Review written by
March 16th, 2009
"People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out." Someone's always said it better. That's Warren G. Bennis, surely looking into his crystal ball and offering a succinct summation about the tenets of BIT.TRIP BEAT. Or maybe he's talking about life in general, I'm not really sure. At any rate, it fits because BIT.TRIP BEAT (BTB) is as surefire a reinvention as you are going to see in video games. BTB takes Pong and turns it into a rhythm game. If I could come up with ideas that brilliant, I'd probably be a multi-million dollar developer, too. Indie devs get paid tons of cash, right? I think it's in their contracts or something.
Even if they aren't really millionaires, those guys at Gaijin sure do know how to make a unique game. In BTB you control a pong paddle, constantly deflecting balls flying towards your (paddle's) face that also happen to compose the stage music when successfully deflected. Block enough balls, and you'll get a high score while being treated to some decidedly well-composed chiptunes. Muck it all up, however, and the game will make it a point to remind you of how boring the original Pong's presentation is and what a favor they are doing for you by updating it. It's an inspired way to refurbish an age-old idea that everyone is familiar with. The core mechanic is simple, but the way in which it is presented is a stroke of genius.
Presentation is, after all, what makes BTB so unique. The visuals and audio form a cohesive feedback unit, offering an effective manner of letting the player know exactly how he or she is doing. All those pleasing bleeps and bloops are gone if you can't put bat to ball, and that's the last thing you want to happen when the music is so damn enjoyable. The visuals, though simple, are very trippy and colorful, and follow the music like ducks in a pond. The "last chance before you die" phase offers up a stark 70's black and white palette that will immediately send you into panic mode. You can always measure your success by what you see and hear alone. Color and sound combine to offer a universal readout that engrosses the player, allowing them to focus purely on the task at hand.
It all comes together quite nicely, and the brevity ensures that the spell's cast never outstays its welcome. We are talking about Pong, after all. Any more than three levels is likely to wear on most gamers, especially with the sensory overload here. I welcome more music tracks, but a game like this is long-term enjoyment only for the most ardent score chasers and perfectionists. For everybody else, it's worth experiencing at least once, just to see what very creative people can do with a very old and basic concept.
You're keen to post a comment, but you need to log in first.
Hex Heroes Kickstarter ends successfully
PayPal funding now available
Hex Heroes now in final hours of funding
Game close to being funded
New Ace Attorney game coming to 3DS
With a new character and an interesting new setting
Mario Golf getting DLC and Season Pass
New courses and characters very soon
Nintendo Spends Easter at the White House
Get Up and Play!
The Best Upcoming Wii U Games For The Spring and Summer
Forget going outside, just play the Wii U!
Twisted Fusion, An Open Platformer On Kickstarter
Water Guns Done Right
Hex Heroes Kickstarter ends soon
Funding at 60% with five days to go
No Plans for Star Wars to Appear on Disney Infinity
At least for now...
Earthlock: Festival of Magic coming to Wii U.
Game coming 2015, two stretch goals reached
Wii's World has teamed up with Enjoy Gaming to give you a chance to win download codes for three of their new games on DSiWare. You could win a code for one of the following:
** Entrants must be in an NoA region (USA, Canada, Mexico or Brazil) **
It's about time things came good. ... The Best Upcoming Wii U Games For The Spring and Summer
Nice update. I'm really looking forward to NES Remix 2. With a little bit of 3rd party support, great indie support a ... The Best Upcoming Wii U Games For The Spring and Summer
Danny Stueber said:
no problem! the point is to get the word out and that is what happened :) ... Super Smash Bros. For 3DS and WII U Release Window Revealed Along With New Modes and Characters
Alex Morton said:
Seems like we both posted the same story. My apologies. I was rushing so much to write it up and post it that I didn't ... Super Smash Bros. For 3DS and WII U Release Window Revealed Along With New Modes and Characters
I don't think we'll see Mario & co on other platforms until Nintendo decide they're quitting the hardware business. ... Nintendo Unwilling to Release Games on iPhone or Android
Wii's World is not officially affiliated with Nintendo! (but they wish we were).