Bit By Bit: Breaking Down the Bit Generations
We take a close look at Nintendo of Japan's forthcoming budget game series.
With the Nintendo DS in full swing, one has to wonder about the fate of the Game Boy Advance system. Sure, the GBA's software line-up could easily live on, as the majority of games are compatible with the DS. But I'm talking about future releases for the platform itself, and what's left to come down the road. Nintendo didn't really reveal anything coming down the pipeline at E3, aside from a couple of promising third party titles, but they've recently revealed this interesting series of GBA games that could very well delve back into gaming's roots.
The series is called Bit Generations, and it's a series of seven game releases where the design is simple, and the general focus is on the innovative gameplay that so many arcade classics and current puzzle games seem to lean on. Some of these games do have an eclectic design all their own, but they never really go to the point that they have a next-gen look. Nintendo put these games together to provide basic pleasures, and nothing more, and it's interesting what's been cooked up.
The first wave of these games were already released on July 13th, and the three games are as follows...
Dotstream- This is an interesting game that kind of looks like a take-off of the light-car racing games from the old arcade classic Tron. Players control little streams of light through a series of mini-racing events through different terrain, dodging obstacles and other lightstreams in the process. It looks like a great deal of fun, although the display is so minimal that it probably won't be able to be seen on older GBA systems. Oh, well, the GBA SP and Nintendo DS Lite are preferred machines anyway.
Boundish- This specific title appears to be some kind of salute to the classic Atari game Pong, as you control a series of paddles through different modes in an attempt to keep a bouncing ball in play. The cool thing about Boundish is its variations of play. Each of the tables are uniquely designed, and there's a few extra challenges as well. One game even manages to have a spinning turntable, which changes the tempo and speed of the ball as it rolls over it. This game looks to have a lot of potential.
Dialhex- Are you guys familiar with the puzzle game Hexic, where you have to knock out similarly colored pieces in a grid and move on to the next batch before time runs out? Dialhex works in a similar fashion, as players move about on a hexagon to eliminate puzzle pieces and keep the tempo of the game alive. It's an interesting diversion, although Hexic still seems slightly preferred in terms of ease of play. But seeing as how that game hasn't been released for the GBA, this is a nice alternative.
The second series of Bit Generations arrives this week, and also offer a little bit of innovation in themselves...
Coloris- This is a strange game that has you lining up similarly colored pieces around a board, eliminating them from a playfield. What's cool about this game is that there's different colors that come into play, kind of like Lumines. One even features numbers with different color codes on it, making things a little tricky as one of the later levels.
Digidrive- Probably one of the most unique looking games in the series, Digidrive basically has you playing the role of a traffic director, drawing lines to point moving arrows in the right direction while having others avoid a collision with them. The distinct art style of this game is bound to confuse some, but the gameplay seems to be going on the right track in terms of keeping players interested. As levels proceed, arrows begin to go faster and pop up in multiples.
Orbital- Not too many gameplay details have been revealed with this game as of yet, but it looks like a take on the old Atari game Quantum, where you go around a limited universe and collect little orbs that help your star shine a little bit brighter. The cool design of this game is bound to gather a few fans.
Soundvoyager- Finally, we have this title, in which the details are again very meager. However, it looks like a game where you control a little orb and create sounds over a series of grids, all while keeping alive for play. It seems very minimal in details, but it looks like pretty good fun.
The Bit Generations series probably won't be amongst the elite of GBA releases, but it's a nice idea by Nintendo, a swift kick in the classic gaming butt that shows that the company still cares for its older platforms. Unfortunately, it looks to be a Japan-only release at this time, as Nintendo of America hasn't expressed interest in releasing these games here. Hopefully, someone will pick up on this budget line of games and give them a chance, maybe at $10-$15 a pop. We'll have to see if the Bit Generations stand a chance.