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Wii Review: Bit.Trip.Complete

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Sometimes all a gamer wants is a truly new experience. There are a multitude of shoot ‘em up games, ‘hijack a car’ games, and hack-and-slash games. They may all have different storylines and time periods, but they are all essentially the same. Games that actually provide an original thought, challenge, or game play method are few and far between these days (which, coincidentally, also plagues the movie industry it seems). Therefore, when something is released that makes someone stop and think “Hmm, that’s interesting”, it is worthy of attention. Like Katamari Damacy before it, Bit.Trip.Complete is one of the more recent games to do that.

The Complete aspect of the game’s title refers to the six bit-related games that Aksys Games and Gaijin Games have released since 2009. As the title also mentions, these games are completely designed in an old school, Atari-like bit design. The prime characters, objects, and font used in each game generally comprise of giant squares, which certainly wins a few nostalgia points from gamers who grew up listening to Duran Duran and Flock of Seagulls. Unlike those games of old, Bit.Trip.Complete is saturated with an absolutely killer electronic soundtrack and advanced visuals. This, as well as the unique overall game design, is what will draw people in regardless of age.

As mentioned before, Bit.Trip.Complete contains six games of varying game play interaction and difficulty. Beat, the first of the Bit series, is an advanced working of Pong. While holding the Wii remote horizontally, one tries to bounce square bits off of the rectangular paddle on one end of the screen. As each bit is bounced, a tone occurs that perfectly fits in with the background electronic music. The more bits that one connects with the more the soundtrack improves and flows.

The challenge is, of course, to actually meet those bits when they arrive near the paddle. As levels progress, it is quickly apparent that these bits are not just going to lazily float across the screen so that it is a simple venture of moving the paddle up and down at leisure. These bits will do crazy things, like swirling towards the paddle or bouncing off of it only to boomerang back. The most frustrating ones are the ‘change up’ bits, where they slowly arrive on the screen, stop, and then proceed like a fastball towards your paddle. Needless to say, it will take the user a couple of times to not only connect with all of the bits but also make their game soundtrack sound the most complete.

The visuals for Beat, as well as the other games, are just as pretty as the soundtrack. While the user mainly deals with the old bit design in the foreground, the background could consist of all sorts of tantalizing 3-D landscapes and mesmerizing palettes. In fact, as one progresses through the adventures it can be very difficult not to succumb to observation of what is happening around the main character CommanderVideo. Some of the graphics, particularly in the more recent games, are truly stunning. It could make one wish for someone else to play so that one can enjoy the full audio and visual beauty.

Other games include Core, which utilizes the control pad to zap bits as they approach. This game can be difficult not only with timing but also with determining which bits to zap first. Void uses the Wii remote to point and click over bits of certain colors while providing a bass thump on each press. Runner is one of the more exciting games with its side scrolling action and upbeat soundtrack, even if the difficulty of jumping up stairs can lead to some real frustration. Fate, another side scroller, could remind users of old spaceship shooting games like Life Force or Gradius. Finally, Flux returns the user to older games as a conclusion to the series. With so many levels and challenges, one could easily spend hours trying to truly complete Bit.Trip.Complete.

The time played will inevitably include moments when the game play gets a little too difficult. In most modes, there is a point where one may fall behind and not have much success against a flurry of bits or shapes. This invokes the Nether mode, which strips the screen of all color, distracting graphics, and pretty soundtrack so that the user can concentrate on the bits. This is one’s last chance to stay in the game, for if one is able to get back on track the game will return to its previously jubilant setting. However, if the misses continue to occur it is finally game over.

Thankfully, nearly all of the games included can have at least one other player to assist in victory. Beat will allow an extra paddle while Fate will split the movement and shooting skills of CommanderVideo. Since some of the levels get particularly animated and complicated, having a friend or two nearby to help out will certainly make the experience even more enjoyable.

If one is already familiar with the Bit.Trip series and has played a few of the games beforehand, there is still a good reason to pick up and play Bit.Trip.Complete. There are plenty of Challenges for those who think they’re tops when it comes to any of the games, and believe me, these Challenges are tough! There are also unlockables such as art, videos, audio and other game notes. Along with a bonus soundtrack CD that comes with each game, any current fan of the series has quite a few reasons to pick up this release.

Although there can be a strong element of frustration for new users just trying to get started, Bit.Trip.Complete is an excellent collection for a few reasons. It has innovative game play, multiple measures of success, and a wide reach of enticing anyone of any age to join in and play. With 80 levels of game play and an exciting soundtrack, Bit.Trip.Complete is a release that every Wii owner should experience at least once.

Bit.Trip.Complete is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Content Descriptors. This game can also be found on the Nintendo 3DS

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