The first thing popped up in our mind when staring at this (former) white blog page, trying to write a short review for this game, was:
You run, jump, slide, dance and die (a lot). Than you throw your controller to the screen.
That maybe was a bit too short so we’ll try to explain why this game is so frustrating as much as addictive.
Let’s start saying, as the title shown, Runner2 is part of the Bit.Trip franchise by indie developer Gaijin Games and sequel to the acclaimed Bit.Trip Runner released in 2010.
If you played it you know why we called it “frustrating” and not a single chance Runner2 is any better: the game is difficult, deal with it!
If you didn’t play it shame on you, but we are kind and nice and ready to explain what is about. Unlike the others Bit.Trip games, Runner is a quite classic 2D rhythm platformer where the main character, Commander Video, runs through stages from left to right jumping and sliding due to reach the end. More actions has been added to this second chapter making the first one look nice and clear; you now have a shield to use against giant bouncing pixels, you can slide and jump at the same time to pass through very tiny spaces, and the funniest feature added: you can now dance to earn more points!
As we said music is again a very important part, every action, every obstacle will have a different sound helping to compose the main theme of the level which is, of course, 8-bit-ish. We totally loved it, and fits perfectly the frenetic feeling of the whole game.
One of the most important new features (yeah, to dance is amazing but doesn’t help a lot to complete levels) are the checkpoints, miracle!! We do have fucking checkpoints!! This game is basically a trial&error kind of game, not having checkpoints was the most frustrating thing as you had to start over and over and over the same level. Now is your choice, you can simply pass the checkpoint or jump OVER it and risk to earn more points for the final ranking. Thanks Gaijin Games we are very grateful!
Also, do you like collectibles? If the answer is YES you’ll love Runner 2. The game itself is around 100 levels but you have so many collectibles like golds, new crazy characters to unlock, costumes and hidden retro game cartridges (each one unlocking other retro levels) that you will play it at least two or three times, plus the three difficulty levels makes it durable and replayable.
“Believe it or not. Not every game has to be brown” is one of the random tips showing up during the loading screen, together with “make sure to eat a banana every day”, and we can’t agree more. The sentence mocking the new realistic next-gen games all shaded in brown and grey, is just to underline what you can actually see in Gaijin Games’ style: a lot of brilliant colours, attention to details (apart for this little glitch) and a lovely game design that makes everything a pleasure for the eyes. If sometimes the background is so detailed to make difficult see what you are doing (and we suspect that is made on purpose, bastards!) you will soon forget about it and keep smiling because the moon has such a demented face or because that cloud has cute mustaches.
In the end, we really liked the game because it has that nostalgic feeling we are looking for together with the hardcore difficulty that makes you get VERY angry and swear in front of the TV but you can’t stop playing because you KNOW you are better than that.
Bit.Trip Runner 2 is out now on XBLA, PSN and Steam. But if we didn’t convince you already, take a look at the trailer!