. The Wii remote is held sideways. Some people might find the motion controls a bit awkward, but I got used to it fairly quickly. They didn’t have d-pads for the original Pong, although my memory is a bit hazy, I believe a rolling ball was used. A d-pad style control would probably take some of the challenge out of the game anyway.
Speaking of which, this game is HARD. This game is best played with some friends, as you’ll have trouble completing even just the first level by yourself. That’s not to say this game is not fun alone at all, as it can be. One just has to be very quick with their tilting of the Wii remote. Up to four players can play and help you, which makes this a fun party game, even with its difficulty.
For 600 points, you can’t go wrong with Bit Trip Beat. There are only three levels to this WiiWare title, but it makes sense considering the cheap price tag. Both younger gamers and people who have nostalgia for Pong will love this. Actually, anyone will love this game. Invite some people over and have fun.