BIT.TRIP Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
With its retro-style BIT.TRIP series, Gaijin Games produced memorable, easy-to-play yet hard-to-master games that captivated players of all ages. Its latest effort, BIT.TRIP Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, already flourished on consoles, and later this year, it'll do the same for iOS devices.
If you've never heard of Runner 2 - or can't digest its lengthy title - here's the breakdown. You play as Commander Video, an Atari 2600-like character who runs from point A to point B. Along the way, he'll need to avoid obstacles by either jumping over or sliding underneath these things, and collect piles of gold strewn throughout each level. The more gold he collects, the better opportunity he has to open up bonus stages and collect extra points on a large bulls-eye.
The controls for previous versions of the game work simply enough, with a button for jumping - or double jumping, once you unlock the ability - and another for sliding underneath objects. For the upcoming iOS version, Gaijin should provide simple touchscreen controls, where you tap on the screen to make Commander Video jump, or slide downward to avoid collisions with tall objects. If the developer's previous release, BIT.TRIP Beat from Namco Bandai, is any indication, the game will translate quite well to mobile.
However, that doesn't mean you won't have your work cut out for you. Runner 2's levels start simply enough, but as the game moves forward, its design becomes much more intricate, with steps to quickly jump over, aliens to avoid and big gaps to jump across. If you make a mistake, you won't lose any lives. Instead, you'll get sent back to the start of the level - or checkpoint, if you choose to take it - and begin anew.
Runner 2 provides ample opportunities for scoring, particularly if you collect every gold stash and jump over the checkpoint, rather than running through it. Doing this will allow you to compete for high score bragging rights through the game's leaderboards, which should carry over to the iOS version. If you really want a challenge - and the best score imaginable - play on the hardest difficulty and see how well your run lasts.
The original BIT.TRIP Runner was presented in an 8-bit style, but for the sequel, Gaijin went all out with wondrously designed worlds, even if Commander Video hasn't changed much in appearance. In addition, the team hired Charles Martinet, a voice actor who portrays Nintendo's Mario, to provide humorous, yet encouraging, commentary through each of the game's story sequences. Expect these to be completely intact for the mobile edition.
With a simple to use control system, a serious challenge and strong presentation, Runner 2 should have no problem attracting players when it arrives later this year. If you're in town for PAX Prime in Seattle this weekend, be sure to stop by the Gaijin booth to give the iOS version a try.
Images taken from console version.