darkstar614's Bit.Trip RUNNER (Wii Shop) review

A run for your money


 Commander Video in full Stride
Bit.Trip Runner is the 4th game in the series of Bit.Trip games from the creators Gaijin Games . It mixes the Music/Rhythm genre with the platformer of the atari 2600 age. You play as Commander Video, the heavily pixelated man that runs through various stages avoiding obstacles and collecting gold bars that add to you score. The goal is to run from one end of the stage to the end without running into anything and trying to get as many gold bars as you can. The catch is that Commander Video can't be stopped! He will run through the stage with complete disregard for everything in front of him. As the player you can make him do a variety of actions to help him pass each obstacle as he nears it. The music is comprised of "notes" you make by using his abilities along with the beat in the background. Staying "on beat" is key to this game as each jump, slide, etc. is aligned with a sort of predetermined song that will play as you run through the stage, that gets more intense as you near the end.
 
As a cheap and simple game you start out with only the ability to jump. You will have to time each jump carefully, but if you listen to the beat and don't get distracted, each action will flow with the game very easily. Later you will get the ability to Slide, Kick,
 Zone 2 has a different, grassy look
Spring(this requires a spring pad to be under Commander Video and pressing up), and Block which all are required to pass the later stages' obstacles. In addition to collecting Gold Bars you also can collect score multipliers that look like pink plus symbols. Your multiplier starts the level at 1, Hyper. Each multiplier you collect will upgrade it, all the way up to 5. Hyper, Mega, Super, Ultra, and Extra. As you get each one, the music upgrades in intensity until you collect the final one in the stage and activate Extra mode. While not providing any gameplay benefit, Commander Video will gain a rainbow trail, as seen above, once he is in Extra mode. The Rainbow trail is very reminiscent of the old Activision 2600 label on their Atari games.  
 
There are 3 zones in the game, each with 11 stages and 1 boss stage per zone. The Boss stage plays out much like the normal stages, only sometimes you are required to "attack" the boss if the obstacles set you up to do so. Usually this involves launching into the air and kicking them in the face, which is really satisfying in a weird way.
 
 Retro bonus stage in action
If you manage to collect every Gold bar you get to play the bonus stage for that level, which is a "de-ressed" version of the game which looks surprisingly like Pitfall! You can collect some more gold bars here for more points, although with the music here, it's not nearly as much fun as the normal game. But you will get a good laugh out of how retro it is, depending on your age of course.
 
 
Of course the game has its flaws. The game is HARD. While the early levels seem simple and easy, the later levels in each zone, particularly the last 2 levels before the boss, are brutally hard and will test your patience. There are no " checkpoints" in this game whatsoever. If you run into something you go all the way back to the beginning where Commander Video will do some Air Guitar to get back on the beat before starting his run once again. While that alone doesn't seem like a big deal, those later levels I mentioned earlier are extremely long and have a handful of tricky obstacles. 1-11 for example has a whopping 92 gold bars to collect, compared to the usual 20-40. You can see how this gets frustrating very quick.
 
 EXTRA MODE RAINBOW
But if you enjoy a good challenge and have a good level of patience this game can be an absolute blast. I recommend playing in short busts, and not trying to marathon the entire game in one sitting. Coming back after a couple hours fresh goes a long way in helping you maintain focus, and not make clumsy mistakes. For 800 Wii points you can't go wrong with this game, unless of course you have a really short temper, in which case stay away. If you are up for it, and manage to finish it, you feel a pretty strong sense of completion and excitement that you finished something so challenging. Which in my book is bliss.
5 Comments
Edited by StarFoxA

Decent overall review, although there are a variety of things you could do to improve your writing, and your general style of reviewing. You have several recurring grammatical mistakes that distract from the general quality of the review, so I'll outline those quickly. Misuse or a lack of commas occur a couple times during your review, so it might be a good idea to gain a better grasp of general comma rules (e.g. "Your multiplier starts the level at 1, Hyper" should definitely be restructured. Not the only example, just a specific one I thought I'd point out). Another quick thing I'd like to point out (this one is not a huge deal at all, but it irks me whenever I see it) is the fact that you use the number "4" or so on whenever the digit is below 10. This is generally incorrect; numbers below 10 should probably be written in their word form. Again, that's just a quick grammatical rule that helps to improve the general quality of your writing, but isn't all that important on its own.
 
On numerous occasions there are fragments of sentences, all of which could stand for some revision. Generally, you want to avoid starting a sentence with the words "But," "Of course," etc. Additionally, there are a few instances where you have some poorly constructed sentences, such as when you merely state the multipliers ("Each multiplier you collect will upgrade it, all the way up to 5. Hyper, Mega, Super, Ultra, and Extra"). For a the last grammatical rule I'd like to point out, it may seem like I'm just nitpicking, but these are all things that will genuinely help you to become a better writer. Your capitalization could use some work, with a few proper nouns missing capitalization and then seemingly random words getting capitalized in later portions of the review (e.g. "Atari" is missing capitalization in one paragraph, "Gold" gets capitalized later on for seemingly no reason).
 
On to the review itself, I'd like to address the general structure of the review. It seems like you go three paragraphs without actually presenting your opinion on the game, other than a couple off-hand remarks about the game's quality and premise. You should probably work on describing the game while actually presenting your opinion. While you do describe the game relatively well, most readers will be more interested in hearing an opinion about the game alongside an explanation of the game, rather than a flat description of the game's mechanics.
 
Again, this is a pretty solid review, and I don't want to sound like a teacher grading your work or anything. I'm just looking to help you improve your general writing quality (you're already a good writer; with some improvement you will be a superb writer) with my quick review of your review (I guess).

Edited by Darkstar614
@StarFoxA:  Thanks for the criticism. I'm not being sarcastic. Yeah I know my writing style takes a lot of shortcuts but after writing so much in school, I like to write more like I would speak. It conveys tone really well, which I find is important in reviews.
 
My reviews intentionally don't give my direct opinion because I find that usually just frustrates people. If I were to write a review about Half-Life 2 and say that "I thought it was the best game ever and nothing else compares.", then that sounds extremely biased and doesn't help readers make a better choice on their purchase. I try to remain totally objective and state almost all facts, and how those would apply to the broadest audience. For example saying a game is "hard" doesn't mean the same thing for everyone. If I was writing it from my personal opinion, I wouldn't call it hard at all. I write not about "what this game is to me" but more "what this game is to the broadest possible audience". I think most people could extract my literal opinion (was the game good, great, bad, or terrible) out of the score.
 
The comma splices represent just general pauses I would take when speaking. While not correct at all, I find them to still be reasonable to read and understand. My usage of numbers I don't really have an excuse for that. With the way sequels are coming out these days, I would find it ridiculous if someone didn't immediately recognize a number written that way.
 
I don't have anything else to say at the moment, but thanks again for the criticism.
Posted by StarFoxA
@Darkstar614: I'm glad that I came off as helpful, and not as an elitist prick. Yeah, what it really comes down to is your writing style; nobody can define that for you. It sounds like you have some pretty clearly defined goals about the purpose behind your writing, and that's great.
Posted by Imbalance

Great review, man. I'm also really enjoying this game. 
 
Your writing style reminds me of mine, actually. I agree with writing more like you speak to come off sounding better in reviews and things like that. 
 
Keep writin'!

Posted by Dogma

I smiled when I saw the title. " A run for your money" Clever! Mabey not original but I didn't think of myself so....

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